Remember this, 2-0. That’s the Las Vegas Raiders record after they broke in The Death Star with a statement 10-point win over quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Derek Carr outplayed Brees, head coach Jon Gruden outcoached Sean Payton, and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s defense allowed only seven second half points. Also, I lost my voice shouting at the TV. Week 2 was that fun.
Raiders win in one sentence
Nothing else needs to be said to sum up the Raiders offensively this past Monday. Waller was everywhere and dominated the game. The Saints knew where the ball was going and they still couldn’t stop the tight end. A performance like this on primetime should put Waller among the ranks of Kittle, Kelce, and Ertz.
Name the game
Jalen Richard had two of the most critical plays of the game. His fumble on the 3rd down pitch in the 4th Quarter let the Saints back in the game. After a stop by the defense, Richard got the ball again, this time taking a 3rd-and-10 carry 20 yards to the house to put the Raiders up two touchdowns with 7:43 to go. Richard’s TD all but ended the Saints. A redemption arc better than any Star Wars movie in a Death Star.
One Raiders Stat to keep in mind
Darren Waller: 12 catches on 16 targets.
16 targets for anyone is absurd. 16 targets with 12 catches for a tight end with 100+ receiving yards and a touchdown should earn him Offensive Player of the Week honors.
After one quarter, it looked like this section would be pretty negative. Then in the remaining three quarters, Carr was exceptional. Three touchdowns with 282 yards with no turnovers (statistically he got the fumble loss on the Richard toss but it wasn’t on him) on Monday Night Football will certainly get the job done. Carr still doesn’t look great in a messy pocket. But the performance against the Saints was certainly a good one. He’s off to a nice start in 2020.
The Good News
The Raiders are 2-0 for the first time since 2017. The Raiders just beat a legit playoff team. The excitement in RaiderNation should be through that beautiful roof on Allegiant Stadium.
The Bad News
The Raiders went 6-10 in 2017. Also, an East Coast trip to play the New England Patriots and quarterback Cam Newton isn’t going to be a vacation.
- The Raiders waste timeouts early in halves on a weekly basis.
- The Silver and Black need a healthy Trent Brown, Denzelle Good was serviceable at right tackle but looks better at guard.
- One sack in two weeks for the defense. I got nothing nice to say about that.
- Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow has the same stat line every game, about three catches and all on third down.
- Jon Gruden giving tight end Alec Ingold the first touchdown in the Death Star was so Jon Gruden.
- The Derek Carr Revenge Tour is firmly underway. Next stop Foxborough? TBD.
Apology of the Week
Dear Saints bettors,
That money could’ve been used more prudently in investments. Or not betting against an improving Raiders team in their stadium opener when they play against an aging Saints team without their all-world wide receivers. Anyways, I want to apologize for that sense of hope you felt when the Saints took the 10-0 lead. It sure didn’t last.
One Prediction for the Raiders Next Week
Here’s a bold one. Renfow goes ballistic. Just two sections after saying all Renfrow’s stat lines are the same, I predict he goes big in Week 3. Why do you ask? Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t going to let Waller beat him. Cornerbacks Stephen Gilmore and J.C. Jackson are going to be tough tasks for the Raiders rookie duo. Renfow draws the favorable matchup and takes advantage. Go Raiders.
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Top Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal