Derek Carr made an aggressive approach count as he elected to "rip 'em" and see where it got the Las Vegas Raiders against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

After the Raiders snatched a 36-33 overtime win, Carr could reflect on a policy skilfully enacted, and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia was suitably impressed.

Carr ended the game with 24-of-39 passing for 373 yards and a touchdown – the most yards by a Raiders quarterback on Thanksgiving in team history.

It gave him a passer rating of 101.8 after three consecutive games down in double digits, each of which ended in defeat.

Daniel Carlson nailed a field goal to win the game before munching on a turkey leg to mark the holiday. Victory improved the Raiders to 6-5 and checked the Cowboys at 7-4.

Carr picked out DeSean Jackson early for a 56-yard touchdown; Jackson's 34th career touchdown of 50-plus yards puts him only two adrift of all-time NFL leader Jerry Rice.

Speaking after the game, Carr said he heeded the advice of former Raiders coach Jon Gruden not to shy away from the bold option.

"It leads sometimes to not completing as many balls on a percentage chart, but to me, Gruden used to tell me, 'Don't ever take your arm out of a game'," Carr said.

"So, when we call these things, let's rip 'em."

Gruden resigned from his Raiders top job in October amid reports he had sent emails containing offensive language.

Carr savoured the narrow victory, saying: "Our back was against the wall. There's no doubt about that. And in the way that we fought today and for as long as it took to win... we had to do that today, and I'm very proud of our team."

Bisaccia said 30-year-old Carr had been "off sync a little bit" in recent games. "Today he looked like Derek Carr. It's fun to watch him play," the interim coach added.

Bisaccia also saluted 34-year-old Jackson, an acquisition in early November who is showing the Raiders what he still has left in the tank.

"I thought he stepped up in there today and made really incredible plays," Bisaccia said. "You can see DeSean hopefully getting more and more comfortable with what we're asking him to do. One thing he can still do is run. It was fun to watch him. It was good for him, and it was good for us."

It fell to Carlson to settle the game and settle a Raiders team who were 3-0 early in the season before losing their way.

A fourth successive loss would have hurt, but now Las Vegas can look forward with greater optimism. They are next in action against the Washington Football Team on December 5.

Carlson said: "It's tough when things don't go your way for a few weeks."

Quoted on the Raiders website, he added: "On a short week to be able to get a win like that, that helps us going forward. I think that just speaks to the character of this team and our will to win."

The Las Vegas Raiders broke a three-game losing streak with a thrilling 36-33 overtime win at the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Daniel Carson converted a 29-yard field goal to lift the Raiders (6-5) past the Cowboys (7-4) in Dallas in the first overtime game to occur on Thanksgiving since 2012.

There was an early advantage for Las Vegas on Thursday as Derek Carr (24-of-39 passing for 373 yards and a TD – most yards by a Raiders quarterback on Thanksgiving in team history) threw to DeSean Jackson, who ran in for a 56-yard touchdown. It was Jackson's 34th career touchdown of 50-plus yards, the second-most in NFL history, just two behind Jerry Rice.

The Cowboys – without stars CeeDee Lamb (concussion) and Amari Cooper (COVID-19) – responded immediately with a touchdown of their own as Dak Prescott (32-of-47 passing for 375 yards for two TDs) found Sean McKeon.

A 30-yard penalty for pass interference gave Josh Jacobs a simple one-yard TD to make it 14-6 in favour of Las Vegas heading into the second quarter.

Dallas looked to be getting desperate as Zuerlein attempted and missed a 59-yard field goal, but they were able to score their second TD just before half-time as an 86-yard drive ended with a one-yard TD for Ezekiel Elliott to close within 17-13 at the break.

The Raiders increased their lead halfway through the third quarter – Marcus Mariota running in a touchdown to complete a 75-yard drive, only for Tony Pollard to immediately run a 100-yard kick-off return to bring it back to 27-19, the third-longest TD in Thanksgiving history.

Dallas forced overtime thanks to Prescott's pass to Dalton Schultz and a pair of Zuerlein field goals in the fourth period, but the Cowboys were unable to complete the comeback in the additional period.

