Raiders bring in 2021 season with thrilling overtime win
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr heaved the game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Zay Jones to beat the Baltimore Ravens, 33-27, in a thrilling overtime Monday Night Football matchup.
The overtime period was one for the ages; filled with questionable coaching decisions, two game-winning touchdowns, and gut-wrenching turnovers from both squads.
“Felt like I died and woke up. And died. And woke up again," head coach Jon Gruden told ESPN. “I was like a cat — I had multiple lives.
“One of those games where both [teams] did [their] best to lose,” echoed in some similar fashion across social media afterwards.
Despite the antics, the Raiders are 1-0 and welcomed fans to Allegiant Stadium for the first time in a regular season game.
It’s safe to say Las Vegas will back this team through thick and thin going forward as the stadium was roaring for its Raiders.
While Carr and his best weapon Darren Waller enjoyed flashy box scores, the two will need to tighten the noticeable loose ends as the team travels to Pittsburgh for Week 2 and takes on the daunting black-and-yellow defense, led by recently paid pass rusher TJ Watt and All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who will likely shadow the tight end.
Carr finished with 435 passing yards as well as two touchdowns to one almost-costly interception in overtime.
Waller had a game-high 10 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.
It would not be hyperbole to mention the two left another 50-60 yards on the field between missed throws and drops.
One player in particular who did leave it all on the field and was the best player on the field for both squads, was defensive end Maxx Crosby.
Crosby visibly frustrated the entirety of the Baltimore team, including All-Pro quarterback and former MVP, Lamar Jackson. Crosby finished with two sacks and four QB hits.
Crosby was a force and gave Ravens tackle Alejandro Villanueva fits from opening kickoff to the final whistle.
The teams traded blows all game.
Baltimore would get off to a 14-0 lead thanks to a 35-yard run from rookie Ty’Son Williams and a 10-yard strike from the elusive Jackson to wideout Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.
Las Vegas would answer on consecutive scores including a two-yard rush from running back Josh Jacobs as well as kicker Daniel Carlson’s field goal to end the first half.
The lone score of the third quarter belonged to Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, who drilled a 40-yard field goal to put Baltimore up 17-10.
The fourth quarter and overtime brought madness.
Jacobs would score on a 15-yard scamper to knot the game at 17. Baltimore running back and former Raider Latavius Murray would power his way into the end zone to take a 24-17 lead.
Three minutes later, Carr placed a back-shoulder pass to Waller allowing him to undercut two Baltimore defenders for the game-tying touchdown.
Jackson would lead a careful drive down the field leading to a Tucker 47-yard blast to put Baltimore up 3 with 37 seconds left.
That was enough for Carr and second-year wideout Bryan Edwards to hook up twice down the field to put Las Vegas in field goal territory for Carlson.
Carlson drilled a 55-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.
Overtime started with the Raiders executing a long drive bringing them all the way to the Baltimore 1-yard line after Edwards thought to have scored the game-winning touchdown. Both teams seemed to have accepted the result as the sidelines flooded the field like a normal post-game would look like: shaking hands, players and coaches talking, etc.
After further review, Edwards was called short.
Carr called a hard-count which caused rookie guard Alex Leatherwood to jump pushing the line-of-scrimmage back five yards.
Carr’s pass on the next play was deflected high in the air and intercepted.
From victory to Raven’s ball in a span of three minutes.
Fortunately, Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib sacked and stripped Jackson on the next drive giving Las Vegas life.
The offense would again take the field and Carr sensed Baltimore’s blitz package leaving Jones 1-on-1 with cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Jones beat him on a corner post route and Carr floated the game-ending touchdown in his direction.
“I’m glad coach trusted us, put it in our hands at the end,” Carr told ESPN. “Because it always feels good to win that way, especially when you almost gave away.”