Wow, what a game that was! I said some choice words to my television. I would like to apologize to my TV for bearing the brunt of my vitriol, but this is football season and it knew what it signed up for.
So the Raiders pulled out the victory in the end, and a lot of players looked great while others need some more seasoning. Let's start with the big winners of the day.
1) Jack Del Rio
This is just the sort of fame Jack Del Rio absolutely had to win if this team is going to make the playoffs this season. They were facing a dangerous offense on the road in one of the most hostile environments in football. Jack's gamble going for two points with under a minute left proved to be a masterstroke, but if it hadn't worked he'd be derided by the fanbase even though it was absolutely the right call. Taking your chances against Drew Brees and the Saints in overtime on the road is a recipe for disaster no matter how good your defense is.
As it stands, Del Rio has a team that just won a tough road battle and is believing in itself. They also won't be overconfident because the game was so tight. Everything worked out for Jack here.
2) Derek Carr
What more can we say about our young signal caller now? Carr may not have thrown a bunch of TD passes, but he was efficient and poised and didn't make any costly errors like he did last year against the Chiefs and Lions and Broncos. He was focused and completely in control at all times. His athletic hurdle and flip to get a first down was a thing of beauty that will be remembered for years to come.
And so will Carr's fourth quarter genius. The Raiders outscored New Orleans 22-10 in the final period and much of that was owed to Carr's mastery of the offense and willingness to look downfield and take risks. The final drive was a work of art, bringing to mind comebacks by Montana, Elway and Jake Plummer. On this day Derek Carr is a golden god.
3) Jalen Richard
Jalen Richard got three carries today and rushed for 85 yards. NFL.com tweeted out the following video:
When your first NFL carry is so good, you get ⭐️ POWER.— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2016
SOLID, @Jayy_Rish. #OAKvsNO pic.twitter.com/GSrIObfA3H
Richard proved that he belongs in the NFL and had a monster performance in front of his hometown crowd. The sky is the limit for Richard, and I anticipate his becoming more of a factor in the Raider offense.
4) Brandin Cooks/Willie Snead
These two were amazing today. Drew Brees can make even an average receiver look great, but these guys are completely legit. Cooks was expected to be great after a fantastic college career at Oregon State, but Snead flew under the radar. The Saints' receivers will give everyone fits this season.
1) Drew Brees
Please understand that this has NOTHING to do with how Brees played today. He was a monster. He makes this list out of pity, because he essentially played one of the best games of his life and still lost because his defense is awful and he was outdueled by Derek Carr. What does a man have to do? I feel awful for Drew Brees right now. Maybe he can go sell some Advocare to a poor family and feel better.
2) Dennis Allen
This is why we fired you, you big dork. This garbage right here. Your schemes lost this game for the Saints just like they lost dozens of games for the Raiders. Have fun being a secondary coach in the Sun Belt next year.
3) Sean Smith
While the Saints pass a lot, Smith really didn't look like his head was in the game. He was out of position and badly beaten on a number of passes and did not play with enough physicality. That will not fly against the Falcons and Julio Jones. He needs to get his act together.
4) Delvin Breaux
Saints CB Breaux was actually having a pretty good game until he broke his fibula. Now he'll be out for an extended period of time, making the Saints defense even worse. What is it with the Saints and broken legs? Get well soon, Delvin. You're a good player and that team needs you. GET WELL SEAUXN