Despite the fourth quarter getting dicey, the Las Vegas Raiders recorded their first-ever with that name, defeating the Carolina Panthers 34-30. Before diving into stats, it needs highlighting that the Raiders scored 34 points in a game. Excuses and negativity arise due to the Panthers’ defense not exactly being top-tier, but 34 points matter.
The Raiders received scrutiny from their lack of consistency on either side of halftime. . Sunday against the Panthers was no different, as the Raiders looked to be getting creative and starting to expand their offense in the first half but quickly appeared increasingly conservative in the second half of the game. Carr went from throwing 40-yard deep balls to Henry Ruggs to throwing significantly behind the first down marker. Strangely enough, it appeared Carr was not the key influence on the dialed-back pass distances, but that the plays were intended to be kept short.
On the positive side, Carr would throw for 239 yards and a touchdown (Agholor), completing 22 of his 30 passes. Henry Ruggs, Josh Jacobs, and Darren Waller led the Raiders with 55, 46, and 45 receiving yards, respectively. Adding to his 46 receiving yards, Jacobs added 93 rushing yards and three touchdowns, outperforming one of the league’s most feared running backs, Christian McCaffery. While the 93 rush yards and three touchdowns are incredibly impressive, Jacobs’ game today was his 4/46 receiving stat line. Jacobs did not join the Raiders as a pass catcher, but after stating his goal to improve as a receiver this offseason, he has certainly followed through.
Watching Henry Ruggs tear apart the Panthers’ secondary was an incredibly promising sight. Ruggs would sustain a minor leg injury but would return to the game. However, Ruggs’ fellow rookie wide receiver, Bryan Edwards, did not have as impressive of a game. Edwards caught one pass for nine yards just as the Raiders decided to take their foot off the gas. In fact, Edwards had as many catches as Jason Witten this Sunday. It is understandable that Carr wanted to synchronize with Ruggs but Edwards can significantly help this team, especially with Tyrell Williams out. Regardless of the level of aggressiveness of the playcalling, the Raiders’ offense ran quite smoothly and efficiently, slowly chipping away at the field and wearing out the Panthers.
Fumbling, but Recovering
The Raiders took their foot off the gas, and blew a 12-point lead in the second half. Yet, the Silver and Black held on. A common thought surrounding the sketchy outcome is that the Raiders may have been trying to keep their bigger, more successful plays a secret from next week’s opponent, the New Orleans Saints. The one thing the Raiders did not keep a secret this week is how talented Josh Jacobs is. With three rushing touchdowns and almost 140 total yards, in Week 1, the precedent has been set.