NFL

Carr, Raiders revel in Week 1 win - 'who cares if it's ugly or pretty'?

By Sports Desk September 14, 2021

The Las Vegas Raiders sounded like a team that got away with something Monday night. 

From quarterback Derek Carr to head coach Jon Gruden, they acknowledged there were any number of flaws in their season-opening performance against the Baltimore Ravens. 

But all that mattered in the end was that they found a path to victory, prevailing 33-27 in overtime before a raucous home crowd. 

"All I keep saying is I just want to win, so who cares if it's ugly or pretty?" Carr told reporters after the game. "I do not care, we won the game. I'm celebrating, that's the only thing that matters."

Carr completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards, saving the biggest completion for the final play of the game – a looping 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones when everyone in the stadium figured the Raiders would run the ball to set up a field goal try. 

Gruden indicated that was exactly what he had planned but kicker Daniel Carlson was not immediately available on the sidelines, forcing a delay of game penalty that prompted him to send Carr and the offence back out on the field. 

"But things worked out," Gruden said with a wry smile. 

They did indeed, as the Raiders stunned a favoured Ravens team that felt in control for much of the game before falling apart late. 

"I'm glad coach trusted us and put it in our hands at the end," said Carr, "because it always feels good to win that way – especially when you almost gave it away."

After rallying to level the game in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Raiders thought they had the game won on the opening possession of overtime as Carr hit Bryan Edwards for an apparent 33-yard touchdown. 

But video replay determined Edwards was down just before the goal line, and after a run for no gain by Carr, a critical false start penalty and an incompletion, Anthony Averett intercepted Carr in the end zone following a deflection on a pass intended for Willie Snead. 

The Raiders were granted a reprieve, though, as Carl Nassib forced a fumble on a sack of Lamar Jackson with 4:31 to play in overtime to set up Carr's game-winning pass. 

"Our defence made a signature play at the end of that game and I thought Derek Carr was awesome playing under some really tough circumstances today against a very good defence," Gruden said.

He added: "I'm really proud of the character they showed. We were down 14-0 to the Ravens and it didn't look pretty, it didn't look good. But when you can come back and find a way to win against a team like that, that's saying something. 

"That's an impressive, impressive victory and like they say here, just win baby."

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