LAS VEGAS – After a premature bench-clearing festivities and a few blunders that nearly cost the Raiders the game, the party can finally begin with fans in Las Vegas for real after the first game.
The Raiders won a thrilling and exhausting season opener, thanks to a furious rally, a stellar defensive game from Carl Nassib and a perfect play call that produced a 31-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Zay Jones that helped the Raiders 33-27. Won from Monday night on the Baltimore Ravens.
“It felt like I died and woke up. And died. And woke up again,” said coach John Gruden. “I was like a cat – I had many lives.”
Carr made three game-tying drives in the fourth quarter before winning it in wild overtime.
He appeared to win with the first right of overtime with a 33-yard TD pass to Bryan Edwards, only to halt the celebration when replays put the ball on 1.
A failed QB sneak, a false start from rookie Alex Leatherwood, and then an interception that went through the hands of Willie Snead cost the Raiders the game.
Luck then delivered Lamar Jackson’s strip sack in his first game after becoming the first active NFL player to come out as gay in the off-season.
“I am really happy that we won on the day a little bit of history was created,” Naseeb said.
The Raiders then made another mistake by delaying the game before attempting a field goal, sending Gruden the offense back on the field.
The Ravens sent a blitz and Carr made a pass, under which Jones ran for the score, sending the Raiders out onto the field for another celebration.
“I’m glad the coach trusted us, put it in our hands at the end,” Carr said. “Because it’s always nice to win like this, especially when you’ve almost given up.”
The Ravens ended a 98-game, regular-season win streak for the Ravens, trailing in a 14–0 start when they led at least 14 points in 2004.
The loss spelled out a difficult stretch for the Ravens, who had injured cornerback Marcus Peters along with JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, the top three running backs for the season.
“We didn’t close the game when we had the opportunity to do it three or four times,” said coach John Harbaugh. “When you have a chance to win, that’s what you have to do, you have to win. We didn’t do that tonight.”
He had won the last five openers by a margin of 177-26, but came up short in this nail-biter thanks to a strong game from Carr, who threw for 435 yards.
Overtime came after a wild back-and-forth fourth quarter, in which the Raiders rallied to tie the game on three separate occasions, with Carr driving Las Vegas to a 55-yard field goal in the final 37 seconds.
The Ravens had taken the lead when Jackson ran for 28 yards to help set up Justin Tucker’s 47-yard field goal.
But Jackson is still haunted by two late blunders.
“She tickled me,” he said. “I hate business of any kind.”
The Raiders first found a forced fumble by Quinton Jefferson to set up Josh Jacobs’ 15-yard TD run against Jackson, tying the game on 17. The Ravens responded when former raider Latvius Murray drove Jackson from a game 8 yards after Sammy found it. Watkins is mismatched for a 49-yard pass.
Carr added Henry Rugs III on a 37-yard pass, setting up a 10-yard TD for Darren Waller with 3:44 to play.
Jackson’s TD pass to Marquis Brown in the first half was a brilliant individual effort. He survived pressure from Max Crosby and Yannick Ngakou and scrambled for a 10-yard score before finding Brown in the back of the end zone.
According to NFL NextGen statistics, Jackson took 7.84 seconds for the fifth-longest throw on a TD pass over the past five seasons and 27 yards for his most ever on a TD.
go for it
The Ravens went for it twice in fourth place in the first half, getting a 35-yard TD run from Tyson Williams in the first half. KJ Wright stuffed Murray on the second.
The Raiders were stopped in the third quarter by Jacobs on the fourth and a run at the Ravens 13.
The Raiders got off to a slow start to the offensive after most of their starters were seated in the preseason. A holding penalty and a botched snap spoiled a promising first drive that saw the Ravens reach 21 before going backwards and ending in a punt.
The Raiders then punted on the next three drives, the first time in 15 years they punted on the first four drives of the season.
He then scored twice late in the half-half and made it 14-10 at the break.
Ravens: G Tire Phillips was taken off the field on a cart late in the first half after suffering a foot injury and did not return.
Raiders: G Denzel Good was ruled out in the first half with a knee injury. … Ngakoue went into the second half with a hamstring injury. … DT Gerald McCoy was dumped on a cart with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
Ravens: Sunday night host Kansas City. Baltimore has lost against four straight majors, including all three matchups between Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.
Raiders: Visit Pittsburgh on Sunday.
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