Published Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Updated Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 | 4:05 p.m.
The Raiders will go into their bye week sitting in first place in the AFC West.
Las Vegas ascended to the position with a 33-22 victory over Philadelphia Sunday at Allegiant Stadium to improve to 5-2 on the year. The Raiders have Week 8 off, meaning they won’t be on the field again until Nov. 7 trip to play the Giants.
The Los Angeles Chargers hold a tiebreaker over the Raiders via head-to-head victory, but were on a bye in Week 7 and technically sit percentage points behind in second place at 4-2 on the year.
Las Vegas looked like a completely different team on Sunday than the one that got pretty thoroughly dismantled by Los Angeles four weeks ago. Quarterback Derek Carr got back to the form that saw him win AFC Offensive Player of the Month to open the season, throwing for 323 yards by completing 31 of 34 pass attempts with two touchdowns to one interception.
Carr’s first touchdown went to tight end Foster Moreau, who excelled filling in for the injured Darren Waller. Moreau was the leading receiver for the Raiders, nabbing six receptions for 60 yards.
His 18-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter started a run of 30 unanswered points by the Raiders after the Eagles took a 7-0 lead on a 13-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to Kenneth Gainwell on their opening drive. Philadelphia’s offense could never get into the same rhythm, however, after running back Miles Sanders went down with an ankle injury shortly later.
Hurts had little time to operate with the Raiders’ pass rush having another strong game. Yannick Ngakoue had two sacks, while Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson and Maxx Crosby all regularly applied pressure. The defense managed two takeaways, one late in the first half when Jefferson poked a ball away from Gainwell that safety Johnathan Abram jumped on.
Hurts mishandled a shotgun snap at the 6-yard line in the second half, and the fast-charging Raiders’ defense was able to surround the loose ball with linebacker Cory Littleton ultimately falling on it.
In addition to Carr’s two touchdowns, the Raiders had a pair of rushing scores with one each by Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake to end the first half and start the second, respectively. Jacobs left the game after his score and didn’t return with a chest injury.
In total, the Raiders’ run game compiled 120 yards on 28 carries. Carr’s final touchdown, to make the score 30-7 late in the third quarter, came when he ran a play-action handoff and threw a 2-yard slant route for a score to Bryan Edwards.
Check back to lasvegassun.com later for more coverage and read below for live updates that were posted throughout the game.
It's not over yet, somehow.
The Eagles just scored on one of the most ill-advised passes of the day as Jalen Hurts, chased out of the pocket, heaved the ball towards the end zone despite three defensive backs being around slot receiver Jalen Reagor. But Reagor went skyward and came down with the ball, running it in for a 17-yard pass.
An ensuing, successful two-point conversion made the score Las Vegas 33, Philadelphia 22. The Raiders are still in good position but the score no longer reflects how lopsided the game has felt — and they can't simply run out the clock with 3:50 still to play.
Raiders make it a three-score game
Daniel Carlson missed an extra point earlier, but just made up for it via a 39-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The Raiders now have a 33-14, three-score lead over the Eagles with less than seven minutes to play.
Eagles cut into Raiders’ advantage
The considerable amount of Philadelphia fans at Allegiant Stadium finally got something to cheer for.
The Eagles went 59 yards on eight plays with Boston Scott running in a 1-yard touchdown with 11:38 remaining on the clock. It was Philadelphia’s first score since an opening-drive touchdown, though it still trails 30-14.
After recovering a fumble at their own 6-yard line after Jalen Hurts bobbled a snap, the Raiders went three-and-out for the first time this afternoon before the Eagles’ scoring drive. It snapped a streak of five straight possessions with a score.
The offense may want to wake back up on its next possession to ensure the Eagles can’t piece together a late comeback attempt.
Raiders pouring on the points
Bryan Edwards just made the Raiders’ lead over the Eagles even more dominating.
On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, quarterback Derek Carr faked a run with a quick play action before hitting Bryan Edwards on a slant. Raiders 30, Eagles 7.
Philadelphia’s latest drive was one of the worst yet, as it netted -10 yards due to penalties and constant pressure from Las Vegas.
Carr is putting together one of his best game, having completed 28 of 31 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. He’s spread his passes around to eight different receivers, but Foster Moreau leads them all with six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Raiders recover surprise onside kick and make Eagles pay
Despite Josh Jacobs being ruled out the rest of the game with a chest injury, the Raiders are still rolling.
They scored on the opening drive of the second half behind Kenyan Drake, who made one cut and ran in a 4-yard touchdown. Las Vegas leads Philadelphia 24-7.
Philadelphia went with a surprise onside kick out of the locker room and nearly recovered if it wasn’t for special teams captain Alec Ingold diving for the loose ball. Las Vegas capitalized on the short field mostly behind Drake, needing only six plays to pick up the 41 yards necessary for a touchdown.
