Rick Scuteri / Associated Press
Published Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Updated Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 | 9 p.m.
• Who: Ravens at Raiders
• When: 5:15 p.m.
• Where: Allegiant Stadium
• TV: ESPN
• Radio: Raider Nation Radio 920 AM, KOMP 92.3
• Betting line: Ravens -4.5, over/under: 50.5
Derek Carr tossed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones in overtime to give the Raiders a 33-27 win over Baltimore in a long, twisting, and downright bizarre season opener.
The Raiders managed to blow a 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line on the first possession of overtime as Carr was intercepted in the end zone on third down. Baltimore then took possession and moved the ball toward midfield, but Carl Nassib sacked Lamar Jackson and knocked the ball loose. Las Vegas fell on the loose ball and the Raiders took over at the Baltimore 27 needing just a field goal to win.
After a running play was stuffed, Las Vegas strangely lined up for a field goal on second down. They were flagged for delay of game, however, forcing Jon Gruden to send his offense back on the field. The Ravens seemed confused by the confusion, allowing Carr to drop back and hit an uncovered Jones streaking across the right side of the field for the game-ending score.
Carr overcame a slow start to complete 34-of-56 passes for 435 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
However it came about, the Raiders are somehow 1-0 on the season and have to feel good about beating a team that has made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Raiders force overtime with last-second drive
End of regulation: Raiders 27, Ravens 27
We are heading to overtime after Derek Carr and Daniel Carlson combined to pull off a dramatic last-second field-goal drive.
Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal with 37 seconds to play to put Baltimore ahead, 27-24, and it looked like the Raiders were cooked at that point.
Las Vegas had one final chance to tie the score, however, taking over at the 25 with no timeouts remaining. Quarterback Derek Carr hit Bryan Edwards for a 20-yard gain on the first play, and his second pass went to Edwards as well for 18 yards. Carr spiked the ball to stop the clock, setting the stage for Carlson's game-tying 54-yard attempt. The kick split the uprights to send the game to OT.
Raiders, Ravens tied in final minutes
3:44 fourth quarter: Raiders 24, Ravens 24
The Raiders and Ravens have traded touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, and now it's up to the Las Vegas defense to hold with the game on the line.
Derek Carr just hit Darren Waller for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the score with 3:44 to play. Waller ran a quick stop inside the 5-yard line, caught the pass and spun away from two Baltimore defenders before leaping across the goal line. Waller now has 10 catches for 105 yards.
Baltimore took the lead with six minutes to play on a 9-yard scoring run by Latavius Murray, who was added just days ago after every Ravens running back was lost to injury. Murray's run was set up by a 49-yard bomb from Lamar Jackson to Sammy Watkins in which Raiders linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski was left on an island 1-on-1 with the speedy Watkins.
Raiders, Ravens heading toward tight finish
9:18 fourth quarter: Raiders 17, Ravens 17
With nine minutes to play, this is now anyone's game after Josh Jacobs tied the score with a 15-yard touchdown run.
Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson made a big-time hustle play on the Ravens' previous possession, chasing down Lamar Jackson as he scrambled out of the pocket and forcing a fumble as Jackson leaped forward. Las Vegas fell on the ball and gave Derek Carr and the offense good starting position for the first time all night.
Five plays later, Jacobs took a handoff and cut up the middle, juking past two defenders at the second level before turning upfield and into the end zone. Jacobs now has 36 yards on nine carries and he has scored both of the Las Vegas touchdowns tonight.
Ravens extend lead over Raiders to 17-10
8:24 third quarter: Ravens 17, Raiders 10
Justin Tucker just restored Baltimore's 7-point lead with a 40-yard field goal, but the Raiders' defense can't really be blamed for that scoring drive.
The offense got pinned back on the previous possession, with an offensive pass interference penalty and a false start pinning them back on the goal line, and Jon Gruden opted to run the ball on 3rd-and-14. The ensuing punt gave the Ravens possession starting at the Las Vegas 38-yard line, so it was a short trip into Tucker's range.
Both of Carr's pass attempts on the Raiders' first drive out of the locker room were intended for Waller, who has now been targeted 12 times on the night. Waller has caught four of those passes for 54 yards.
Ravens lead Raiders at half, 14-10
Daniel Carlson hit a 34-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer, and the Raiders will head into the locker room trailing Baltimore, 14-10.
It was a tough 30 minutes for the Las Vegas offense, but they were able to put points on the board after taking over with 1:12 left in the half. The defense came up big, as new signee K.J. Wright stuffed a 4th-and-1 play in the Baltimore backfield to give the Raiders possession, and Derek Carr led the team 45 yards in nine plays to set up Carlson's kick.
The Raiders finally got on the board with four minutes left in the half, when Josh Jacobs plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown to pull Las Vegas within 14-7. That capped a 9-play, 75-yard drive in which the offense seemed to find its bearings. It was spearheaded by Darren Waller, who caught three passes for 41 yards and is now up to 54 yards on the night.