Jon Gruden's resignation as head coach was used as a catalyst to inspire the Las Vegas Raiders to victory over the Denver Broncos, according to quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders were rocked last week when Gruden stepped down after an investigation revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst.

Gruden apologised for any hurt caused by the messages, which are alleged to have contained racist, homophobic and sexist content.

A tumultuous week for the Raiders ended on a positive note, though, thanks to a 34-24 win over the Broncos on Sunday as they snapped a two-game losing run and improved to 4-2. 

Carr starred in Rich Bisaccia's first game as interim head coach, throwing 341 yards and two touchdowns in completing 18 of 27 passes.

The 30-year-old's passer rating of 134.4 was his highest in almost three years and came at the perfect time for his side. 

"We needed a win bad this week," he said. "Sometimes when you get punched in the gut, it's hard to bounce back. But we were able to do it.

"If anything, what's happened the this heightened our intensity, it heightened our focus. 

"More now than ever, we had to step up and be a voice. There will be a time for all the emotions, but now is not the time. 

"It sucks not hugging 'Gru' after a game like that. Some of the plays we ran, he would have been so fired up, but it is what it is and we need to move forward. 

"For those three hours, it's definitely easier to just focus on football."

Carr's fourth 300-plus passing yard game of the season is the second-most ever of any Raiders player after six games after Rich Gannon, who had five at this stage in 2002.

The Raiders forced four turnovers in defense and committed zero turnovers of their own – the first time that has happened since the 1988 season against the Kansas City Chiefs.

For Bisaccia, it marked a first win in what was his first game as a head coach at any level.

"The best part for me was to be able to get on the grass," he said after the triumph at Empower Field at Mile High. "The worst part for me was figuring out the headset! 

"Once you get on the field and the game goes, a lot of my responsibilities were the same. It's emotional for everybody, right? 

"I think they did a good job. It's a bunch of grown men, handling their emotions throughout the week, putting them in perspective when it was time to go play the game. 

"It's a job for all of us. They seemed to do a really good job with it. We'll see what goes on."

Derek Carr believes Monday's 28-14 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers can act as a wake-up call for his previously unbeaten Las Vegas Raiders.

The Raiders found themselves 21-0 down at half-time before quarterback Carr landed two third-quarter touchdowns to narrow to gap to one score.

But the Chargers steadied with an Austin Ekeler rushing touchdown before Carr had a last-ditch attempt intercepted by Derwin James, confirming the result.

The defeat means the Raiders drop below the Chargers in the AFC West division, with both sides holding 3-1 records.

Las Vegas had beaten the Miami Dolphins, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens across the first three weeks in a strong start to the new season.

"It's better now [to lose] than later," Carr told reporters after the defeat. "If anything, it hopefully wakes us up a little bit.

"You never want to lose but it's hard to win in this league. We'll see them again."

Carr, who tops the NFL charts for pass yards at 1,399 this season ahead of Tom Brady on 1356, had a subdued first half as Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert completed three touchdown passes.

The Raiders quarterback finished the game completing 21 of 34 attempts for 196 yards and two touchdowns, along with the one interception, and accepted the blame for the defeat.

"I want to see us win every time," Carr added. "Any loss is disappointing. This one hurts a bit extra.

"They can blame me. They can put it all on me. If they want to chant MVP when I come running out, they can get mad at me for this one."

The Chargers win was their fifth straight victory against an AFC West opponent and bolsters their case as genuine contenders in the division.

Los Angeles are top ahead of the Raiders (3-1), the Denver Broncos (3-1) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2-2).

"We're coming together," Chargers head coach Brandon Stanley told the post-game news conference. "That's the way we expect to play around here.

"It's not easy, because the teams we're playing are really, really good. You've seen what Dallas is doing, you've seen what Kansas City is doing, these teams are real opponents. That's a real opponent that we just played.

"I feel like our guys are coming together. We're finding that sweet spot within the game plan of how much is in the plan and getting these guys in their comfort zone. I felt like our guys were in the comfort zone tonight and we executed that way."

The Chargers face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Week 5 while the Raiders meet the Chicago Bears.

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."

The Las Vegas Raiders welcomed fans to their new home a year later than expected, but it was worth the wait. 

Derek Carr's 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones in overtime gave the Raiders a stunning season-opening 33-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday. 

