Three and Out is a new weekly series that will examine three areas where the Oakland Raiders played well, and three areas where they didn’t.
It was a stressful, up and down, exciting and gratifying season debut for the Oakland Raiders, as they rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the New Orleans Saints, 35-34.
Just like with every NFL game, there were plenty of things the team did well and should build on moving forward, and plenty of bad things that need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Let’s start with the positives. Here are three areas Raiders fans should feel good about following the win.
First and foremost, this is a game where any Raiders team from 2003 to 2015 would have lost. Trailing 24-10 with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter, this team easily could have laid down and accepted defeat, but they didn’t.
Oakland battled back, and had to do so multiple times. The Saints offense is tough to stop, and the Raiders had to go blow for blow and point for point with them until the end.
It took an 11-play, 75-yard drive that spanned 5:16, capped by a touchdown from Derek Carr to Seth Roberts to put the Raiders in position to tie the game, with just 47 seconds left. But Jack Del Rio had already decided to go for the win, and Carr and Michael Crabtree delivered.
A win like this, on the road nonetheless, can do wonders for the confidence of a young team. Learning how to win is a big step in the process of becoming contenders, and the Raiders took that first step on Sunday.
2. Derek Carr
It won’t be long before we run out of compliments for Carr — this young man simply impresses week in and week out. He’s a franchise quarterback in every possible sense, and he’ll do anything it takes to win.
Anything, such as front-flip over a defender on a scramble to convert on 3rd & 9. Carr has had many highlights in his young career, and he’ll have many more, but this play will always be one to remembered.
Outside of that play, Carr completed 63% of his passes for 318 yards, with one touchdown and no turnovers. He orchestrated two long drives that resulted in rushing touchdowns — one by Murray and one by Olawale — and he also threw two perfect passes on the successful two-point conversions, otherwise Oakland would have lost the game without those conversions.
3. No Sacks, No Turnovers
The offensive line was as good as advertised in their regular season debut, giving Carr a clean pocket all game long. There were several plays where Carr had so long to throw, it was only a matter of time before a wide receiver got open downfield.
The final tally was zero sacks allowed, which is a huge accomplishment. Carr only had to scramble twice, and was rarely forced to throw the ball away. Having this long to throw usually results in good things, and Carr delivered time and time again.
No turnovers was also a noteworthy accomplishment. Anytime a team can win the turnover battle, their chances of winning that game considerably increase.
Next: Oakland Raiders: Three Areas To Improve