Carr is just 12-of-26 passing for 127 yards. He has been sacked twice, and 11 of his 12 completions have been to tight ends, fullbacks, running backs or slot receivers. The only reception by a an outside receiver was a 15-yard snag by Zay Jones on a broken play.
Raiders offense struggling, Ravens lead 14-0
8:52 second quarter: Ravens 14, Raiders 0
Derek Carr is struggling. The usually-reliable QB has hit on just three of his first 11 pass attempts, and he has looked understandably rattled behind the rebuilt offensive line.
The Raiders are allowing pressure and Carr has responded by throwing too quickly, throwing off his back foot or focusing exclusively on his favorite target, tight end Darren Waller. He has already aimed seven passes in Waller's direction--the one time he didn't look Waller's way, the speedy tight end had broken free from the Baltimore secondary for a long gain, but Carr didn't spot him and instead checked down to the running back.
While the Raiders have gained just 76 yards of offense, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson just tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown to put Baltimore up, 14-0. Las Vegas better start moving the ball or this game could get ugly.
Ravens take lead on fourth-down TD
End first quarter: Ravens 7, Raiders 0
The Ravens have struck first, as 12th-string running back Ty'son Williams burst through the line on 4th-and-inches and raced through the secondary untouched for a 35-yard touchdown.
Williams, who is getting the bulk of the carries so far in the absence of injured Baltimore backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, had a huge hole on the right side of the line, and once he was able to puncture the line it was smooth sailing into the end zone. Through one quarter the Ravens are averaging 10.5 yards per carry.
The Raiders' second drive of the game went nowhere, as Derek Carr targeted tight end Darren Waller three times and was incomplete on all three attempts. After Las Vegas punted, the Ravens went 30 yards in five plays to set up Williams' clutch run.
Baltimore has the ball again to start the second quarter, as the Raiders punted quickly after Williams' touchdown. The Las Vegas defense is in a tenuous position; if they can't hold here, the Raiders will be faced with a double-digit deficit.
Raiders and Ravens scoreless early
5:14 first quarter: Raiders 0, Ravens 0
Maybe the Raiders starters could have used some preseason snaps after all?
A botched shotgun snap ruined an opening drive that could have resulted in points for Las Vegas, and midway through the first quarter this game is scoreless.
The opening possession went from promising to disastrous once the Raiders entered scoring range. A holding call on first down pushed the line of scrimmage to the 32, and an incomplete pass intended for Hunter Renfrow put them in a 3rd-and-17 situation. On third down the snap flew past Derek Carr, who had to scramble backward and fall on the loose ball. The Raiders punted on the next play.
One very interesting wrinkle in the early going is Jon Gruden's willingness to utilize backup quarterback Marcus Mariota. Gruden played coy all offseason about using Mariota in tailored packages, but the coach didn't hold back on the opening drive of the season, deploying the dual-threat QB on a 3rd-and-1 option play. Mariota opted to keep the ball, and the result was a 31-yard gain that put Las Vegas on the edge of the red zone. They didn't capitalize on the drive, but Mariota's big-play ability is worth noting.
The rebuilt Raiders defense held after the punt, with Darius Philon recording a sack of Lamar Jackson on third down to force a Ravens punt. Las Vegas will have possession at its 24 after the timeout.
Clelin Ferrell a surprise scratch in Raiders' opener
The Raiders will be without one starter and one key backup in tonight’s Allegiant Stadium debut in front of fans, as the team just released its inactive list.
As expected, guard and captain Richie Incognito will miss the game with an injury. In a bigger surprise, defensive end Clelin Ferrell joins him in missing the game.
Both had been hurt towards the end of training camp but Ferrell returned to practice in full this week. He was expected to rotate in frequently behind Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue.
Another secondary edge-rushing option, rookie Malcolm Koonce, is also inactive. That means the Raiders have only three active defensive ends — Ngakoue, Crosby and Carl Nassib.
They may opt to push defensive tackle Solomon Thomas to the outside for some snaps to spell the trio.
Second-year pro John Simpson will fill in for Incognito. The other Raider inactives are safety Roderic Teamer, quarterback Nathan Peterman and tight end Nick Bowers.
Running back Trey Ragas has been called up from the practice squad, presumably for depth purposes with Josh Jacobs currently ill with a non-COVID related sickness.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com all night for live coverage from Ravens at Raiders and read below for our pregame preview.
The Raiders are desperate to develop a homefield advantage at Allegiant Stadium. Defending the $2 billion venue they colloquially refer to as “the Death Star” has been one of the primary talking points of the offseason. The effort begins in earnest with the first Monday Night Football game of the year against what’s been one of the NFL’s best teams over the last three years. Baltimore hasn’t missed the playoffs since quarterback Lamar Jackson took over behind center in 2018, peaking in 2019 when the quarterback won the MVP award as part of a 14-2 season. The Raiders have only ever encountered Jackson once, in a 34-17 loss on the road on November 25, 2018, where they gave up 249 total yards and two touchdowns to him. After a big victory over the Saints in Allegiant Stadium’s debut last year — where Las Vegas came in as an identical 4.5-point underdog on Monday Night Football —the Raiders lost six of their remaining seven home games, directly leading to a postseason absence.
