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Last Updated: 22/09/20 6:29am
Las Vegas Raiders began life in their new Allegiant Stadium with a hugely impressive 34-24 win over New Orleans.
Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes and the Raiders gave their fans in Las Vegas plenty to celebrate even if they were not allowed in the stadium on Monday night.
The $2billion venue in the desert had to hold its first event following the Raiders move from Oakland without fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stadium was christened by The Killers, who played a half-time show to a near-deserted facility that would usually play host to 65,000.
But on the field, Las Vegas overcame an early 10-point deficit to improve to a perfect 2-0 start for just the fourth time in the last 25 seasons, while inflicting a first defeat of the new campaign on New Orleans.
Carol Davis, the widow of former Raiders coach and owner Al Davis, lit the ceremonial torch in honour of her husband before the game. Her son, Mark, who runs the team, has said he will not attend games until fans are allowed in.
Quarterback Carr was in complete control for most of the night, completing 28 of 38 passes for 282 yards and engineering four straight scoring drives in the second and third quarters to turn a 10-0 deficit into a 24-17 lead.
Picking apart the New Orleans defense with short passes, the Raiders controlled the clock and kept Drew Brees and the Saints off the field. Las Vegas converted 10 of 17 third downs and also went for it successfully twice on fourth down.
Darren Waller caught 12 of the passes for 103 yards as Carr’s most trusted option, while the Raiders even survived a fumbled pitch by Jalen Richard by stopping the Saints and then scoring on the ensuing drive on a 20-yard run by Richard.
Las Vegas were not without their moments, surviving on third down from the 1 when Carr fumbled a snap. Alec Ingold recovered for Las Vegas and Carr threw a 1-yard TD to Waller on fourth down to give the Raiders their first lead of the game at 24-17.
- Raiders stats: Derek Carr, 28/38, 282 yards, 3 TD
- Rushing leader: Josh Jacobs, 27 carries, 88 yards
- Receiving leader: Darren Wallker, 12 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD
After being cut apart on the ground early, the Raiders did a good job against Brees, who struggled without his injured No 1 receiver Michael Thomas – the All Pro is currently ‘week-to-week’ as he deals with a high ankle sprain. Brees went 26 for 38 for 312 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The Saints did cut the deficit to 31-24 on Alvin Kamara’s second TD run minutes after Jalen Richard’s score had taken Las Vegas 14 points with just over eight minutes remaining.
In the end, though, the Raiders were on hand to take advantage of a pass interference call against Janoris Jenkins and then iced the game with a 54-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson.
- Saints stats: Drew Brees, 26/38, 312 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Rushing leader: Alvin Kamara, 9 carries, 95 yards
- Receiving leader: Alvin Kamara, nine catches, 79 yards, 2 TDs
The Raiders first game in Las Vegas didn’t get off to a great start with the Saints driving for scores on their first two drives to take a 10-0 lead on Kamara’s first TD run. The Raiders punted on their first two drives before Carr and the offense got going in the second quarter.
Carr went 14 for 18 for 139 yards in the quarter, throwing a 3-yard TD pass to Ingold and a perfectly placed 15-yarder to Zay Jones. The TD was capped by Jones gathering his teammates and pretending to give them all hand sanitizer.
Nicholas Morrow then intercepted Brees late in the half, setting up Daniel Carlsons 28-yard field goal that made it 17-17.
On a weekend that had featured a host of high-profile injuries, both teams managed to get through the game unscathed after fears of a serious Achilles injury to Raiders guard Richie Incognito were allayed.
New Orleans, who host Green Bay (2-0) in a high profile Sunday Night Football clash this weekend, had guard Andrus Peat leave the field late on with an undisclosed injury.
Las Vegas are on the road as they take their perfect record to New England to face the Patriots.
Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas… the Raiders
One of the NFL’s most storied franchises began life in a new home in a new city in a new state on Monday night. With the help of The Athletic‘s Vic Tafur, here’s how the two came together.
As sports betting has become legal in the US and the Las Vegas Golden Knights have settled into life as a professional sports team in the desert, even reaching ice hockey’s Stanley Cup, it has seemed inevitable that football would follow.
Injuries bite hard as Week Two takes it’s toll
New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley suffered what is feared to be a season-ending ACL tear in the second quarter of the 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Injuries wreaked havoc generally around the NFL on Sunday night, with San Francisco 49ers suffering four of them as they rallied to beat the New York Jets 31-13.
Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game that 2019 defensive rookie of the year Nick Bosa and fellow defensive end Solomon Thomas both likely have ACL tears, while quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and running back Raheem Mostert (knee) both sat out the second half with injuries
Further notable injuries suffered on Sunday included Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams and Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, among others.
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Source : Sky Sports