Game Thread: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr.
The Las Vegas Raiders (0-0) kick off the 2020 season today, entering the Carolina Panthers' lair looking to open with an East Coast win on the road.
The casinos have this game as a Raiders win. To be laying points when you are a West Coast team going to the East Coast is a big deal. The Raiders can, and I believe, will send a major statement with a road win today.
Here are several critical points to this game:
· How does the rookie tandem of receivers in Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs perform under the NFL's bright lights as rookies?
· How far has Josh Jacobs come in catching the ball out of the backfield?
· How does the revamped Las Vegas Raiders defense come together with a fresh new mix of veterans and young players?
· How do the Raiders adjust to an empty stadium? Most of the players from both teams haven't played a real game with no fans?
· How can I see or listen to the game?
Venue: Bank of America Stadium
Kick-Off: 10:00 a.m. PDT/1:00 p.m. EDT
Radio: Raider Nation Radio 920 AM
Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven publisher Hondo Carpenter and Hikaru Kudo will keep you updated with the latest analysis, highlights, and plenty more in this official game thread.
Please keep refreshing the page and make sure you comment below. Our long wait is over. Are you ready for some football?
We are only one hour and forty minutes away from kickoff.
We're 30 minutes away from kickoff.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing the Keys," by Alicia Keys is played to promote unity in the NFL.
Today's Inactives for the Silver and Black.
We're under 15 mins until kickoff!
Safety Erik Harris is getting pumped for the game. Five minutes until kickoff.
Raiders stand, linking arms for the national anthem. Trent Brown is the lone player not to link arms. He is standing alone behind the rest of the team.
A couple of Panthers are seen with hands raised or kneeling during the national anthem. Coin toss in a moment.
COIN TOSS: Panthers win the toss. They defer the ball. Raiders will start with the ball.
GAME START TIME: 10:04 AM PDT
SCORING UPDATE #1: 10:11 AM PDT - Panthers placekicker Joey Slye makes a 47-yard field goal. Carolina leads 3-0. 10:02 left in the first quarter.
UPDATE 10:15 AM PDT - Tackle Trent Brown is seen on the sidelines being worked by the medics. It looks like there are stretching is hamstrings.
SCORING UPDATE #2: 10:19 AM PDT - A 45-yard catch by wide receiver Henry Ruggs III sets up running back Josh Jacobs for a one-yard rush for a touchdown. Daniel Carlson's PAT is good. Raiders lead 7-3.
Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson walks off the field with medics after the touchdown.
INJURY UPDATE: 10:24 AM PDT - Tackle Trent Brown with a calf injury is questionable to return. Tackle Sam Young replaces Brown.
SCORING UPDATE #3: 10:30 AM PDT - Running back Christian McCaffery rushes up the middle for a six-yard touchdown. PAT is NO GOOD. Panthers lead 9-7. Less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: 10:35 AM PDT - Panthers lead 9-7. Carolina has a total of 90 offensive yards compared to the Raiders 80.
INJURY UPDATE: 10:39 AM PDT - Tackle Trent Brown is ruled out. Tackle Sam Young will take over Brown's duties for the rest of the game.
SCORING UPDATE #4: 10:48 AM PDT - Tight End Jason Witten is 10 yards short of the endzone on third down. Carlson drills a 20-yard field goal down the middle. Raiders retake the lead, 10-9. 8:13 left in the first half.
A #ThirdandRenfrow set up the field goal. Wide Receiver Hunter Renfrow went off for a couple of plays, a 10-yard gain followed by an 11-yard gain.
PENALTY UPDATE: 10:55 AM PDT - Pass Interference called on linebacker Nicholas Morrow. First down Panthers.
SCORING UPDATE #5: 10:58 AM PDT - Couple of miscommunicated plays by Bridgewater and co. sets up a 46-yard field goal for Slye. Panthers lead 12-10. 5:03 left in the first half.
UPDATE - 11:05 AM PDT - Ruggs is seen walking off the field. He is sitting on a seat and talking to his medics.
TWO-MINUTE WARNING: Panthers currently lead the Raiders 12-10. Silver and Black maintain possession on the Carolina 23-yard line.
SCORING UPDATE #6: Derek Carr airs one out to wide receiver Nelson Agholor for a 23-yard touchdown. PAT is GOOD. Raiders are up 17-12 with 1:54 left in the first half.
INJURY UPDATE - 11:13 PM PDT- Wide Receiver Henry Ruggs III is seen gingerly walking back to the locker room. Ruggs caught three passes for 55 yards and two carries for 11 yards.
SCORING UPDATE #7: 11:23 PDT - Panthers Slye kicks a 31-yard field goal with time running out. Raiders lead 17-15 at halftime.
It was a rocky start for the Silver and Black.
The Raiders start the first drive with a three and out. Early on, the Raiders were able to shut the Panthers run game down the defensive line and in the short field. The secondary, however, is struggling with safety Erik Harris allowing wide receiver Curtis Samuel for an 18-yard gain.
The second drive was off to a better start as Darren Waller was quickly isolated with a couple of quick gains.
Pretty much every second down has been given to running back Josh Jacobs. Following the game plan. The blocks are there on the line from Nelson Agholor and Rodney Hudson for Jacobs and he’s tiptoeing around the field. Jacobs had 11 carries for 56 rushing yards in the first half.
Later on, a major 45-yard gain for Henry Ruggs III, his first catch in the NFL, sets up running back Josh Jacobs for a one-yard touchdown. Ruggs delivers as advertised.
However, before the end of the half, Ruggs gingerly walked off the field and into the locker room. A major loss for the Silver and Black. He may have injured his ankle, but no reports confirm this observation.
