The Raiders were the first team to win a game in Week 1 of the NFL season, and they did it with a bonkers overtime victory over Baltimore. Here are some takeaways from Oakland’s big day.
The ravens record is a team that has been struggling to find their identity this season. The Raiders were able to take advantage of a weak Ravens defense and finish the game with a win.
The Las Vegas Raiders won their Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens in a bizarre fashion. Because of how bizarre the conclusion was, it was unlike anything anybody had ever seen before.
After a dismal start to the Jon Gruden era, an overtime win in Week 1 has many believing that this Raiders squad may really do some damage this season. The Ravens aren’t easy to beat, and the Raiders had to earn every second of their victory. Here are some of the Raiders’ key takeaways from the game.
Takeaways from the Raiders
Takeaway No. 1: The Raiders aren’t terrific, but they’ll never give up.
No one believed the Raiders were going to win this game until they were on the one-yard line following the touchdown review. Derek Carr, of course, threw an interception. The Raiders won on a spectacular deep throw to the end zone after the defense forced a Lamar Jackson fumble minutes later. This group isn’t one to give up. Lamar Jackson and Justin Tucker seemed to dagger the Raiders with a field goal in the fourth quarter. Carr completed two passes in less than a minute to go into field goal range, and Daniel Carlson kicked a 55-yard from goal with ice in his veins to send the game to overtime.
Nobody expected this club to go on a wild playoff run, and the preseason victory total was around eight. With the Raiders winning their first game of the season against a club that was favored by 7.5 points, nine victories are not out of the question. Getting to nine victories offers you a chance to make the wild card, and if you can get to nine, 10 isn’t out of the question. This Raiders squad isn’t expected to make the playoffs, but they’re tenacious and will fight until the very end.
Raiders Takeaway #2: Derek Carr has a formidable arsenal of weapons at his disposal.
We all knew about Darren Waller going into this season, but the Raiders’ offensive weapons were a mystery. Last season’s first-round selection, Henry Ruggs III, didn’t quite fit into this scheme, while Bryan Edwards was a third-round choice with untapped potential. The Raiders have Hunter Renfrow and others behind those two, but Carr’s top three may be a terrific combination.
In Week 1, Waller had ten receptions for 105 yards and a score on 19 targets. That’s crazy, but that kind of output should continue throughout the season. The Carr-Waller link is underappreciated, not because no one has mentioned it, but because no one has said how good it is. If this trend continues, people will be reminded of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, or Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. The Raiders now have Edwards and Ruggs beside him, two weapons capable of going for 100 yards at any time.
Takeaway #3 for the Raiders: The running game still has a lot of potential, but it needs productivity.
With potential second-year running back Josh Jacobs, the Raiders ran the ball a lot last season. He went from averaging 4.8 yards per run in his first season to 3.9 yards per carry this year. This is Jacobs’ third season in the league, and the Raiders have chosen to complement his output with Kenyan Drake, a guy who was expected to be the Cardinals’ lead back a year ago.
With these two running backs, the concept seems to be a solid one. Take two players who were disappointing bell cow running backs a year ago and put them together in a good rotation to see if they can repeat their success. While Jacobs and Drake are unquestionably talented, the Raiders’ Week 1 performance was more of the same. High expectations and a lack of results. Jacobs carried the ball 10 times, while Drake carried it six times. Jacobs averaged 3.4 yards per run, which was better than Drake’s 1.8 yards per carry. The ability is there; now it’s simply a matter of putting it to use.
Takeaway #4: The defense will not annihilate you, but it may help the offense win games.
Last night, the Raiders defense seemed to win the game for Las Vegas thanks to a Lamar Jackson fumble, but this bunch isn’t going to be terrific. Every team wants to force timely turnovers, but it’s not a talent that can be relied on all of the time. Expectations aren’t high for this defense, but they’ll take it if they can stop opponents like the Ravens to 27 points when the offense is hot. This defense wasn’t as terrible as it has been in previous years, but will they be able to sustain it week after week?
The over/under for this Raiders squad was set at eight, which makes perfect sense given their personnel. For this club to create noise and compete for the playoffs, the offense may be very strong but also extremely erratic, while the defense just has to be average. Is it possible for them to succeed?
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