Spoiler alert, in case you didn’t catch the NFL game last night. In Monday Night Football, the Las Vegas Raiders won defeated the New Orleans Saints, 34-24, in their home opener.
It was the first time the Raiders welcomed a team to their new Allegiant Stadium and quarterback Derek Carr and the rest of the crew gave an outstanding performance against a team that is considered a Super Bowl contender.
Raiders Break In Allegiant Stadium
The Raiders are lucky enough to have a nickname that distinguishes them, and their new stadium stands out as something impressive. Carr and the Raiders gave an amazing game on both sides of the ball heading to their victory, as the QB threw three touchdowns and went 28 for 38, picking up 282 yards in the air with no picks. Carr’s performance gave him an impressive rating of 120.7.
The Saints got off to a good start, but quickly fell apart. They put ten points on the board without any response by the Raiders, and, if fans had been allowed at Allegiant Stadium, there would have been a loud hush in the crowd. After his, though, New Orleans couldn’t find a decent rhythm and Drew Brees started to have trouble. In the second quarter, up 17-7, Brees threw an uncharacteristic interception that seemed to turn the tides for the rest of the game.
That interception, after coming to within three, allowed the Raiders to tie the score at 17 heading into halftime. It was a message the team was sending, and which would continue well into the second half – the Raiders were on a mission and were determined to win. Las Vegas successfully converted a couple of key fourth-down plays, including one into the end zone, and there was no doubt that the team was ready to fulfill its mission.
When The Saints Go Marching Out
The Saints couldn’t find their offense when the teams returned to the field, and the Raiders quickly took advantage of repeated mistakes to keep them out of the end zone. Las Vegas had one unanswered score after another, four to be exact, and it wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter that the Saints would threaten to tie the score. Alvin Kamara did everything he could to keep his team alive, scoring his second touchdown to take the Saints to within seven.
With the score now at 31-24, there wasn’t much time left for the Saints to mount a comeback, and attempts at stopping the Raiders failed. A pass interference call with time running out moved Las Vegas a little closer to the end zone, but the team was still sitting at midfield. With the game already locked up, they did what anyone would do and gave kicker Daniel Carlson a chance to shine.
Carlson Takes Center Field
Carlson was last week’s AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, thanks, in part, to a 54-yard field goal that was his longest ever in the NFL. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, the Raiders set him up between the hashes yesterday and he knocked another one through the goal posts – also from 54 yards. This ensured the Raiders victory, as well as Carlson’s place in the Raiders starting lineup.
The Saints played sloppy and had too many penalties – 100 more lost yards than the Raiders recorded. Some of the flags were definitely questionable (not uncommon to see when the Saints are on the field), but several were due to simple, avoidable mistakes. There were too many issues and the Saints know they screwed up.
At least the Raiders broke in Allegiant Field in style and all the sports gambling fans who went for the underdog came out on top. The Raiders are now 2-0 on the season, while the Saints, after showing superiority against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, slip to 1-1. This isn’t what Brees had in mind when he said he wanted to stand out from the rest of the pack this season.