It was a thrilling conclusion to the opening weekend of the NFL season after Lamar Jackson and the Ravens appeared in control for most of the game. 

Injury-wracked Baltimore took a 14-0 lead on a 35-yard touchdown run from Ty'Son Williams and a signature 10-yard Jackson TD pass to Marquise Brown.

Las Vegas ultimately would level the game at 17-17 on Josh Jacobs' second touchdown run of the game with 9:18 to play in the fourth quarter, a drive set up by Jackson fumbling after a scramble for the first turnover of the night. 

That set up a wild finish in the first regular-season game at $1.9billion Allegiant Stadium, as newly signed Ravens running back Latavius Murray gave the visitors a 24-17 lead with 6:04 to play before Carr equalised just over two minutes later with a 10-yard scoring pass to Darren Waller. 

Jackson got loose again on the ensuing possession to set up a 47-yard Justin Tucker field goal that gave the Ravens a lead with 37 seconds remaining, but the Raiders were not done. 

Carr zipped a pair of completions to get Las Vegas down the field and set Daneil Carlson up for a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining that sent the game to overtime. 

The Raiders thought they had the game won on the opening possession of the extra session, 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 an an incompletion, Anthony Averett ntercepted Carr in the end zone after a deflection on a pass intended for Willie Snead. 

The Las Vegas defence would bail out the home side once again, though, as Carl Nassib forced a fumble on a sack of Jackson with 4:31 to play in overtime. 

After a Raiders penalty moved the ball back five yards, the Ravens assumed the next play would be a run to set up a winning field-goal try, but Carr saw Jones get free in the secondary and looped a pass over everyone's head for an uncontested touchdown to win the game.

Carr completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Jackson was 19 of 30 for 235 yards and a TD. The Ravens quarterback also rushed for a game-high 86 yards. 

Davante Adams has conceded it would be "a dream" for him to reunite with Derek Carr at the NFL level.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Adams and Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Carr were college team-mates at Fresno State from 2012 to 2013.

Adams caught 233 passes for 3,031 yards and 38 touchdowns across his two seasons with Carr, who set the school record for passing yards with 5,083 in his final season in 2013.

The Packers star has gone on to establish himself as arguably the top receiver in the NFL, making 115 receptions in 2020 for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns, putting him tied for the third-most receiving scores in a single season, behind Randy Moss (23 in 2007) and Jerry Rice (22 in 1987).

However, he is a free agent at the end of the 2021 season and, with no end to the stand-off between league MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Adams' future cannot be considered certain.

Asked about potentially recruiting Adams to play for the Raiders earlier this week, Carr told ABC30 in Fresno: "It would unlock some things in both of us that people haven't seen yet."

In a follow-up interview with the same channel, Adams made it clear he is not focusing on free agency but left no doubt he would be open to a reunion with Carr.

Speaking about his free agency, he said: "I'll just continue to be me and just let this thing work itself out and see what happens.

"Obviously I love Derek to death, we've got a great friendship, we still communicate really, really consistently, he's one of my best friends.

"It'd be a dream to be able to play with him but I'm a Packer now, until that where we make that decision, I guess we've just got to... we'll see what happens."

The Packers are coming off a year in which they lost in the NFC Championship Game for the second straight season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

By contrast, the Raiders have not reached the playoffs since the 2016 season.

Carr, however, had the best campaign of his career in 2020, throwing for 4,103 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His tally of 36 passing plays of 25 yards or more was just one fewer than Rodgers.

A permanent residency in Las Vegas. It's what so many performers around the world dream of getting, but in 2020 the Raiders were left delivering a mediocre performance to a non-existent audience in their first year in the desert. 

Their mammoth new Allegiant Stadium home was left empty due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Raiders again flattered to deceive, an exciting opening act giving way to an underwhelming finale that ended hopes of a postseason encore. 

Under normal circumstances, a third successive season in which the Raiders missed the playoffs would lead to pressure on Jon Gruden. 

But because the Raiders rolled the dice by giving Gruden a 10-year contract, the head coach is a long way from the hot seat during his second spell with the franchise. 

Playing in a division alongside Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, plus Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders face a tough challenge to contend in the AFC West. 

