The Las Vegas Raiders were on the cusp of handing the winless New York Jets their first victory of the 2020 NFL season in Week 13.
The Jets managed to strike first with quarterback Sam Darnold finding wide receiver Jamison Crowder in the end zone in the first quarter. Meanwhile, things got off to a rough start for the Raiders’ offense after quarterback Derek Carr’s pass tipped off the hands of wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and was picked off by cornerback Arthur Maulet.
Fortunately, the defense proved to be more than up to the task by forcing a three-and-out and this provided a much-needed spark for the offense as they responded with a seven-play, 79-yard touchdown drive capped by tight end Darren Waller.
New York wasted no time trading punches with Las Vegas, responding with a 69-yard drive of their own that once again saw Darnold find Crowder in the end zone that was followed by a missed extra point from Sergio Castillo.
Defensive end Clelin Ferrell was able to make his presence felt in his return from the Reserve/COVID-19 list with the first of his two strip-sacks on Darnold. Las Vegas would keep this momentum going in the second half by opening up with a 13-play drive to go up 24-13.
However, this point in the game would mark a near-epic collapse from the Raiders on both sides of the ball. Following a couple of stalled drives from each team, the Jets managed to come within striking distance with a touchdown run from Darnold that was followed by a successful two-point conversion to make it a one-score game.
A costly fumble by Ruggs on the following drive then allowed New York to take a 28-24 lead with five minutes left in the game. With the offense stalling out on a 14-play drive, the defense took it upon themselves to force a three-and-out to give them one more chance.
It proved to be the deciding factor as Carr took advantage of an all-out blitz to give Ruggs a chance at redemption with a 46-yard, game-winning touchdown to secure a thrilling 31-28 victory.
While it was good to see Ruggs redeem himself by hauling it the game-winner, it was really Waller that dominated the game to the tune of 13 receptions for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns in what was a career day for the tight end.