The Ravens and Raiders played a thrilling “Monday Night Football” game in Las Vegas to cap Week 1 of the 2021 NFL Season, with Raiders winning 33-27 in overtime.
That’s the short way to describe one of the craziest NFL game finishes in recent memory: There was quite a game of twists and turns in just the last six minutes and more of OT game action. Take the word of the winning coach:
“I felt like I was dead and waking up and dying again,” said Jon Gruden of Las Vegas. “I was like a cat, I had several lives tonight.”
Here’s SN’s attempt to capture how much of a roller coaster overtime was:
Bryan Edwards’ future match winner
Las Vegas won the toss to start OT and received. Six games later, it appeared he had won the game with a 33-yard touchdown connection between Derek Carr and Bryan Edwards. The field call was a touchdown, anyway.
The Allegiant Stadium, open to fans for the first time, has erupted. The players began to shake hands even while the scoring game was under consideration. It turns out their sportsmanship was premature. Examination showed Edwards was down to 1st for the Ravens. There was no doubt about the reversal.
Resumption of play.
Derek Carr’s Helmetless Intercept
So Robinson was short, but the Raiders still only needed a yard to win. Carr was pissed off with a stealth shot, however, before rookie lineman Alex Leatherwood made a false start. Vegas was now just outside of 5 in Baltimore, facing second place.
This meant Carr had more room to throw, which he did. He missed Hunter Renfrow in the corner of the end zone on the second down, but Willie Snead opened wide in the middle in the ensuing play. If Snead had got his hands on the ball, he could have run into the end zone. But the ball went through these hands.
He then smacked Ravens defenseman DeShon Elliott’s helmet before landing in the arms of cornerback Anthony Averett for the unlikely interception.
Game always to.
Lamar Jackson’s Carl Nassib handbag
The passage of the Ravens in attack did not last long; Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib recovered the ball in Las Vegas with a massive scramble game, rushing over the edge and sacking third-place Lamar Jackson in Baltimore territory. Darius Philon recovered Jackson’s fumble on the Ravens’ 27.
Game still in progress.
Ice kicker for victory
Kenyan Drake ran for a yard in the first play of the Las Vegas drive that followed before the Raiders decided to put the game on Daniel Carlson’s foot; he had already forced overtime by making a 55 yards with two seconds left in regulation and was looking for a 44 yards to win it. But Carlson was late on the field, forcing Las Vegas to take a late-game penalty because there was no more time-out. The ball was handed over to Baltimore 31.
A 49-yarder was still well in Carlson’s range, but Gruden decided to put the offense back on the field in second-and-14. Peyton and Eli Manning understood on their ESPN2 mega-broadcast (featuring special guest Russell Wilson) that Gruden was hitting the reset button on a winning kick; flip another coin and ask Carlson to come back.
The decision to bypass Carlson worked better than anyone in silver and black could have imagined.
The game continues, and now even more bizarre.
Carr beats the blitz for the match winner
With Vegas already within shooting range, Baltimore went bankrupt to push the kick back further or create another turnover. He went to all of the 2020 Jets and sent home against Carr.
Carr calmly stepped back and, with his back foot, threw a long ball at a wide open Zay Jones, who completed the winning achievement.
One of the reasons Jones was all alone in the field: Ravens defensive back Marlon Humphrey was picked by a cover teammate. Another reason: Carr told ESPN the Raiders have the right game for Baltimore’s zero blitz. This time, there was no doubt: the touchdown held.