Derek Carr finds a wide-open Zay Jones for the #Raiders game-winning score (7.8 yards of separation).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 14, 2021
The #Ravens defense sent 8 pass rushers on the play, only the second time a defense has done so in overtime in the NGS era (since 2016).#BALvsLV | #RaiderNation
An exciting Week 1 in the NFL ended with a thrilling overtime game on Monday night between the Ravens and Raiders. Despite committing a turnover earlier in overtime, Derek Carr's 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones completed the Raiders' 33-27 come-from-behind victory. The score was set up by Carl Nassib's forced and recovered fumble off of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on Baltimore's only possession of overtime.
The visitors enjoyed an early 14-0 lead and took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter. Las Vegas countered with two touchdowns that included Darren Waller's game-tying score with 6:04 left. Jackson's 28-yard run set up Justin Tucker's 47-yard go-ahead field goal with 42 seconds left, but Carr's two completions to Bryan Edwards set up Daniel Carlson's 55-yard, game-tying field goal with two seconds left to force overtime.
Las Vegas appeared destined for a win after Carr connected with Edwards on a 33-yard completion. But after a penalty moved the Raiders back to the 6-yard-line, Carr's third-down pass was deflected and intercepted by Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett. The Raiders gave the ball back to their offense moments later, however, as Las Vegas won their first game in front of fans inside Allegiant Stadium.
Here are some immediate takeaways from Monday's wild Raiders victory:
Why the Raiders won
The one undeniable reason: They never quit, even as Monday's prime-time affair became more and more like a circus as time wore on. Let's start with Derek Carr: He was inaccurate -- almost recklessly so -- for at least half of regulation, only to keep coming back with fade-away floaters to the tune of 435 total yards and an easy game-winning overtime touchdown. Darren Waller and Bryan Edwards offered a lot of help, with the former feasting like his reliable self and the latter coming out of nowhere in the fourth quarter to out-muscle Baltimore's secondary. On defense, Las Vegas was similarly resilient, forcing a pair of Lamar Jackson fumbles with the feisty Maxx Crosby as the headliner. Jon Gruden made some questionable calls throughout, but one thing's for sure: His guys battled, and they delivered maybe the most entertaining victory the first real Vegas crowd could've asked for.
Why the Ravens lost
It comes down to a lot of things, but chiefly, the blame lies with Lamar Jackson. Why? Because as dynamic as the QB was with his legs, leading Baltimore's makeshift ground game with 86 yards and a handful of signature eyebrow-raising first downs, his two fumbles really afforded Vegas new life. One was more egregious than the other, with Jackson trying a bit too hard to extend a play on the move, but on a night when the Raiders never fell too far behind, ball security was a must. Jackson's wideouts actually popped a bit, with Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins logging big plays, but he wasn't always efficient through the air, either. On defense, Baltimore got after Derek Carr regularly but never had an answer for Waller, and Marcus Peters' absence at corner was more obvious down the stretch, with Edwards and then Zay Jones exposing the secondary on deep catches.
Goodness, does the entire second half count? This was wildly back-and-forth for the home stretch, but a couple of plays stand out: Daniel Carlson nailing a 55-yard field goal with seconds left in regulation to ensure overtime; Carr hitting Edwards on a 33-yard would-be TD to end the game in OT, only to have the score reversed by replay; a false start pushing the Raiders back to the 5-yard line on first-and-goal, with Carr then getting picked off in the end zone on a tipped pass to Willie Snead; and Jackson getting strip-sacked by Carl Nassib on the ensuing drive. You tell us which one actually swung momentum!
Play of the game
Let's go with Carr's dime to Edwards that originally appeared to end the game. It didn't count as a TD upon further review, and ultimately, Vegas would have to make another defensive stop before putting the "W" in the bag. But this improbable heave is representative of the entire game, not to mention Edwards' sudden emergence in crunch time:
The Ravens (0-1) will be back in prime time in Week 2, when they host the reigning AFC champion Chiefs (1-0), who edged the Browns in Week 1. The Raiders (1-0), meanwhile, will hit the road to take on the Steelers (1-0), who upset the Bills in their opener.