How many of you thought the Las Vegas Raiders were toast once the first quarter was over. The New Orleans Saints were leading 10-0 at the beginning of the second quarter, it felt like much of the same. However, their offense woke up and would end up 34 points in the team’s second win of the season. There are many reasons why the Silver and Black won but here are three players that played an important role.
The Raiders beat the Saints as a team
1. Darren Waller, TE
A week after catching six receptions for 45 yards, Waller showed he isn’t a one-year wonder on Monday Night Football. On a day when quarterback Derek Carr threw passes to 11 different players, the tight end stood out and shined in the spotlight. After all, he and wide receiver Tim Brown are the only Raiders player to have multiple career 12-reception games. He finished the game with 12 catches for 103 yards and one touchdown. Moving forward, he will continue to be a key cog on the team’s offense.
2. Jalen Richard, RB
Wait, didn’t Richard fumble the ball early in the game? Yes, he did but he was able to keep his focus and move on afterward. That fumble could’ve brought another player’s confidence down, but not Richard. Later in the game, he had another chance to carry the ball and made the most out of it and took it to the house on a 20-yard run. This signaled the first time he had a rushing touchdown since 2018’s Week 16. With Josh Jacobs as the leading back, it’s easy to forget what Richard brings to the table, but not today when he scored against the Saints, just like he did in his rookie year.
3. Nicholas Morrow, LB
Not many of us envisioned Morrow having an impact for the Raiders in 2020. He proved us wrong. In a year when the team added Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski in free agency, Morrow’s role was going to take a hit. Nevertheless, he made the most of his chances when he intercepted Saints quarterback Drew Brees late in the second quarter. The Raiders defense wasn’t playing well early in the game and the turnover gave them a shift in momentum before the team headed to the locker room. After Morrow’s interception, the Raiders went on to score two touchdowns, so it was definitely an important play.
They were the only Raiders players that shined thought
Carr played efficiently once again, he finished the day with 28 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns. That was in spite of the offensive line not holding their ground as good as they did against the Panthers in Week 2. Speaking of the Raiders’ hog mollies, rookie John Simpson took over Richie Incognito’s guard spot when the latter left the game with an Achilles injury. Last week, it was Denzelle Good playing in relief of tackles Trent Brown and Sam Young. This week, the Clemson standout answered the call.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders front four failed to generate pressure most of the first half and didn’t record any sacks. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther needs to get that fix as soon as possible. The Silver and Black will face the Patriots in Week 3 and some kind of pass-rush semblance will increase their odds of winning in Foxborough.
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