The Eagles are now in catch-up mode, in a big way.
Raiders take 10-point lead into halftime
For the second straight week, the Raiders’ offense is clicking. It’s given them an 17-7 halftime lead over the Eagles with three straight scoring drives.
The defense has played well too, and probably deserves most of the credit for the latest score — a 28-yard field goal from Daniel Carson. Quinton Jefferson forced a fumble on Eagles rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell, pressed into action after Miles Sanders was hurt in the first quarter, and safety Johnathan Abram recovered the ball at Philadelphia’s 29-yard line.
Las Vegas ran out of time to get into the end zone and settled for the kick. It has to be only a minor knock on an offense that has 273 yards and 7.6 yards per play.
The Raiders have both ran and passed efficiently. Their second touchdown, right inside the two-minute warning, came when running back Josh Jacobs went off-tackle for eight yards.
Quarterback Derek Carr has sliced the Eagles up, throwing for 215 yards and a touchdown on 21-for-23 passing. The Eagles flew down the field on their opening drive, but haven’t done much since and will have to wait before getting another opportunity.
The Raiders receive the ball to open the second half.
Raiders tie it up
Foster Moreau is filling in just fine for the injured Darren Waller.
The third-year tight end out of LSU just caught an 18-yard touchdown pass for Derek Carr, evening the score with the Eagles. Las Vegas 7, Philadelphia 7.
Moreau has a team-high four receptions through the first 18 minutes of the game, having picked up 43 yards. The Raiders’ touchdown drive consisted of nine plays for 72 yards over 4:40 of game time.
It was the second time Las Vegas got into the red zone but its first trip ended when Carr threw an interception to Avonte Maddox on a pass intended for Jalen Richard.
Eagles score on opening drive
The Eagles’ offense came out on fire to start the game, and it looked like there was nothing the Raiders’ defense could do to slow down the rhythm.
Philadelphia went 62 yards on eight plays before scoring on a 13-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to Kenneth Gainwell. The Eagles lead the Raiders 7-0 four minutes into the game at Allegiant Stadium.
Las Vegas actually stuffed Philadelphia’s first two plays, but a defensive holding penalty committed by Jonathan Hankins wiped out the stops. The Eagles flew from there, with the biggest play a 24-yard pass from Hurts to Dallas Goedert in a hole in the Raiders’ secondary.
The Raiders will be without their best player when they take on the Eagles in about 90 minutes at Allegiant Stadium.
Tight end Darren Waller was listed as inactive on the team’s just-released list, meaning he’ll miss a game for the first time since coming to the Raiders off the Raven’s practice squad in 2018. He was a late addition to the injury report this week with an ankle injury, reported as questionable to play yesterday.
The team likely tested out his ankle this morning and decided it would be better to sit him out going into the bye week. Backup tight end Foster Moreau will take over Waller's duties, and in flashes over the last three years, he's shown big-play ability.
He's no Waller, but he's an above-average backup. Slot receiver Hunter Renfrow could benefit most from Waller's absence, as he'll now be the primary option and first read on routes over the middle.
In more positive news for Raiders’ fans, defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson was not on the inactive list.
Jefferson missed practice this week while he traveled to tend to a family matter and was also listed as questionable but will apparently play. The only other minor surprise on the inactive list was cornerback Amik Robertson, who started last week against the Broncos but struggled and has now been demoted.
The Raiders are expected to start Brandon Facyson at cornerback, though also signed veteran Isaiah Trufant this week. He’ll also likely receive snaps.
Las Vegas has a chance to head into next week’s bye with a win percentage of better than .700. Running back Josh Jacobs said he couldn’t imagine the last time the Raiders were in such favorable standing during their midseason break, which is probably because it last happened three years before his rookie season. The Raiders went 7-2 before their bye week in 2016, which is also the last time the franchise made the playoffs. The postseason has always been the goal this year, and Las Vegas will have a stronghold on one of the AFC’s seven spots if it can beat Philadelphia. The Raiders are in this position because of the way they responded to the turmoil caused by former coach Jon Gruden’s exit last week, putting together their most statistically dominant game of the year in a 34-24 upset win at Denver. Led by three sacks from edge rusher Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas’ defense kept up its high standard from the first five weeks while the offense looked reinvigorated by offensive coordinator Greg Olson taking over playcalling from Gruden.
• Who: Eagles (2-4) at Raiders (4-2)
• When: 1:05 p.m.
