LAS VEGAS—In a city that never sleeps; the inaugural game in which fans of Sin City had their first opportunity to see the Las Vegas Raiders resulted in victory.
The come from behind, 33-27 roller coaster win over the Baltimore Ravens in overtime at Aliegant Stadium, on September 13 was worthy of the entertainment capital of the world. This sold out debut for the Silver and Black matched the lofty expectations fans and the NFL yearned for over a year.
On Sunday, September 19, the Las Vegas Raiders followed the impressive opener, starting the season at a mark of 2-0, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, 26-17. This impressive victory against long-time rivals is their best start since 2017. Raiders quarterback David Carr had another excellent outing.
Carr went 28 of 37 for 382 yards, and one touchdown at Hines Field. On the defensive side of the ball, a stellar performance by Soloman Thomas who sacked Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger two times. An early Trayvon Mullen interception set the tone from kickoff, holding Pittsburgh to 331 total yards.
During the game, viewers were treated to some colorful language by Raiders head coach Jon Gruden directed at an official. The announcers even joked, “I thought we had a third broadcaster in the booth.” Jon Gruden, a.k.a. “Chucky” always unfiltered passion for the game. This was a huge victory after opening the season with the positive vibes that emanated from Allegiant Stadium after the season opener.
It was a given that entertainment prior to kick-off from Allegiant Stadium would be on par with the exciting city that is Las Vegas. DJ superstar Steve Akoi riled up the crowd with his set of club music complete with lasers and fog machine, the pulsating rhythm created a party like atmosphere perfect for a nationally televised spectacle.
Unfortunately, the Baltimore Ravens and their dynamic MVP quarterback, Lamar Jackson jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. Shaking off their sluggish start, the Raiders closed the gap trailing, 14-10 at halftime.
The second half and subsequent OT was exhilarating and wild as both teams went back and forth; scoring touchdowns while committing costly turnovers. This wild week 1 matchup tested the fortitude and heart of the Raiders, who tied the game three times before sending it to OT knotted at 27 apiece.
In OT, the Raiders marched down the field, and appeared to have won the game on a David Carr touchdown pass. Players and coaches shook hands and began heading to the locker room before the referee upon video review overturned the TD due to the wide receivers knee touching the ground prior to the ball crossing the line.
From the 1-yard line, the Raiders were backed up another five yards due to a false start penalty. Two plays later, Carr threw an awful interception that bounced off a series of players before landing in the hands of a Ravens defender.
In the next possession, rookie defensive lineman Carl Nassib, who ripped the ball out of Jackson’s hands, thus giving the Raiders a precious second chance to win the game. Only a few plays later, Carr threw off his back foot for a 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones for the walk off, miraculous moment and victory.
“Felt like I died and woke up. And died. And woke up again,” said coach Jon Gruden. “I was like a cat — I had multiple lives.”