After a monstrous Week 1 win, the Raiders flew to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, their long-time rivals. Both teams began the day on the hunt to 2-0, but the Raiders came out on top.
The Raiders defense came out swinging. The team looked ready to go in the early window after a plane ride to the east coast. Gus Bradley’s defense woke Pittsburgh up with an interception by CB Trayvon Mullen in the first quarter. DT Solomon Thomas, DE Maxx Crosby, and CB Casey Hayward also stood out. The offense, on the other hand, took some time to warm up.
QB Derek Carr and the offense had a hard time scoring in the first quarter and early in the second. K Daniel Carlson came to pick up the pieces with a field goal on two separate red zone drives.
As halftime approached, Carr seemed to kick it into high gear with an impressive drive down the field with four minutes left in half. WR Hunter Renfrow made some remarkable catches on third down, and WR Bryan Edwards put his talents on full display.
A goal-line touchdown got called back on a penalty, and the Raiders settled for another red-zone field goal with 0:02 left on the clock. Raiders led 9-7 heading into halftime.
The Second Half
The Raiders started the second half off much like the first. After an offensive drive that went nowhere, it was time for the defense to step up again. The second drive of the half, the offense saw much more success.
Carr found third-year veteran TE Foster Moreau in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown. Carr, however, was injured on the play. Carr received attention from medical staff before walking off under his own power.
“Hopefully [Carr] gets the recognition he deserves,” head coach Jon Gruden said in his post-game press conference.
The remainder of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth continued the offensive woes for Las Vegas. The offense struggled to get going.
The defense saw its share of woes in the fourth quarter as well. After CB Casey Hayward left the field with cramps, CB Damon Arnette made his appearance. Arnette made some costly mistakes, and the Raiders defense allowed a massive 52 yard gain for the Steelers, eventually leading to a touchdown by Steelers RB Najee Harris. Las Vegas was up 16-14 with 11:15 left in the fourth.
With pressure looming, the Raiders offense needed to step up, and fast. Carr and his receivers heard the call to action and delivered.
Carr sent a ball flying into the arms of former first-round pick WR Henry Ruggs III for a 61-yard touchdown, putting the Raiders up 23-14.
“It feels good to be the guy that can go and turn the game around,” Ruggs said after the game.
After some back and forth and a Steelers field goal, the Raiders got the ball back just in time to run a clock-killing two-minute drill. Up 23-17, the Raiders were holding on to the lead by less than a touchdown. Carr and the offense powered down the field for a field goal with less than a minute left in the game.
Carlson made a 46-yard field goal to put the Raiders up 26-17. With 20 seconds left, the Steelers were left without a chance. Raiders win.
“We’ve got two wins, two AFC wins, and we got to get ready for Miami,” Gruden said.
Carr went 28/37 passing with 382 yards, 2 TDs, and no interceptions.
Things to Keep an Eye on This Week
First-round pick RT Alex Leatherwood’s much-anticipated matchup with superstar EDGE T.J. Watt was cut short due to injury. Both parties were ruled out of the second half after suffering oblique and groin injuries, respectively. As the week continues, we should have more information on Leatherwood’s injury and status for Week 3. Brandon Parker is the next man up for the Raiders.
RB Josh Jacobs, LG Richie Incognito, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, and S Roderic Teamer, among others, were all inactive today due to injury. The Raiders matchup against Miami in Week 3 could feature the return of many of these players. How will Incognito and Jacobs help propel the Raiders to a 3-0 start if they return?
Las Vegas will stay home next week to take on Miami. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa was carted off early on during their Sunday game, and he was eventually ruled out with a rib injury. Whether or not he will return in Week 3 will be something for the Raiders to watch as they prepare for next week’s game. Tagovailoa’s backup is veteran Jacoby Brissett.
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