OAKLAND, Calif. — The night started with Oakland Raiders fans derisively chanting at former disgruntled receiver Antonio Brown and ended with coach Jon Gruden celebrating a victory in the Black Hole.
The saga that consumed the football world for days didn't hamper the Raiders a bit.
Derek Carr threw a touchdown pass on the opening drive of the season, rookie Josh Jacobs ran for two scores and the Raiders responded to a tumultuous week surrounding Brown by beating the Denver Broncos 24-16 on Monday night.
"As much as people talked about it, I mean my god. I feel like somebody was smashing my temple on the side of the head," Gruden said. "Get over it, man. It's over. We were good this preseason without him. We were fine without him. We wish him the best. We gave it a shot. Now New England gets their turn. Good luck to them. I can't deal with it anymore."
The Raiders (1-0) took out any frustration over the drama surrounding Brown with a convincing win over the AFC West rival Broncos (0-1). The offensive line cleared holes for Jacobs and protected Carr, and the defense harassed Joe Flacco into three sacks and kept Denver out of the end zone until 2:15 remained in the game.
The win spoiled the Denver debuts for Flacco and coach Vic Fangio and ended the NFL's longest opening weekend winning streak at seven games.
"Disappointed, but we're not discouraged," star edge rusher Von Miller said. "First game of the season. Hats off to the Raiders, they outplayed us today. Killed us on third down in the first half."
The final scheduled home opener at the Coliseum before the Raiders planned move to Las Vegas next season began with derisive chants from the boisterous fans toward Brown. Those only grew louder after each successful pass play as both the fans and Raiders players seemed relieved to have the month-long saga over Brown in the past.
He arrived with optimism following a trade from Pittsburgh in March. But a bizarre foot injury, fight with the NFL over his helmet, skipped practices, multiple fines, a run-in with general manager Mike Mayock and odd social media posts ultimately led to the decision to release the game's most prolific receiver two days before the opener.
Brown agreed to a deal with New England just hours after being granted his wish to be released by Oakland on Saturday and the Raiders wasted little time proving they had moved on.
"He's gone. I wish him the best," Carr said. "There's no hurt feelings. There's no anger in me. It stung as a friend seeing him go somewhere else, but I wish him the best."