When Carl Nassib stripped the ball out of Lamar Jackson’s hands late in overtime on Monday, giving the Las Vegas Raiders new life in one of the wildest games in recent memory, quarterback Derek Carr embraced tight end Darren Waller with a sense of relief and joy.
He was given new life in this game and Carr took advantage sending the Raiders’ fans home jubilant from their first game at Allegiant Stadium, with a walk-off touchdown pass to backup receiver Zay Jones, giving Las Vegas a 33-27 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens in a game the entire country was astounded by, including Raiders’ coach Jon Gruden.
"Felt like I died and woke up. And died. And woke up again. I was like a cat - I had multiple lives...we did a lot of good things to win that football game tonight." - #Raiders coach Jon Gruden.— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) September 14, 2021
While the details are plentiful and (a little hazy, frankly), let’s look at five key aspects:
Raiders are clutch:
The Raiders made one big play after another on both sides of the ball from the second quarter on. While this game could have easily gone the other way, the Raiders won because they made more plays. We don’t know how many games this team will win, but you know they will always give full effort and that goes a long way.
Turnovers are your friend:
The Raiders forced Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson into two fumbles, in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and the Raiders’ offense responded with touchdowns on both drives. Creating big turnovers has been the objective of new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley since he got to town. If this can become a trend, the Raiders will win a lot of games.
Maxx on a mission:
Third-year defensive end Maxx Crosby might have become a household name Monday night. He was all over the place, had two sacks and was disruptive all game long. With Yannick Ngakoue on the other side, Crosby will be very dangerous as he finally has help. He could be in store for a monster season.
Hello, Bryan Edwards:
The second-year receiver was extremely quiet until the very end of the game. Had the Ravens kicked a field goal at the end of regulation, we would be feeling a lot differently about Edwards. But he caught two big passes from Carr to setup Daniel Carlson’s game-winning field goal at the end of the regulation and then he came up huge in overtime. Maybe this is the start of something big.
Work to do on offensive line:
While the taste of victory is beautiful, the Raiders have some shoring up to do and it starts on the offensive line. New center Andre James had a rough game and rookie, right tackle Alex Leatherwood made some big mistakes. They will learn from this, but they have to clean some things up soon.