© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It began as a fantastic night for Lamar Jackson, but it ended as one for Derek Carr. The former went from a 14-0 lead in the first half over the Las Vegas Raiders to seeing his Baltimore Ravens fall in a 33-27 overtime thriller at Allegiant Stadium on Monday night, leaving the latter wearing a massive smile as he and head coach Jon Gruden move forward with a 1-0 start to the 2021 regular season. But while it’s Carr who ended up striking the final blow to the Ravens’ hopes of escaping with a victory — his 31-yard touchdown pass in overtime to receiver Zay Jones ending the night — he wants credit applied elsewhere.
After seeing the Raiders defense delete his overtime interception with a forced fumble by Carl Nassib on Jackson that gave Las Vegas the ball back on the Baltimore 33-yard line, setting up what would happen next between Carr and Jones, the veteran quarterback is pointing two fingers at his defense as reason for the victory.
It was the second forced and recovered fumble on Jackson, and couldn’t have been more timely.
“We harp on the defense so much,” Carr said, via Ed Graney of The Las Vegas Review-Journal. “You hear this. You hear that. You see a lot of coordinators come in and go.
“For them to make the play at the end and give us chance after chance after chance with all their stops — I hope someone praises the defense. They deserve it. Were they perfect? No.
“Were we as an offense? No. But we won as a team.”
That’s more or less a dead-on explanation of the evening by Carr, who himself was a mixed bag of forced throws in the first quarter and overthinking before settling in and — with the aid of tight end Darren Waller — composing the offense for much of the remainder of the game. But, even then, there seemed to always be disaster waiting around the corner, both offensively and defensively, with Jackson making more than his fair share of electric plays as well. But when it was all said and done, in a game with more twists and turns than a ride a Six Flags, it was the Raiders defense giving Carr one final shot to nail the Ravens coffin shut.
And he did just that, as the Raiders now get to work readying to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2.