Wide Receiver Hunter Renfrow had a brief high point in the first half, with a 10-yard reception followed by an immediate 11-yard reception set up a field goal for the Raiders, retaking the lead in the second.
In the first half, Carr targeted six players, for a total of 141 yards and one touchdown.
The biggest struggle has been defending the throws made by Bridgewater. The Raiders allowed 119 yards compared to the 62 rushing yards the Panthers had in the first half. The Silver and Black after reorganizing, perhaps adjusting to a zone defense if needed.
The issue is pressuring Bridgewater isn’t enough. Just look at the when wide Receiver D.J. Moore for a 16-yard gain in the first quarter. The Raiders can pressure the quarterback, such as defensive tackle Maxx Crosby getting a hand on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the said play. However, the secondary collapses and results in a 16-yard gain.
The other primary issue is the fact that Bridgewater is versatile and better shape than expected. He can leave the pocket. When the defensive line is attacking full force, without a quarterback spy, Bridgewater has the entire field to use. If everyone is marked down the field, he’ll leave the pocket and slide for an easy five yards.
By far, the biggest threat for the Raiders is both running back Christian McCaffery and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Both need to be shut down and the fact that Bridgewater can rush, albeit slow, is a threat such as when he picked up 13 yards for a first down after the Raiders defense collapsed.
In addition, the last drive from the Panthers showed how much the Raiders defense struggles in a hurry-up situation. While safety Lamarcus Joyner nearly got an interception after reading Bridgewater’s pass, the Panthers were quickly able to organize things and work down the field.
The Raiders need to dig their ankles in during a hurry-up drive form the Panthers and must shut down both Bridgewater’s options, including his own rushing, as well as running back McCaffery’s open pockets on the defensive line if the Silver and Black want to get the win.
SECOND HALF - Panthers start with the ball
PENALTY ON THE KICKOFF RETURN - Panthers illegal double team block.
INJURY UPDATE: 11:40 AM PDT - Wide Receiver Henry Ruggs III is questionable to return with a knee injury.
UPDATE: 11:41 AM PDT - 12:42 left in the third quarter - Renfrow returns the ball for 27 yards. The ball is placed at the Las Vegas 49-yard line. First down Raiders.
PENALTY: 11:46 AM PDT - Intentional grounding called against Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. The ball is placed on the 50-yard line.
INJURY UPDATE: Wide Receiver Henry Ruggs III has returned to the field.
SCORING UPDATE #8: Placekicker Daniel Carlson drills a 54-yard field goal for the Silver and Black. Raiders extend the lead. Las Vegas up 20-15. 9:38 to go in the third quarter.
PENALTY UPDATE: Offensive holding is called on Panthers guard Micheal Schofield. Bridgewater is sacked by Nassib and Hurst for a 10-yard loss. The holding penalty is declined.
PENALTY UPDATE: 11:56 AM PDT - 9:04 left in the third quarter - Unsportsmanlike Conduct is called on running back Trenton Cannon. The 15-yard penalty is applied at the end of the play. Raiders will get the ball at their own 36 yard-line.
PENALTY UPDATE: 12:02 AM PDT - 6:54 left in the third quarter - Panthers linebacker Tahir Whitehead commits a pass interference penalty. The ball is placed at the Carolina 16-yard line. First down Raiders.
SCORING UPDATE #9 - 12:04 AM PDT - 5:29 left in the quarter - Running back Josh Jacobs rushes for a seven-yard touchdown and his second touchdown of the day. PAT is GOOD. The touchdown was set up by great blocks by center Rodney Hudson and guard Richie Incognito. Raiders lead 27-15.
PENALTY UPDATE: 12:15 AM PDT - :04 left in the third quarter - Panthers D.J. Moore is called for unsportsmanlike conduct: Taunting. 15 yard-penalty on Carolina. Second and 26 from the Raiders 40.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Raiders lead 27-15. Raiders have scored three touchdowns compared to the Panthers one.
INJURY UPDATE: 12:18 AM PDT - Lineback Nick Kwitkoski has been ruled out with a pec injury.
SCORING UPDATE #10: Panthers running back Christian McCaffery rushes three-yards for a touchdown. His second of the game. PAT is GOOD. Raiders lead 27-22. 12:32 remaining in the game.
SCORING UPDATE #11: Safety Erik Harris commits a holding penalty while wide receiver Robbie Anderson catches a 75-yard touchdown pass by Bridgewater. Panthers go for a two-point conversion, which is converted by Anderson. Panthers lead 30-27 with 8:29 left to go in the game.
PENALTY UPDATE: 12:44 PM PDT - Pass Interference called against Carolina's Tahir Whitehead. The ball is placed on the Carolina 35-yard line.
SCORING UPDATE #12: Running back Josh Jacobs rushes for his third touchdown of the day. Wide Receiver Bryan Edwards had a nice block to open up just enough space for Jacobs to rush for the six-yard touchdown. PAT is GOOD. Raiders lead 34-30. 4:08 left to go in the fourth.
TWO MINUTE WARNING - Panthers have the ball on the Las Vegas 49-yard line. It'll be 3rd and 4 for Carolina coming back from the break.
TURNOVER: 1:22 left in the game - Defensive end Clelin Ferrell and linebacker Raekwon McMillian share to stop the Panthers on fourth down. Raiders get the ball on downs.
FINAL: Raiders win 34-30. The Las Vegas Raiders get their first win with a new identity. Las Vegas is 1-0 on the season.
Stay tuned right here on Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven as we bring you the latest news on all things Raiders.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below and please make sure you like our Facebook Page WHEN YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE.
Want the latest breaking Las Vegas Raiders news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Raiders Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE FOLLOW button on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates for your Las Vegas Raiders when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter