Timely plays, disciplined football and a gutty performance from quarterback Derek Carr proved too much for the Pittsburgh Steelers as the Las Vegas Raiders left Heinz Field with a 26-17 win Sunday, Sept. .
Carr passed for 382 yards and two touchdowns on an efficient 28-of-37 passing. One of his touchdowns (to tight end Foster Moreau) was thrown seconds before having a Pittsburgh defender roll over onto Carr’s leg.
The entire team grimaced and flooded the field to show support for their hurting leader.
Carr would pop up after a few minutes and limp to the sideline.
Las Vegas was already down a few key players, such as running back Josh Jacobs and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
Carr, being the leader he is, would take the field in the fourth quarter and throw a 61-yard rainbow to the streaking Henry Ruggs, who would catch the heave in stride and all but seal the deal on the Steelers.
“You just see this gear that not a lot of human beings have,” Carr said of Ruggs to ESPN. “It makes it fun for me.”
The Raiders and head coach Jon Gruden are having a lot of fun early on in 2021 with two wins over AFC playoff teams from last year.
Las Vegas beat the Baltimore Ravens, 33-27, in overtime in week one.
The team will look to continue the fun times next week at home versus the Miami Dolphins.
With Carr’s MVP-like start to 2021, the Raiders defense has stepped up as well.
The pass rush gave Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fits all afternoon as the veteran signal caller was hit 10 times and sacked twice.
Defensive back Trayvon Mullen picked off Roethlisberger early in the game due to pressure on the throw.
Gang tackling in the secondary has been a noticeable improvement from last year to this year, as well. There were a handful of plays where a number of silver and black jerseys were flying to the ball.
Special teams came through, too. It was an all-around complete performance for Las Vegas.
Kicker Dan Carlson pleased fantasy football owners as well as his own team with four crucial field goals – three of which being 45 yards or longer.
Carlson also added two extra points.
Running backs Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber filled in admirably for Jacobs, who is dealing with a toe/ankle injury suffered in the season opener.
“We’re loaded with playmakers," Ruggs told ESPN. “We have guys ready to step up at any time.”
Barber ran hard between the tackles while Drake was a check-down option for Carr, finishing with five receptions for 46 yards.
The Pittsburgh defense, as always, was hard-hitting and solid, truly testing the gut performances of the Raiders’ offense, as it all but responded to the test.
Now, the team will take the week to heal and prepare for a possible Miami Dolphins squad minus its starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who exited Sunday’s loss with a rib injury.