The pressure on Gruden may finally come should they miss the postseason again in 2021, but what can the Raiders do to ensure their first season with fans in Vegas results in a playoff berth? 

Here, with the help of Stats Perform data, we reflect on the Raiders' 2020 season and assess what they can learn from an 8-8 year.

Offense

The Raiders failed in their pursuit of a Wild Card spot despite an impressive year from much-maligned quarterback Derek Carr, who threw for a career-high 4,103 passing yards and finished the season in a three-way tie for fifth in yards per attempt with an average of 7.94. 

Where Carr made clear and significant strides was as a deep-ball thrower. 

On passes of 21 air yards or more, Carr had a passer rating of 124.2, throwing for 10 touchdowns and one interception. Among quarterbacks to have attempted at least 25 such passes, his rating put him fourth in the league, behind only Daniel Jones, Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray. 

The exciting thing for the Raiders is there is clear room for him to grow in that area. 

While Carr was much improved pushing the ball downfield, his rapport with Raiders speedster Henry Ruggs III still needs work. 

Carr had 54 completions of at least 20 yards but first-round pick Ruggs registered only eight receptions of 20 yards or more. 

The average distance on those Ruggs receptions was 40.4 yards, putting him fifth among receivers to have had at least five catches of 20-plus yards. 

If Carr and Ruggs can develop their downfield chemistry, opposing defenses will have more reason to fear the passing game, potentially opening things up further for Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller underneath and a running game that underwhelmed in 2020. 

Though Josh Jacobs scored 12 touchdowns, the Raiders averaged 4.19 yards per rush, the 19th-best mark in the NFL.

There will be onus on Jacobs and the offensive line to improve drastically in that regard but, should Carr make further progress going deep and force defenses to focus on the pass, everyone else's jobs will become a little bit easier.

Defense

Save for occasional flashes - the shackling of Mahomes and the Chiefs in the second half of their Week 5 win at Arrowhead Stadium being the most prominent example - the Raiders defense failed to live up to the significant investment in that side of the ball.

Indeed, the Raiders continued to struggle to contain opposing offenses in 2020, allowing 5.99 yards per play, the seventh-worst mark in the NFL.

They were one of just six teams to give up over seven yards per pass play, with the Raiders' issues on defense leading to the firing of coordinator Paul Guenther.

Las Vegas will hope that Gus Bradley - Guenther's replacement - will be the man to oversee a turnaround.

To do that, Bradley will need to help deliver a significant upturn in production from the Raiders' pass rush. They finished the season with 21 sacks - just three teams had fewer - with edge rusher Maxx Crosby seeing his numbers drop from 10 sacks as a rookie to seven in 2020.

A first-round pick in 2019, Clelin Ferrell had just 2.5 sacks, with the Raiders' inability to get consistent pressure a factor in them allowing a passer rating of 108.9 on opponent throws of 21 air yards or more.

That number also raises questions about a young and exploitable secondary that has found it difficult to produce turnovers.

Las Vegas ranked 30th in takeaways with a meagre 15, with their 10 interceptions tied for 23rd.

Having consistently failed to pressure quarterbacks and to take the ball away, there is significant room for improvement on defense, but the Raiders do not have the financial flexibility with which to add players who can aid their cause.

Offseason

Even after one of the best seasons of his career, there has again been talk about the Raiders trading Carr in the hope of finding an upgrade at quarterback. 

The more likely scenario is that the Raiders parlay Marcus Mariota's one appearance last season, in which he excelled in relief of the injured Carr, into a trade that can net them more draft capital. 

With the Raiders poised to be over $9million above an assumed salary cap of $185m, potentially limiting their options in free agency, those extra draft picks would be welcomed. 

Regardless of how many picks the Raiders end up with, the areas of need are obvious. 

Pass-rush help both on the edge and on the interior of the defensive line is a must, as is an infusion of athleticism at linebacker, last year's free-agent signings Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski proving ill-equipped to help the Raiders stop the threats posed by modern passing attacks. 

Making those additions to the front seven will be crucial to the progress Gruden and the Raiders hope they can make in the fourth year of his tenure. 

Should the Raiders fail to identify the correct players at those spots, the ceiling of this team may again be limited in 2021 irrespective of any further strides from Carr.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.