Del Rio Says ‘Roar' of Fans is Energizing Raiders

Oakland's fans are loud and proud these days at O.co Coliseum, creating what Panthers coach Ron Rivera calls "a hostile environment"

The Raiders are on a roll with five straight wins, a 9-2 record and sole possession of first place in the AFC West. They have perhaps the best young quarterback in the NFL in Derek Carr and a defensive player in Khalil Mack who has been dominating.

The Raiders also have another big weapon: the fans at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

After Sunday’s comeback victory over the Carolina Panthers, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio gave praise to the team’s loud and loyal fan base that has helped fuel their rise the past two seasons.

“Right now there’s a definite roar there at home for us and it’s awesome,” he told the media this week, as his team prepares for another home game this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. “The crowd has been awesome all along. The last two years, the two years I’ve been here, they’ve been great. It’s really picking up now. They’re really into it. They can sense we have a good team and we’re doing good things and the guys are playing hard and playing tough and I think they appreciate it and we appreciate them.”

The Raiders actually have a better record on the road (5-0) than at home (4-2), but those two losses came within the first six weeks of the season before Oakland started to iron out some of its problems, particularly on defense.

Also, Raiders fans travel well. Even the Raiders game in Mexico City against the Texans Nov. 21 drew a mostly pro-Raiders crowd.

On Sunday against the Panthers, Carr said the home crowd gave him a boost when he returned to the game after being forced out for a while because of an injury to the little finger on his throwing hand.

“It was a roar,” he said of the fans’ reaction to his re-entry.

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said after the game it was a great experience and challenge to take on the Raiders on their home turf in front of a boisterous Raider Nation.

“Oakland is a great team,” he said. “Hostile environment. This is why you come to the league … to play these type of games. Unfortunately, we got the short end of the stick, but it was fun.”

More fun could be in store this Sunday, when the Raiders put their winning streak on the line against the 6-5 Bills. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m.

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