- The Las Vegas Raiders opened Allegiant Stadium with a 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints.
- This was the Raiders first home game since moving from Oakland during the offseason.
- The Raiders are being forced to play the 2020 regular season without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An excellent showing by quarterback Derek Carr helped propel the Las Vegas Raiders to a 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints in their first home game in their newly adopted city. They got some help from a shabby performance by New Orleans’ Drew Brees who looked more like a 41 year old quarterback playing out the string than he did one of the NFL’s top signal callers.
Carr threw three touchdown passes as Las Vegas came back from an early deficit to top the Saints. He finished with 282 yards on 28 of 38 passing with three touchdown passes against no interceptions. John Jacobs added 88 yards rushing on 27 carries for the home team. Drew Brees, meanwhile, put up 312 yards passing but threw only one touchdown pass along with a costly interception that allowed Las Vegas to go to halfime with the score tied.
New Orleans scored the first ten points of the game, opening the scoring with a 31 yard Wil Lutz field goal and adding an Alvin Kamara 1 yard rushing TD near the end of the first quarter. Las Vegas got on the board midway through the second quarter on Alec Ingold’s 3 yard touchdown reception from Derek Carr. The Saints got the next touchdown to reestablish their 10 point margin as Drew Brees found Jared Cook on a 6 yard touchdown pass. Las Vegas clawed back, once again trimming the deficit to a field goal on Carr’s second touchdown pass of the night.
On the next series, Brees would throw a costly interception that allowed Las Vegas to drive downfield and tie the game with a Daniel Carlson 28 yard FG as time expired in the first half. From that point it was all Las Vegas, with Carr hitting Darren Waller for the only score of the third quarter to give the Raiders a 24-17 lead. Jalen Richard’s 20 yard run midway through the fourth quarter made it 31-17 for the home team. The Saints managed to get within 7 late in the game but Daniel Carlson’s 54 yard field goal with just over a minute to go put the game out of reach.
After the game, Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden gave a shoutout to the Las Vegas fans as he praised the team’s imposing new home stadium:
“Hopefully our fans, even though they couldn’t be here tonight, hopefully see something they like. We can’t wait to get them back in this place. It’s such a great place to see a game.”
Quarterback Carr shared his love for the Raiders organization and suggested that the team has endured through some ‘hard times’:
“This organization means everything to me. They’ve stuck behind me through some hard times. Through some times our team, we struggled, there’s no doubt about it. But when you can get on the other side of things, be 2-0, as the Las Vegas Raiders, that’s a pretty cool thing.”
The national sports media appeared more fixated on the fact that neither head coach wore a mask than anything else. After the game, the Raiders’ Gruden apologized while revealing that he had suffered from the coronavirus at some point:
“I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. I’m calling the plays. I just want to communicate in these situations. I apologize. If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine.”
As promised, Raiders’ owner Mark Davis wasn’t at the game. He’s pledged that he won’t attend games until fans are allowed in the stadium. Instead, he held an event at the team’s Henderson practice facility that raised $500,000 for two prominent local charities, Opportunity Village and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.