• Where: Allegiant Stadium
• TV: Channel 5, FOX
• Radio: Raider Nation Radio 920 AM, KOMP 92.3
• Betting line: Raiders -3, over/under 49
Favorable matchup: Raiders’ short passing game vs. Eagles’ defense
Las Vegas’ offense has been at its best throwing deep this season, with quarterback Derek Carr ranking sixth in the NFL in intended air yards per target and developing a big-play rhythm with top receiver Henry Ruggs. But the Raiders may be better served by getting back to their short passing game against the Eagles. Philadelphia’s zone-heavy defense has limited big plays down the field but been but been more vulnerable closer to the line of scrimmage and over the middle. In the Eagles’ last two losses, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes took long-shots sparingly but carved up the defense underneath. Carr, who’s second to only Brady in passing this season and averaging a career-best 8.4 yards per attempt, could have similar success as that type of attack was a specialty earlier in his career. Players like slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and passing-down back Kenyan Drake could be set up to make an impact against the Eagles.
THEY SAID IT
“We feel like we’re one of the best D-lines in the league, if not the best. We practice like it. We carry ourselves like it.” -Defensive end Maxx Crosby on the pressure he and his teammates have consistently applied on opposing quarterbacks
“There was no anxiety. It was weird. Everyone was calm. You didn’t have someone cussing at you or going crazy on the refs. It was just like, ‘OK, something bad happened. I’m not harping it. Next play.’” -Running back Josh Jacobs, laughing, on the difference in the sidelines playing under Rich Bisaccia as opposed to Jon Gruden
“There’s a button on there, and I’ve got to press it if I want to talk and, if I want to go to burp by myself, I’ve got to press that. Back in the day when I wore a headset, we didn’t have all them buttons.” -Bisaccia on managing the headset, which he called the toughest part of his coaching debut
“I was definitely nervous for the transition, but I definitely wanted a fresh start and I was able to get that here. It’s never easy but my teammates and my coaching staff and this organization made it easy for me and I’m truly loving it.” -Solomon Thomas on switching teams by signing with the Raiders in free agency
Problematic matchup: Eagles’ receiving depth vs. Raiders’ cornerbacks
The Eagles utilize shotgun formation on 93.4% of plays, the second-highest rate in the NFL. First-year coach Nick Sirriani — a former college receiver at Division III powerhouse Mount Union — likes to spread out multiple wide receivers as much anyone in the NFL. The reliance on the likes of DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins and more could increase this week after the Eagles traded tight end Zach Ertz to the Cardinals since their last game. And that could cause issues for the Raiders as they continue to be without cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette. Las Vegas is set with top cornerback Casey Hayward and nickelback Nate Hobbs, but the other spot on the outside has been a revolving door the last two weeks. The Broncos successfully picked on preferred replacement Amik Robertson last week before Brandon Facyson, who was recently signed off the Chargers’ practice squad, came in and played better. Facyson will likely get the first chance this week but the Raiders also signed veteran, former first round pick Desmond Trufant for insurance and depth.
Gamebreaker: Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas
The backup defensive tackle forced a big fumble in the second half against the Broncos last week to give the Raiders’ offense a short field. It was nothing new, as the 49ers’ former No. 3 overall pick has come up in key situations all season. He now has two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 2.5 sacks on the season. Thomas came to Las Vegas on a one-year deal in hopes of revitalizing his career, and he’s well on track. He hasn’t gotten the accolades of defensive line mates like Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue or even fellow reserve Darius Philon, but Thomas has been invaluable as a change-of-pace interior rusher usually inserted on passing downs. He’s quicker and shiftier than the other defensive tackles on the roster, and those could be important attributes against a dangerous scrambler like Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Thomas also announced this week that he will donate $8,000 per sack to his suicide-prevention nonprofit, the Defensive Line, for the rest of the season.
Big Number: 1
That’s where Crosby ranks in several pass-rushing statistics — including quarterback knockdowns (35), Pro Football Focus’s total pressures (43) and PFF’s pass-rush grade (91.7). The Raiders’ defense has been solid across the board with no glaring weaknesses, but Crosby is the single biggest reason for the unit’s turnaround. He’s tied for 11th in the NFL with five sacks, but an example of why that can be overrated statistic. Crosby hadn’t registered a sack in three straight games before facing the Broncos but had been affecting nearly every play. He wasn’t listed in odds to win Defensive Player of the Year at some sports books coming into the season but can now be found as low as 40-to-1. That award traditionally goes to more established stars, but if Crosby stays on his current pace and the Raiders keep winning, he will merit consideration at the end of the season.
Best Bet (3-3): Miles Sanders under 65.5 rushing yards
Philadelphia’s third year back out of Penn State hasn’t rushed for this many yards since a Week 1 win over Atlanta, and there’s no reason to think a game against Las Vegas will be any different. Rush defense was a concern for the Raiders coming into the season, but sans some ill-timed breakdowns in losses to the Chargers and Bears, they’ve mostly excelled. They’re 10th in league against the run according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Sanders has played well on the year, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, but there are workload concerns. The Eagles haven’t relied as heavily on him as expected. Sanders is averaging less than 10 carries per game and will either need to maximize all the opportunities or break a long run to eclipse this number against the Raiders’ defense.