Favorable matchup: Raider Nation raucousness vs. Ravens’ offense
Homefield advantage has steadily decreased across the NFL until all but bottoming out last year when hosts only outscored visitors by.05 points per game across the entirety of the regular season. There’s a theory that home teams will bounce back in 2021, largely because of the presence of fans after last season was contested mostly without them in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic. The Raiders always had a solid advantage at the Oakland Coliseum behind the strength of the “Black Hole” and the rest of their notoriously rowdy and passionate fan base. They’re confident they can recreate the scene at Allegiant, and there’s no time like now to start with a sellout crowd of 65,000 fans expected for the first time. Crowd noise can be simulated but never quite duplicated in practice, and loudness when the Ravens have the ball could certainly affect them negatively after getting used to a year of games being contested in silent, empty venues.
Problematic matchup: Ravens’ offensive line vs. Raiders’ defensive line
THEY SAID IT
“I still sometimes pinch myself when you’re out there looking at the mountains of Las Vegas, you see the Strip down there and you’re getting ready to play pro football here. It’s really a credit to Mark Davis and a lot of people in this city who made this happen. Vegas is an exciting place and I hope we give them a show that’s worth the price.” -Coach Jon Gruden on going into his first local regular-season game with fans
“I’ve been pissed off all offseason. I’ve been very, very angry. I’ve been at peace, but I’ve been mad at the same time, if that makes sense. I had a lot of people doubting me this offseason and I’m still keeping it going. I’m thankful to be here but that burning desire you’re talking about is on 100 right now.” -Linebacker K.J. Wright on the frustration he felt during free agency before signing with the Raiders
“Dual-threat quarterback — he can throw, he can run, he can do magic tricks apparently.” -Linebacker Cory Littleton on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson
“I’m just looking like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ Miami has (Club) LIV up top (of the stadium) but there’s nothing like this. Club sections all over the place. It’s like, ‘Yo, Monday Night Football is going to be crazy.’ I can only imagine.” -Wide receiver Willie Snead after checking out Allegiant Stadium and the Wynn Field Club in the North end zone
Baltimore has led the NFL in rushing in back-to-back years, and while Jackson draws the lion’s share of the credit, its offensive line has just as much to do with the success. Led by All-Pro and Bishop Gorman High graduate Ronnie Stanley, the Ravens are bullies up front in the run game. They’re expected to be as strong as ever this season despite trading the tackle opposite of Stanley, Orlando Brown, to the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason. It’s a big unknown how a retooled Las Vegas defensive front will fare against Baltimore. The Raiders should be fine if the line — led by expected starters Yannick Ngakoue, Johnathan Hankins, Quinton Jefferson and Maxx Crosby — is as explosive as coaches think it has the potential to be. But it was also assembled with an eye on pressuring quarterbacks more than disrupting run games, meaning this first game will be an ultimate challenge in testing what could be a potential weakness.
Gamebreaker: Tight end Darren Waller
Starting the season with any other choice would be equal parts disrespectful and foolish. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Waller is the unquestioned focal point of the Raiders’ offense after setting a franchise record with 107 receptions last year. There’s a good chance he breaks his own record this year if he stays healthy, and he might get on pace immediately. Out of all receiving targets, the Ravens performed the worst against tight ends last year by Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings. Waller may also relish a chance to play against his former team, as he spent his first three seasons in Baltimore before Las Vegas claimed him off Baltimore’s practice squad late in the 2018 season. It’s proven to be the best move of coach Jon Gruden’s second tenure with the team. Over the last two years with the Raiders, Waller has amassed 197 receptions for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The big number: 941.
That’s how many career tackles the newest Raider, outside linebacker K.J. Wright, has racked up over the course of his 10-year NFL career, all with the Seattle Seahawks. That ranks 101st all-time in the NFL record books, and sixth among active players. Tackles aren’t a statistic that illustrates quality, but compiling as many as Wright has shows his reliability and longevity. On paper, the 31-year-old looks like exactly what the Raiders needed to help turn around their defense. Wright only came to a contract agreement with the Raiders less than two weeks ago but vowed he’d be “ready to go” for the season-opener. He says he’s in the best shape of his career, and he’ll need to be in order to play a key role in containing Jackson from getting loose in the open field.
Best Bet: Bryan Edwards over 38.5 receiving yards -110
Edwards and Zay Jones were the best receivers of training camp, and it wasn’t all that close. With Waller missing an extended stretch of preseason practices to rest, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr seemed to develop a deadly rhythm with both of them. Jones will get some snaps against the Ravens, but Edwards is at the top of the depth chart and could be a go-to option. With that in mind, this yardage number seems a little short. Edwards doesn’t have the big-play ability and isn’t as much of a deep threat as his fellow second-year starter, Henry Ruggs, but that’s advantageous for this matchup. The Ravens rarely give up big plays and are more likely to surrender intermediate routes — the exact type that Carr has been finding Edwards on continually for the last couple months.