Last week when Ken Norton Jr was talking about Reggie Nelson, he said among the reasons Nelson was named a team captain was that he “has a lot of ball under his belt.” With that being the criteria, it’s no wonder Norton agreed to work with Jack Del Rio.
Del Rio displayed some monstrous cojones at the end of the team’s week one game in New Orleans.
After trailing by 11 in the final quarter of play, Raiders QB Derek Carr orchestrated the team’s fourth touchdown drive of the day, an 11-play, 75-yard drive to bring the Raiders to within one point with just :52 seconds left on the clock.
Kicking the extra point would have tied the game and basically ensured overtime. But the Raiders had the opportunity to give the Raiders the lead with a two-point conversion and Del Rio had no intention of letting it get away.
“I was thinking, we’re here to win, let’s win it right now.” Jack Del Rio said of his decision.
It was a decision he said he made before the drive even began with over six minutes left in the game.
The play call had Carr throw up high to Michael Crabtree on a jump ball. Crabtree leapt in the air and clutched it to converted the two-point conversion that would eventually be the game-winning score of the game.
The Raiders are just the fourth team to score game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the game’s final minute and the first ever to do it in a season opener.
Pro Football Talk pointed out that the other three were the Minnesota Vikings on December 15, 2002 (also against the Saints), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 13, 2005 (against Washington), and the Denver Broncos on September 14, 2008 (against the Chargers).
Other week one superlatives:
- The victory over the Saints snaps a three-game losing streak to the Saints and a six-game losing streak to Drew Brees dating back to 2003 when he was with the Chargers.
- It was the Raiders first week 1 victory since 2011, when the club defeated the Broncos at Mile High Stadium by a score of 23-20.
- With Sebastian Janikowski’s appearance, the former first round pick became the Raiders All-Time leader in seasons of service for the franchise, officially making 2016 his 17th year with the team (2002-2016), and surpassing “Mr Raider” Tim Brown’s 16 seasons (1988-2003). Brown spent his 17th and final NFL season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Janikowski passed Brown’s record for most appearances for the Raiders (240) last season.
- Janikowski’s 47 and 31-yard field goals put him ahead of Phil Dawson and David Akers (386) for 9th on the NFL’s all-time list of field goals made.
- Amari Cooper recorded three receptions of 30-or-more yards (43, 35 and 34) in the game; the first time he has done so in his career. His 6 catches for 137 yards are the most for a Raiders receiver on opening day since Ronald Curry registered 133 in the 2007 opener against the Lions.
- Michael Crabtree recorded his 18th consecutive game with at least three receptions, dating back to his final game with the 49ers in 2014. Which mean, of course, he has never had a game with the Raiders in which he hasn’t had at least 3 catches. He had seven receptions in this game for 87 yards.
- With Jalen Richard’s 75-yard touchdown, he became just the fourth player ever to score on a run of 75-or-more yards in his NFL debut, joining the likes of Oran Pape (1930), Alan Ameche (1955) and Ottis Anderson (1979).
- Donald Penn extended his streak of consecutive starts to 141 in the Week 1 victory over the saints, third most among active offensive lineman in the league. He even jumped over to play right tackle late in the game with injuries to Menelik Watson and Matt McCants.
- Kelechi Osemele also showed his versatility, moving to left tackle when Penn shifted to right tackle. Jon Feliciano took over at left guard. It was with that alignment that the Raiders came back to win the game.