• Ben Matthews

Raiders 34 Saints 24: Efficient Carr outduels Brees and sloppy Saints

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

The Las Vegas Raiders opened a new era at Allegiant Stadium with an major upset win over the New Orleans Saints.

This was an impressive win for Jon Gruden, Derek Carr and the Raiders in a game where ruthless efficiency overcame a Saints side that looked a shell of its 2019 self.

Carr threw for 3 touchdowns and 282 yards in a performance where he dinked and dunked his way down the field, utilising tight end Darren Waller in a role more reminiscent of a number 1 wideout. Waller dominated the Saints secondary to the tune of 12 receptions, 103 yards and a touchdown in what was a game in which he confirmed his status as an emerging top 5 tight end in the league.

The Saints offense was humming early, as Alvin Kamara continuously gashed the Raiders defense, racing to a 10-0 lead and looking as though they could blow the average Raiders D away. After that however, it was tough sledding. Brees did not look himself throughout the evening and attempted zero passes deep downfield and mustered only a single pass for 18 yards to current de facto number 1 receiver, Emmanuel Sanders.

Admittedly, the absence of Michael Thomas for the Saints was always going to be significant for this Saints offense, but it felt devastating on an evening in Nevada where Brees simply looked devoid of arm strength, accuracy and any legitimate weapons save for his all-purpose running back. Kamara will have to be the focal point on this O moving forward, because Brees is showing genuine symptoms of decline and an inability to move the ball downfield.

This win will generate more confidence amongst the Raiders faithful as Gruden and Carr look to establish the Silver and Black into a force to be reckoned with in the AFC. At the risk of stating the obvious; Josh Jacobs will be key to this. The sophomore back impressed again with 88 yards on 27 carries alongside a trio of catches, but there will be concerns as Jacobs looked banged up deep in the fourth quarter.

Las Vegas will also need to monitor Hunter Renfrow who appeared to look hurt, as well as guard Richie Incognito; who had the leave the game due to an achilles injury.

Gruden will enjoy the fact that his team looked so in sync on offense, but improvement will still need to be made on D. First round pick, Damon Arnette was uneven in coverage and the pass rush failed to register a sack. The Saints also shot themselves in the foot time and time again in this game, conceding 129 yards on 10 penalties which alleviated pressure on Las Vegas during key moments. Nevertheless, Gruden will be encouraged that his offense was able to capitalise on these errors and pull off a tremendous win.

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