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Carr leads Raiders to victory in Vegas

by The Associated Press | September 22, 2020 at 4:27 a.m.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (right) passes over New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98) during the first half Monday in Las Vegas. Carr threw for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 34-24 victory for the Raiders. (AP/Isaac Brekken)

LAS VEGAS-- Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders delivered a performance worthy of their fancy new home.

Too bad none of their fans were able to see it in person.

Carr threw three touchdown passes and the Raiders gave their new fans in Las Vegas plenty to celebrate even if they weren't allowed in the stadium by beating the New Orleans Saints 34-24 on Monday night.

The new $2 billion stadium in the desert held its first event following the Raiders' move from Oakland without any fans because of the covid-19 pandemic.

"Hopefully our fans, even though they couldn't be here tonight, hopefully see something they like," Coach Jon Gruden said. "We can't wait to get them back in this place. It's such a great place to see a game."

That was one of the few things that didn't go right for the Raiders (2-0), who overcame an early 10-point deficit to the Saints (1-1) and opened the season with two consecutive victories for the fourth time in the past 25 seasons.

Carr was in complete control for most of the night, completing 28 of 38 passes for 282 yards. Darren Waller caught 12 of the passes for 103 yards as Carr's most trusted option.

Carr engineered four straight scoring drives in the second and third quarters to turn a 10-0 deficit into a 24-17 lead.

"Derek Carr was awesome tonight," Gruden said. "He made some some plays today that very few guys that I've coached could make. I tip my hat to him."

Picking apart the New Orleans defense with short passes, the Raiders controlled the clock and kept Drew Brees and the Saints off the field. Las Vegas converted 10 of 17 third downs and also went for it successfully twice on fourth down.

The Raiders even survived a fumbled pitch by Jalen Richard by stopping the Saints and then scoring on the ensuing drive on a 20-yard run by Richard.

After being gashed on the ground early, the Raiders did a good job against Brees, who struggled without his injured No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas.

Brees went 26 for 38 for 312 yards with 1 touchdown and a key interception at the end of the first half that set up a field goal for the Raiders.

"If there's one thing I wish I could take back from the game it would be that," Brees said. "Otherwise, we had a lot of metal errors. I felt like we were not playing as fast and just as sure and confident."

After the Saints cut the deficit to 31-24 on Alvin Kamara's second TD run, the Raiders took advantage of a pass interference call against Janoris Jenkins and then iced the game with a 54-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson.

"We got to do a better job coaching," Coach Sean Payton said. "I don't think it's going to be a real pleasant film to watch -- for some of our star players as well."

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones, left, catches a touchdown against New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones, left, catches a touchdown against New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
The Las Vegas Raiders kick off to the New Orleans Saints to start an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
The Las Vegas Raiders kick off to the New Orleans Saints to start an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Nicholas Morrow (50) celebrates after making an interception against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Nicholas Morrow (50) celebrates after making an interception against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) tackles Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) tackles Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden motions to his players during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden motions to his players during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold (45) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold (45) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, speak with quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, speak with quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (10) breaks a tackle from Las Vegas Raiders free safety Erik Harris during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (10) breaks a tackle from Las Vegas Raiders free safety Erik Harris during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
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