It’s not every day a player gets to play in their home state in their first ever NFL game. It’s not every day that that player can show up big time the way Jalen Richard did.
There are a lot of ‘it’s not every day’ aspects to Jalen Richard’s day for the Raiders against the Saints. For him, it was a moment right out of his dreams.
“I’m just a blessed individual,” Richard told a group of reporters after the game. “. . . I’m from from Alexandria Louisiana, I went to Southern Miss, battled injuries, [went] undrafted, tryout guy, make the 53 [man roster], and come back home, in your home state, and then to perform and make and impact to help the team win most of all? The words can’t express it, man. I’m just blessed.”
Richard’s day was made when he took his first hand-off, shot up the middle, broke several tackles, and ran right through three defenders to streak 75 yards for the score. The final stretch of the run, Richard looked up to watch himself scoring on the Superdome jumbotron.
I mean, can you imagine? This for a guy who wasn’t even a priority undrafted free agent. You gotta love moments like this.
A two-point conversion later and the Raiders completed the comeback to tie the game at 27-27 midway through the 4th quarter.
The Saints would score on the ensuing drive, but the Raiders would play out the clock and take the lead on a 2-point conversion which turned out to be the game winner 35-34.
The 75-yard run by Richard was the biggest play by the Raiders in the game. It made him the team’s leading rusher, carrying the ball for 84 yards and a touchdown. He added two catches for 11 yards and had a big punt return called back by a holding penalty.