Coming off a big win in Denver, the Raiders were back at home for Week 7. The team looked incredibly healthy going into Sunday, but Las Vegas’ star tight end Darren Waller was injured on Friday in practice. Waller told reporters he tripped over a teammate at practice resulting in a “freak injury.” Waller said he is thankful for the bye week next week to get healthy. For today, Foster Moreau and rookie Matt Bushman were next man up at TE.
Looking to go 5-2 for the first time since 2016, the Raiders were in for a tough matchup against a dual-threat Eagles team.
The Philadelphia Eagles were the first offense up today. QB Jalen Hurts marched his offense down the field for a four-minute drive that was capped off with a Hurts touchdown pass to RB Kenneth Gainwell. The Raiders offense needed to start fast to keep up with what looked like an Eagles team that was ready to go.
Derek Carr started off as hot as he has all season. He started 5/5 for 74 yards. The Raiders were inside the red zone on their first offensive drive when Carr threw an interception. The ball was tipped off the hands of RB Jalen Richard and caught by Eagles DB Avonte Maddox.
The remainder of the first quarter brought an explosive Raiders defense and a fired-up Raiders sideline regardless of the score. Eagles led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The second half brought a momentum change as the Raiders offense marched down the field on the first drive of the second half. The Las Vegas running backs were on fire as they converted for three straight first downs. The four-minute drive resulted in the Raiders first touchdown, as Carr hit TE Foster Moreau for an 18-yard score. Moreau was able to celebrate National Tight End Day with his second touchdown reception of the season.
The Eagles looked to have some power after a fourth down conversion that brought them close to midfield. But the Raiders defense wasn’t going to let them go any further. DE Yannick Ngakoue combined with DE Maxx Crosby for the first sack of the game. The Eagles were forced to punt on 4th and 15.
With 3:15 left on the clock in the half, QB Marcus Mariota made his second appearance of the season. Mariota was activated off injured reserve in Week 6 after recovering from a quad Injury suffered in Week 1. The Raiders had planned to run a play package involving Mariota this season, but that was put on hold until this week.
Mariota made his appearance on first down and ran for a gain of four yards. RB Josh Jacobs willed the offense down the field the remainder of the drive and ran it in for his fifth touchdown of the season.
Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia spoke after the game about the run game and offensive line.
“We’re doing some things in the run game that are helping [Jacobs], and certainly what [Drake] is doing, and it’s good to get [Richard] back. But I think the offensive line today set the tempo for what we were trying to do.”
A game-changing moment for the Raiders turned out to be game changing in more ways than one. Jacobs was injured on his touchdown run and was taken to the locker room directly after the drive. He was later downgraded to out with a chest injury.
The Raiders defense was fired up and ready to go, and they proved it immediately. DT Quinton Jefferson forced a fumble and safety Johnathan Abram recovered for the Raiders’ first turnover of the game. The Las Vegas offense was able to capitalize on the turnover and put more points on the board with a field goal. Raiders led 17-7 at the half.
The Eagles tried a surprise onside kick to open the half, but FB Alec Ingold saw right through it to recover the loose ball. The Raiders opened the drive with great field position, and it paid off. The offense wasted no time as Carr led them down the field where Kenyan Drake ran it into the end zone. Raiders up 24-7.
Carr finished with a remarkable stat line, completing 31 of 34 passes for 323 yards with 2 TDs and an INT.
“Football wise, on the field, [Carr] is a tremendous leader,” Bisaccia said. “He has an incredible understanding of what we’re trying to do on offense. We can all see the relationship that he and Greg Olson have… Off the field, Derek is the voice of the Raiders right now.”
The game started to reach blowout territory as the Raiders scored another touchdown and went up 30-7. The Eagles converted a 4th and 10 to get into the red zone, but the drive ended in another Raiders fumble recovery. The Eagles did score another touchdown in the fourth quarter to lessen the lead, but the Raiders answered with a Daniel Carlson field goal. Raiders led 33-14 with 7 minutes to go.
With 3:50 left in the fourth quarter, the momentum shifted and the pressure was on for the Raiders offense. After the Las Vegas defense allowed another touchdown and a successful two-point conversion, the Raiders lead was cut to 11. Las Vegas didn’t put any points up, but they were able to pin the Eagles inside the 10 yard-line to start their next drive, seemingly sealing the game for the Raiders.
With 1:30 left on the clock, the Eagles had a 1% chance to win, per Fox Sports. Yannick Ngakoue’s second sack of the day brought a turnover on downs, and the Raiders were in victory formation. Las Vegas advanced to 5-2 with a bye next week and a lead in the AFC West.
Checking in on the AFC West
The AFC West has proven week after week that it is one of the most competitive divisions in football this season. Heading into Week 7, The Raiders and Chargers were tied for first place in the division at 4-2 while the Broncos and Chiefs were tied for last place at 3-3.
Week 7 brought another loss for the Denver Broncos. They lost to the Browns on Thursday Night Football 17-14. The Broncos now sit at 3-4 on the season after a four-game losing streak.
The Kansas City Chiefs also sit at 3-4 after another difficult game for QB Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs lost to the Tennessee Titans 27-3. The Broncos and Chiefs remain tied for last place in the division.
The Los Angeles Chargers had a bye week. Their record remains 4-2 as they prepare to take on the Patriots at SoFi Stadium next week.
The Raiders lead the AFC West with a 5-2 record. They are on a bye next week followed by an east coast flight to New York to take on the Giants.
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