Darin Alexander Baydoun
The Las Vegas Raiders picked up an early season-defining win on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints.
Putting my own prediction to shame, the Raiders were able to rebound from a slow start in the first quarter and outplay the Saints for the rest of the game.
Derek Carr looked more and more like the Hall of Fame quarterback that was opposing him, completing nearly 74 percent of his passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns.
It was needed, as the Saints front seven was able to slow down running back Josh Jacobs, who averaged only 3.3 yards a carry.
Injuries didn’t help either, as the Raiders were without their top two right tackles, and guard Richie Incognito had to leave the game late because of an injury.
In his place, other Raiders stepped up, including Darren Waller. Targeted 16 times and finishing with 12 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, Waller was arguably the best player on the field.
It wasn’t only the Raiders offense that showed well. The team was able to get contributions from all facets, including a defense that showed a lot of growth.
It’s encouraging to see, since at first New Orleans was having its way with the Raiders defense. The Saints ran it often early with Alvin Kamara and the Raiders were unable to corral him.
Once the first quarter was over, things shifted. While his final stat line would say otherwise, Drew Brees once again didn’t look like his normally precise self.
Several passes that it would seem he could complete in his sleep were off target throughout the game, none more evident than the interception he threw to linebacker Nicholas Morrow that set up a Raiders field goal.
Speaking of Morrow, he was able to fulfill his X-factor potential by recording that key interception and tying a team-high with seven tackles.
He was part of a Raiders D that improved well enough as the game went along to allow the offense to score 24 unanswered points.
Daniel Carlson once again was perfect on all field goals and extra points, including a game-clinching 54-yarder with 1:05 left.
Also, a positive to note, the Raiders for the second straight week played very clean football.
They did have one turnover, a fumble early in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t end up hurting them.
Penalties didn’t hurt either, as the Raiders only had three for 13 yards compared to the Saints having 10 for 129.
It all added up to a great signature win that coach Jon Gruden and his team can hang their hats on as they continue through the season.
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