Raiders power past Saints in Allegiant Stadium debut
LAS VEGAS -- The Saints had high hopes of spoiling the home opener for the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium, but it never happened. It was a night riddled with penalties for New Orleans, mixed in with some bad play on both sides of the ball. In the end, the team showed big signs of struggling and couldn't stop the bleeding.
The Saints started with the ball after losing the coin toss, and came out pretty strong as opposed to how they started in Week 1. The running game looked smooth on their opening drive, as several big plays were made. However, New Orleans would have to settle for a Wil Lutz field goal after the 11-play, 62-yard drive came to a halt after Tre'Quan Smith could not secure the catch on third down. Smith took a big hit from Erik Harris that negated it.
New Orleans would come up with a good stop of their own after the Raiders featured a good dose of Josh Jacobs to open their drive, getting a big sack from Malcolm Jenkins that resulted in a 13-yard loss. The Saints would take the ensuing possession and go 78 yards in nine plays that was capped off by a touchdown from Alvin Kamara. New Orleans was hot on the ground to start the game. There'd be some extra point drama, but eventually it resulted in the Saints going up 10-0.
The Saints defense would pick up another couple of sacks on the next Raiders drive, one from Trey Hendrickson (coverage sack) and the other from David Onyemata. Derek Carr started the drive on a good note, connecting with Bryan Edwards for a 22-yard gain, but would miss a wide open Henry Ruggs and then take the sacks. New Orleans wasn't able to do anything with their next possession, but Las Vegas did, marching 63 yards in 11 plays to get their first touchdown in Allegiant Stadium. Carr connected with Alec Ingold for a 3-yard touchdown. Darren Waller had several big plays on the drive, and the Saints had little answer for him.
Drew Brees would settle in a bit more on the next drive, helping New Orleans answer with a touchdown drive of its own. It took just 3:33 and seven plays for the Saints to go 76 yards, with big plays to Smith and Adam Trautman. Nick Easton would get hurt early in the drive, seeing Cesar Ruiz come in and pass his first pro snap with flying colors, but Easton came right back in. Brees found Jared Cook for a 6-yard score on third-and-goal to help put the Saints up 17-7 with 5:22 until halftime.
Las Vegas continued its success on offense, responding with a 10-play, 75-yard drive of its own. The Raiders would convert several key third downs, and Carr would find Zay Jones for a 15-yard score on a third-and-9 to cut the Saints lead to 17-14. Just a few plays into the next Saints drive before halftime, Brees would give it right back to them after a bad throw that was intercepted by Nicholas Morrow. The Raiders would threaten, but settle for a Daniel Carlson field goal to tie things up at 17 at halftime.
Defensive adjustments weren't evident to start the second half, as the Raiders went 75 yards in nine plays and ended up going for it on fourth-and-goal to capture a 24-17 lead. The Saints had little answers for Darren Waller, and Carr connected with Foster Moreau on a big 31-yard pass play with Malcolm Jenkins trailing in coverage. New Orleans couldn't get much going offensively after starting off with a good play, suffering penalty after penalty and having to punt the ball away.
The Raiders continued driving on the Saints' defense to wind down the third quarter, and it looked like they were destined to score again until New Orleans finally caught a break it was looking for all game, a fumble by Jalen Richard that was recovered by P.J. Williams. Unfortunately, their drive would stall and they'd give it right back to the Raiders with 12:17 left. It wouldn't take long for the Raiders offense to get another score, as they went on a 10-play, 89-yard drive that saw Jalen Richard make up for his early mistake by taking it in for a 20-yard rushing touchdown to make it 31-17 Raiders with 7:43 to play.
New Orleans made things interesting by getting into the end zone in just 3:10, cutting the lead to 31-24 with 4:33 to go after Kamara got his second touchdown of the night. Brees had key plays to him, Smith, Deonte Harris, and Ty Montgomery on the drive. It would end up being all for naught, as the Raiders tried a deep ball to Ruggs and ended up being the 10th New Orleans penalty of the night, a questionable pass interference call on Janoris Jenkins. The Raiders added a late 54-yard field goal to go up 34-24 with 1:05 in the game, and that was it for New Orleans.
The Saints haven't won a Week 2 game since 2013, and are now tasked with hosting a pretty hot Packers offense on Sunday Night Football. Meanwhile, the Raiders host the Bills in a late Week 3 kickoff. Sean Payton's squad has a lot of adjustments to make.