Monday night’s Ravens vs Raiders Week 1 matchup was one for the books and should be considered as one of the more memorable Monday Night Football games to start a season. The Las Vegas Raiders battled with the Baltimore Ravens all the way to overtime where for a minute it looked bleak for the Raiders to come on top. Due to some crucial stops by the Raiders defense along with a Derek Carr clutch pass to Zay Jones, the Raiders finished the night winning 33-27 against the Ravens.
Things got exciting fast as fans in the stadium roared during the third play into the game where backup quarterback Marcus Mariota rushed up the middle for 31 yards. Unfortunately the Raiders could not convert a scoring play in their first drive, and neither could the Ravens as they also had to punt their first possession.
Carr was trying to get things going by targeting starting tight end Darren Waller consecutive times to no avail. Ravens starting quarterback Lamar Jackson was able to get his team to the 35 yard line, then Ty’Son Williams got the call and rushed 35 yards into the end zone, a big score for the young running back stepping up with all the preseason injuries in the Ravens backfield.
The Las Vegas Raiders offense wasn’t looking too sharp with bad snaps and false starts causing them yardage. After a Raiders punt and a big play by Ravens receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, the Ravens were able to score again when Jackson went to Hollywood on the right edge of the end zone.
Towards the end of the first half, the Raiders offense found a spark as Carr completed several short passes and was also able to connect a deep pass to Waller. In Ravens red zone territory, starting running back Josh Jacobs was able to plow through the Ravens defensive line for his first touchdown of the Raiders 2021 season. Daniel Carlson finished the half with a 34-yard field goal.
The Ravens vs Raiders score was 14-10 going into the second half. One of the most reliable kickers in the game in Justin Tucker kicked a 40-yarder for the Ravens to up their lead to 17-10. The rest of the quarter ended up being very defense heavy on both sides. Near the beginning of the fourth quarter, Jackson scrambled up the middle and fumbled. On the next possession, Jacobs was able to rush 15-yards for his second score of the game to tie the game at 17-17.
Now this is where the nail biting starts. Just under the 7-minute mark into the fourth quarter, “Big Truss” Jackson threw a bomb to receiver Sammy Watkins for a 49-yard gain to the 8 yard line. Latavius Murray, who was just acquired by the Ravens on Friday, was able to rush a touchdown to gain the Ravens lead. Next possession, Carr had a bomb of his own as he threw to receiver Henry Ruggs for 30 yards, then two more 10-yard darts to Waller with the latter being a touchdown to tie the game back up 24-24.
On the Ravens next drive Jackson was able to bring his team to field goal position, which is arguably anywhere on the grass for Justin Tucker, who kicked a 47-yarder with 37 seconds left on the clock. Carr was spectacular on the Raiders last drive of the quarter, as he connected twice with sophomore receiver Bryan Edwards to take his team to the 37. At the logo, Carlson channeled his inner Janikowski and launched a 55-yarder to tie the game and bring it to overtime.
During the start of OT, all signs pointed to a Raiders win when Carr connected once again with Edwards for a 33-yard touchdown. The Replay Official reviewed and the play was reversed. On 3rd & Goal, Carr threw towards receiver Willie Snead and got picked off by Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett.
Now all signs pointed to a Ravens win, except Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib strip-sacked Jackson who fumbled the ball to a Raiders recovery. This led to the Raiders immediately trying to go for the field goal yet couldn’t get special teams back on field in time. They took a 5-yard penalty and drew a play that made it seem like they were gonna rush it for extra yardage. This juked the Ravens blitz as Carr threw it far down to Zay Jones for the game winning touchdown.
“I felt like I had died and woke up, and died again,” said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. “I was like a cat; I had multiple lives tonight.”
Best quote of the night goes out to Coach Gruden. What a showdown between the Ravens vs Raiders, we couldn’t have asked for a better start although it should be noted that all teams in the AFC West won their Week 1 matchups. The Las Vegas Raiders will play against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday, September 19.