Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
The defensive front was trusted to create pressure and delivered.
After three games of surrendering a season's worth of big plays, the defense tightened thanks to a more conservative approach. Coordinator Jim Haslett found an appropriate blend of coverage and pressure to wreck the Raiders offense.
The formula was a simple mix of deep, safe coverage behind a front that was trusted to get pressure with little blitzing. For once, Haslett relied on his athletes along the line to win their battles and get to the quarterback.
The result was seven sacks and periods of dominance against an offense missing its starting quarterback and reeling from the loss of its starting backfield.
Facing a group that depleted might have tempted many coordinators to push the blitz button. But to his credit, Haslett kept things safe and simple.
He let his secondary play a loose zone shell. That nullified the threat posed by the vertical speed of Oakland's receiving core.
While he let his defensive front run rampant, Haslett was selective with his use of the blitz. He waited for when the Raiders were focusing all their efforts on subduing the defensive front.
It was a smart game plan that let the strength of the defense, its pass rush, lead the way.