The Raiders went to Vegas Monday night and won big.
Spotting the New Orleans Saints an early 10-point lead, the Raiders played keepaway on offense and made enough key plays on defense for a 34-24 win in the first game in the history of Allegiant Stadium.
Quarterback Derek Carr completed 28 of 38 passes for 282 yards and touchdowns of 3 yards to Alec Ingold, 15 yards to Zay Jones and 1 yard to Darren Waller. Jalen Richard had a 20-yard touchdown run on third-and-10 with 7:43 to go, and Daniel Carlson added field goals of 28 and 54 yards, the latter coming with 1:08 to play.
Carr threw a lot to tight end Darren Waller and a little to everyone else, completing passes to 10 different receivers. Waller was targeted 16 times and caught 12 for 103 yards, while no other receiver had three passes thrown in his direction.
Josh Jacobs carried 27 times for 87 yards against a New Orleans defense that was bent on stopping him.
The Raiders converted so many third downs (10 of 16) they dominated time of possession and kept New Orleans off the field. They scored on six of their last seven possesions.
It was a statment game for the Raiders, given it came against an opponent that was 37-11 over the last three years and came in as 5 ½ point favorites in their new home.
New Orleans led 10-0 and 17-7 before the Raiders kicked in to gear. The Saints scored on a 1-yard run by Alvin Kamara and a 6-yard pass from Drew Brees to Jared Cook.
After the Raiders had gone up 31-17, Brees took New Orleans 67 yards in eight plays with Kamara scoring from the 3 with 4:33 to play. Brees was 23 of 33 for 263 yards.
The Saints committed 10 pendalties for 129 yards to three for 13 yards for the Raiders.
Highs, lows and all you need to know on the Raiders’ debut in Las Vegas:
— Redemption: Having fumbled earlier on a potentially game-turning play, Richard got took a third-and-10 pitch from the 20, got blocks from right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Denzelle Good and raced in for the touchdown.
— Richard’s fumble: With the Raiders controlling the clock and churning out first downs, Jalen Richard lost a basic pitch — running before he secured the ball — on a third-and-2 carry from the Saints 34-yard line. A.J. Williams fell on the gift, the Raiders first turnover of the season. It was a potential big gain, and instead it was a turnover after 17 unanswered points.
At that point, the Raiders had converted 8 of 13 third downs.
— The big stop: The Raiders were getting gouged in terms of yardage, but following Richard’s fumble they came up huge.
New Orleans didn’t score and was forced to punt as Brees missed open receivers and the Raiders put just enough pressure on him to make him uncomfortable.
—- Black Jack redux: Last time the Raiders played the Saints, they went for a win on a two-point conversion pass by order of Jack Del Rio rather than a tie. Carr hit Michael Crabtree for a 35-34 win.
Gruden took a fourth-down gamble on the first possession of the second half, going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the 1 after two harrowing plays — a lost ball that Jacobs recovered and fumbled snap by Carr that the Raiders recovered. Carr play-faked, rolled to his right and hit Waller for a 1-yard touchdown and a 24-17 lead.
— Jones breaks through: Jones spent time before training camp settling in the Las Vegas area and running routes with Carr. Called one of the most improved Raiders by Gruden, Jones didn’t catch a pass in the opener but his 15-yard scoring grab with 1:55 left in the half brought the Raiders within 17-14.
Spreading it around: Carr, who completed passes to nine different receivers in Week 1, connected to nine by halftime against New Orleans. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
— Morrow’s big play: The Raiders went in to halftime tied 17-17 courtesy of the first Allegiant takeaway, courtesy of linebacker Nicholas Morrow.
Morrow, taking the role of defensive signal caller in place of the injured Nick Kwiatkoski, settled into a zone and Brees threw the ball directly to him with 55 seconds left. Morrow returned the gift six yards to the Saints 40-yard line.
Carr for the Raiders as far 9-yard line but couldn’t connect with Jones on third-and-2 from the 9 with four seconds left. Daniel Carlson kicked a 28-yard field goal to tie the score 17-17.
— Ingold does the honors: On first-and-goal from the 3 in the second quarter, Ingold capped a 63-yard scoring drive with a touchdown reception from Carr on first and goal. It was the first Raiders score at Allegiant. The drive took 6:18 off the clock and closed the Raiders to within 10-7.
— Incognito out: Left guard Richie Incognito, who has been nursing an Achilles’ injury, was wearing a ball cap during the Raiders first scoring drive.
His replacement? John Simpson, a rookie from Clemson and a fourth-round draft pick.
— Lutz is good: The first points in the history of Allegiant Stadium came from Lutz, the Saints field goal kicker. New Orleans went 62 yards in 11 plays on its opening drive before Erik Harris broke up a third-down pass intended for Tra’Quan Smith with a big hit on third down.
— Brown out: Right tackle Trent Brown, listed as doubtful with a calf injury, was inactive. It’s the sixth game Brown has missed since signing a four-year, $66 million contract before the 2019 season. Brown has also played in three games in which he left before he got to 10 snaps, including last week’s 34-30 win over Carolina in which he left after three plays.
During the ESPN broadcast, play-by-play announcer Steve Levy said Brown has injuries to both calves. The broadcast team participates in production meetings with coaches in the days before a game.
Also inactive was linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral), swing tackle Sam Young (groin), cornerback Amik Robertson, wide receiver Rico Gafford, and defensive tackle Daniel Ross.
Lineabacker Javin Ross, promoted from the practice squad, suited up and played on special teams.
— Lighting the torch: Carol Davis, the wife of Al Davis and mother of Mark Davis, lit the new 85-foot torch before kickoff in honor of the late Raiders owner.
Mark Davis made good on his promise to not attend. He said he won’t go to a game at Allegiant until there’s a sold-out crowd in the stands.
— Fancy footwear: Jacobs wore a pair of custom cleats which had an image of Al Davis with the inscription “Just Win Baby” on one side and the message “Thank you Oakland” on the other. The thank you had a background illustration of the Oakland waterfront.
©2020 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)