It was maybe a closer game than Las Vegas Raiders fans would have preferred to see, but at the end of the day, the Silver and Black were able to walk out of Carolina with a win to open the season, 34-30.
There were encouraging signs to take away from the game, but there were also points of improvement that the Raiders will have to work on moving forward.
We’ll get into all of that as we look at the main takeaways from the Raiders win against the Panthers.
· Josh Jacobs will no doubt be the focal point on offense
There was a key stat from last season that the Raiders were 7-1 when rushing for at least one touchdown. Well, Josh Jacobs checked that off early as he scored the first touchdown of the game rushing and finished with three TDs on the ground.
We knew that Coach Jon Gruden wants to run the ball, but there shouldn’t be any doubt now after getting 29 touches that Jacobs will be the man in this offense. His play will likely serve as a barometer for the Raiders' success. The better it is, the more they’ll win. If not, there could be some struggles.
· Offense as a whole flowed well
Jacobs wasn’t the only one who produced offensively. The Raiders had a balanced effort for the whole game pretty much. Derek Carr was his normally efficient self, completing 73.3 percent of his passes for 239 yards and one pinpoint 23-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor.
The ball was spread around well, with nine different receivers having at least one catch. The effort was even more impressive considering that the Raiders lost both starting right tackle Trent Brown and his backup Sam Young to injuries during the game.
Most importantly though, they didn’t waste drives. After not scoring on the opening drive of the game, the Raiders scored on their next five possessions. They were able to get points frequently, and mainly with touchdowns, having to only take and make two field goals.
· Defense has struggled but holds serve at the end
I talked going into the game about the match-up between the Raiders' young secondary versus the Panthers' receivers, and for some stretches, they were able to hold their own.
There were bad breakdowns though, specifically in the fourth quarter when Robby Anderson got loose for a 75-yard touchdown catch. Along with not recording an interception and only getting one sack, there’s still improvement to be had.
The Raiders made a stop when it mattered most though, holding Panthers fullback Alex Armah to no gain on a 4 and 1 with 1:23 left. It shows they have the mentality, they just need to keep working on the execution.
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