The debut of the Las Vegas Raiders defense, led by new coach Gus Bradley, couldn’t have gone better for the Silver and Black. Coming into this Monday Night Football matchup between these two teams, there were some big storylines to monitor. As the game went on, it was clear that the Raiders defensive line was going to be the key to winning against a dynamic Ravens offense.
On offense, the Raiders jumped out quickly on the first drive of the game driving all the way down to the Ravens 18-yard line before eventually settling for a punt after a holding penalty and bad snap by Andre James, which resulted in a huge loss of yardage.
The Ravens eventually got it together and scored two touchdowns to take the lead 14-0.
It didn’t look good for the Silver and Black at that point. However, the Raiders responded with 10 unanswered points of their own.
The Raiders were pretty much playing catchup after that point, as Derek Carr led multiple game-tying drives, including three game-tying drives in the fourth quarter alone. Daniel Carlson kicked a 55-yard field goal with :02 left to send the game into overtime.
After some hiccups by the Raiders, Las Vegas finally put it away when Derek Carr hit a wide-open Zay Jones with 4:31 left in overtime. The Raiders won 33-27 in the season-opener at home against the Baltimore Ravens.
“I felt like I died and woke up,” Gruden said. “And died again. I was like a cat. I had multiple lives tonight. I don’t like playing like that”
This game went back and fourth all night, but the Silver and Black got the victory.
A Revamped Defensive Line
The difference in this game was the revamped defensive line for the Silver and Black, a unit that really struggled getting pressure in 2020.
However, from the first drive of the game, to the last, the Raiders got constant pressure led by Maxx Crosby who had 13 total pressures. He had 2 sacks and 5 QB hits.
The defensive line was one of the major factors to the Raiders getting this win. They forced two fumbles which could not have come at better moments in the game. The first set up the game-tying score in the fourth quarter. The second fumble came in overtime, which set up the game winning touchdown from Carr to Jones.
Yannick Ngakoue and Gerald McCoy both went down with injuries. Before his injury, Ngakoue was getting constant pressure. He’ll be a crucial part of this defensive line moving forward.
The Raiders starting LG Richie Incognito was ruled out on Saturday and Las Vegas knew going into this physical matchup that they’d rely on second-year guard John Simpson starting.
But from the first drive of the game, it was clear the Raiders young offensive line was going to struggle against the Ravens. Andre James was beat a few times and called for a holding penalty twice.
Alex Leatherwood gave up a few pressures and also allowed one sack. But it was in overtime where his most crucial mistake came. He was called for a crucial false start that backed them up from the one-yard line. The false start would be the first of two mistakes for the Raiders offense, as Derek Carr then threw a pass high for Willie Snead, which was intercepted.
The left side of the line also struggled at times. Raiders LT Kolton Miller and LG John Simpson also gave up multiple pressures. But ultimately, the O-Line did just enough to help get the job done. They’ll need to continue to get better.
The Raiders eigth-year quarterback was the MVP of the game against the Ravens. Carr started the game off slow completing only 3 of his first 11 pass attempts for 28 yards. He stepped up as the half was coming to an end, finishing the first half 12-25 for 127 yards.
As the game continued on, his game continued to pick up. He drove downfield a few times, and tied the game when the Raiders most needed it. Carr finished the game with 435 yards on 34 of 46 passing with 2 TDs and an interception.
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