FSM Essential Recap: Week 1 – Raiders vs Ravens

Franchise Sports Media


Week 1 of the NFL 2021 season is in the books and what better way to end it than by showcasing a brand new stadium in the newest home of the NFL, Las Vegas. Allegiant Stadium was where the hometown Raiders took on the Baltimore Ravens in a thrilling overtime game on Monday Night football that saw the Raiders win 33-27.


Raiders vs Ravens
Photo Credit: Getty Images

With Raider Nation finally able to pack the new home of the Silver and Black, it was time to see if the team on the field can match the energy and excitement that was not only in the stands but around the city ready to see how its new team does. Matched up against a top-tier team that is well-coached and filled with talent up and down the roster, the Raiders knew playing a team such as the Ravens would be an uphill battle all game.

But were they prepared to go all 12 rounds? Yes, they were, and then some.

Things wouldn’t get off to such an easy start as quarterback Derek Carr struggled early in finding his targets and putting the ball in place for them to make a catch and turn into more yards. This can be attributed to adjusting to having 4 new starters on the offensive line, including left guard Richie Incognito, who was scratched from the game due to a calf injury. So now, already having to break in a new center (Andre James), right guard (Denzel Good), and right tackle in rookie Alex Leatherwood, Carr had to also have a new left guard (John Simpson) step up against a tough Ravens defense. Couple this with running back Josh Jacobs almost being scratched himself due to a toe injury, the Raiders were looking to find new ways to attack the defense.


It was clear that one option that was still available was tight end Darren Waller who was targeted 19 times through the air.


Raiders vs Ravens
Photo Credit: David Becker/AP

Being one of the league’s best will get you those kinda opportunities to show off why you are one of the best at your position. While the team would move the ball, they never really found a true rhythm where they could open things up and really let it rip through the air. But thankfully, the revamped defense was able to hold up and keep things close as to not allow Baltimore to build no more than a touchdown lead that kept the Raiders in the fight.

The Raiders showed that they were able to apply pressure and attack the quarterback, something that they have struggled with over the years. But when facing a player with the skillset of Lamar Jackson, getting there and making the play are two different things.

On several occasions, the Raiders defense seemed to have the former NFL MVP bottled up and ready to come down for the sack. But they seemed to be a step this way, a slip that way, or a move over here from what seemed to be a loss of yards. These plays often turned into a big gain as Jackson showcased his escape and running ability that has made him one of the league’s most dangerous weapons. But overall, the defense would bend but not break which is mostly what the offense has been needing from that side of the ball.

The standout on defense was hands down Maxx Crosby who finished with 4 tackles and 2 sacks. But it wasn’t just the numbers, but the constant pressure he applied all night to Jackson that didn’t allow the QB to get comfortable and always seemed to be on the lookout for where Mad Maxx was at. The defensive front showed some flashes of new life that hopefully will become more than flashes as the season moves on. But there were some good signs shown from a unit that has been one of the worst in recent seasons. If the Raiders can continue to get after opposing QB’s and apply constant pressure and get sacks. Things on this side of the ball will turn around quickly for this unit.


Going into the fourth quarter, Baltimore held a 17-10 lead but the Raiders seemed to pick things up to end the third and would go on to find the end zone and even hit a game-tying field goal from 55 yards with 2 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.


Raiders vs Ravens
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

This is where things would get wild before they got better.

With the Raiders getting the ball first in OT, they looked to see if they could end things by scoring a touchdown on their first drive. Carr was on fire in the second half and in OT, where he connected with Bryan Edwards down the sideline for what seemed to be the go-home score. But after a review, it was ruled his knee was down right before the ball crossed the goalie.

So now inches away from victory, head coach Jon Gruden called a QB sneak, which failed. Followed by a false start by Leatherwood which moved them back five yards, a Carr pass went right through Raiders wide receiver Willie Snead’s hands, bounced off a defender’s helmet, and is intercepted by Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett in the Raiders end zone.

What seemed like a sure win now turned into a, “uh oh, here goes those typical Raiders again”.


Raiders vs Ravens
Photo Credit: David Becker/AP

But not this time! The Raiders defense would not give in so easily. They stayed aggressive and defensive end Carl Nassib would force a strip-sack, the fumble by Jackson was recovered by the Raiders and gave the team back the ball in excellent field position.

The Raiders would run Josh Jacobs for a short gain then seemed not to know if they wanted to go for another play or kick the field goal. They opted to kick but got a flag for delay of game. Now, with the offense is back on the field, Carr stepped back and throws a pass deep down the field to a wide-open Zay Jones who would bring down the catch and score the walk-off touchdown giving the team a home-opening win against the Ravens in overtime.

What a thrilling finish and a tremendous showing by a team who in years past would fold after making some costly errors which led to them giving games away. This time though, the Raiders showed growth, maturity, grit, and focus that it’s not over till it’s over. Carr threw for 435 yards and 2 TDs, Jacobs only managed 40 yards total but found the end zone twice, birthday boy Waller had 10 catches for 105 yards and a score, and the defense had two sacks to go along with two big-time forced fumbles.

The Raiders, Raider Nation, Las Vegas, and the NFL got a look at what could possibly be a worthy team in the desert to wave the Silver and Black colors high and with pride and hopefully plenty of more wins.


Next week the Raiders travel to Pittsburgh to take on their old rival, the Steelers, in a matchup against two undefeated teams. The kickoff is slated for 10 am and can be seen on CBS.


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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media


Follow Kalani on Twitter @klua11

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