INDIANAPOLIS — Four games into his NFL career, Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby has yet to record his first NFL sack.
In the meantime, however, the rookie fourth-round pick from Eastern Michigan is finding other ways to affect the game.
He had his most impactful performance to date in Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Crosby forced a fumble in the first half with the Colts in scoring position and also batted down two passes at the line of scrimmage.
Crosby dismissed any notion that his play Sunday was some sort of announcement of his arrival in the league. Instead, he hopes efforts like Sunday’s become commonplace.
“It was just another game for me,” he said. “I got to play a little bit more and I knew I had to step up. I had a blast out there. I just love doing this.”
He had to be particularly pleased with forcing his first turnover.
The Colts ran a wide receiver screen on third-and-20 from the Oakland 31. Parris Campbell broke it for 15 yards to nearly pick up a first down, but certainly set up a chip-shot field goal in the red zone.
But Crosby chased down Campbell and made a hit from behind that jarred the ball loose. It was recovered by Karl Joseph to keep Indianapolis from cutting into what was a 21-10 lead at the time.
“That’s what our defense has to do as a unit,” he said. “Rally to the ball. That’s what coach (Jon Gruden) and coach (Paul) Guenther were emphasizing. I feel like we did a much better job of that today.”
Crosby also made his presence felt with the first two passes defensed of his career, knocking down two Jacoby Brissett throws at the line.
He still wants to get that elusive sack, but knows there are other ways to help out the defense even if you can’t get home on the pass rush.
“My coach in college always stressed that,” he said. “We would do drills batting balls. It’s part of my game, trying to affect the quarterback in every way I can.”
Gruden and the Raiders are now the beneficiaries of all those reps.
“Maxx is a guy who has a really good factor-grade,” Gruden said. “He may not have the sacks, but he bats down passes, he chases plays down. He’s improving his arsenal as a rusher. I’ll give you a better evaluation after I get a chance to study the film. We’ve got a 15-hour flight here tonight, so I’ll have plenty of time to do that.”
Crosby, who has never been to London, is excited about the trip to play the Bears on Sunday.
His play and the team’s win help make the journey a bit more manageable.
“It’s already a long flight, so going over there so with a loss it would have been terrible,” he said. “Getting a win definitely helps. So yeah, we are going to celebrate today and get back to work tomorrow.”