The Las Vegas Raiders secured their 33-27 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the most dramatic fashion possible.
After both teams made costly mistakes to give the other a chance to win, quarterback Derek Carr finally put the nail in the coffin with a game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Zay Jones. Although the offense managed to seal the deal, it was the defense that helped them secure redemption.
Much was said this offseason about the Raiders’ efforts to improve their defense going into the 2021 NFL season. However, Carr made sure to point out that the defense deserves some praise for how they performed.
“Yeah, especially with a ball that bounced 30 feet in the air, like holy crap, like not like this, you know what I mean,” Carr said. “It’s like gosh I got to listen to Josh after this…no I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. Look Josh already has something ready (laughing.) Josh I’m going hug you if it’s allowed. I’ll say this, that for 12 months, probably longer, definitely probably longer since I’ve been here, we harp on the defense so much. You hear this, you hear that. I’ve seen a lot of coordinators come in, come out. For them, to make the play at the end to win the game to give us a chance, chance after chance, after chance. Just to go back to the fourth quarter. The stops, you know the fumble. Boom we go down, you know the fumble at the end, boom we get the ball back two plays later, game. You know like all the…I hope someone just please just someone praise the defense, you know…they deserve it. Were they perfect No. Were we perfect on offense? No. But we won as a team and hopefully they get a lot of recognition this week because they deserve it man. They’ve been through a lot. Coach Gus Bradley and their staff deserve a lot of credit.”
It is no secret that the Raiders had emphasized filling up the notable voids on this side of the ball. Regardless, many projected that new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley would still have his work cut out trying to bring this group up to speed.
Although the defense is still a work in progress -like anything else this early in the season- it is encouraging to see they are showing signs of improvement where it matters most. Their ability to make plays at crucial moments will surely pay major dividends for Carr and the offense.
The uptick in opportunities may be something the Raiders’ offense will have to get used to this year. It is safe to say that Carr will continue giving credit where it is due.