EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Xavier McKinney returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown early in the second half and picked off another errant throw by Derek Carr late as the New York Giants added to the Raiders’ post-bye woes with a 23-16 victory over Las Vegas on Sunday.
Daniel Jones threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram and Graham Gano added three field goals — the last after McKinney’s second pick — for New York (3-6). Filling in for the injured Saquon Barkley, former Raider Devontae Booker ran for 99 yards before leaving late with a hip injury.
Carr threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow for the Raiders (5-3), who are an NFL-worst 3-16 after a week off over the last 19 years. The usually accurate quarterback also missed a wide-open Darren Waller for another score just before halftime as the Raiders settled for three short field goals by Daniel Carlson, who also missed a 25-yarder in the second half.
Carr, who was 30 of 46 for 296 yards, drove Las Vegas to the Giants 13 in the final minutes. On second-and-10, he was strip-sacked by Quincy Roche and Leonard Williams recovered the loose ball to ice the game.
The game was the first for Las Vegas since receiver Henry Ruggs III slammed his car into another vehicle early Tuesday morning, creating an inferno that killed a woman and her dog. The 22-year-old player was released by the team hours later.
Prosecutors say Ruggs was driving at 156 mph and had a blood-alcohol content twice Nevada’s legal limit. He faces felony charges that carry a potential decades-long prison sentence.
The loss was also the first for interim coach Rich Bisaccia, who last month replaced Jon Gruden, who resigned after it was revealed that he wrote homophobic and misogynistic emails between 2011 and 2018.
McKinney’s go-ahead score came on the third play of the second half with the Raiders facing a third-and-7 at their own 35. Renfrow ran an out pattern in front of the Las Vegas bench and McKinney undercut the route, caught the ball as the receiver fell and had a clear field to the end zone. The safety had missed practice this week while in the COVID-19 protocol but was cleared to play on Friday.
The Raiders took a 13-10 halftime lead in a game in which each team scored a touchdown on its opening possession. Jones hit Engram to cap a seven-play, 75 yard drive to start the game and Carr and Renfrow combined from 2 yards out to cap a 73-yard Raiders march.
Carlson of Las Vegas sandwiched field goals of 25 and 32 yards around a 35-yarder by Gano for the other scoring. The 32-yard field goal came one play after Carr missed Waller alone at the back of the end zone.
Raiders: CB Keisean Nixon and LB Nick Kwiatkoski left the game with ankle injuries.
Giants: TE Kaden Smith was evaluated for a concussion in the first half.
Raiders: Return home to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
Giants: After a bye, travel to Tampa Bay for a Monday night game on Nov. 22.
This page will be updated throughout the game
KICKOFF: Raiders win the toss and defer to the second half. Giants get the ball to start the game.
FIRST QUARTER: Giants touchdown Daniel Jones pass to Evan Engram to the right for 30 yards. GIANTS 7, RAIDERS 0 early in quarter.
Raiders touchdown Derek Carr pass to Hunter Renfrow to the right for 2 yards. RAIDERS 7, GIANTS 7 midway through quarter.
SECOND QUARTER: Raiders Daniel Carson with a 25 yard FG. RAIDERS 10, GIANTS 7 early in quarter.
Giants Graham Gano kicks a 35-yard field goal. RAIDERS 10, GIANTS 10 late in quarter.
Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 32 yard FG. RAIDERS 13, GIANTS 10, end of quarter
THIRD QUARTER: Derek Carr pass intercepted to the left. Xavier McKinney intercepted Derek Carr for 41 yard touchdown. GIANTS 17, RAIDERS 13 early in quarter.
Raiders Daniel Carlson kicked a 25-yard field goal. GIANTS 17, RAIDERS 16 midway though quarter
FOURTH QUARTER: Giants Graham Gano kicks a 32-yard field goal. GIANTS 20, RAIDERS 16 early in quarter.
Giants Graham Gano kicked a 38-yard field goal. GIANTS 23, RAIDERS 16. late in quarter.
This is the pregame story
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants are preparing to play Sunday with one dealing with tragedy and the other COVID-19 issues.
Coming off their bye week, the AFC West-leading Raiders (5-2) were stunned when wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was involved in a fatal car crash early Tuesday morning that killed a woman and her dog.
The 22-year-old player was released by the team hours later. Prosecutors say Ruggs was driving at 156 mph and had a blood-alcohol content twice Nevada’s legal limit.
The crash came less than a month after Jon Gruden stepped down as coach because of disparaging emails he sent before being hired by the team in 2018.
“These are two totally different situations,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “Some similar emotions, some very different emotions. But the message has to stay the same. Honestly, I don’t want it to right now. If I’m selfish, I don’t want it to. I want to say a lot of different things. But we have a game this week and I’ve got a job to do, and so do the guys in that locker room.”
The Giants (2-6) have been dealing with COVID-19 issues since returning home Tuesday following a loss to the Chiefs on Monday night. Practices have been delayed and some coaches and players sent home and then told to come back because of numerous false positive test results.
Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams said while it’s unfortunate some players have been forced to miss practice, he said the team dealt with the same issues during the pandemic last season.
“Because we have experience, we know not to let that be a distraction,” said Williams, who’s tied for the team lead with 5 1/2 sacks.
While they have split their last two games, the Giants defense has played its best games the past two weeks. It will be in for another tough one against Carr and the Raiders’ No 2 ranked passing offense.
The Raiders are off to their best start since 2016 and interim coach Rich Bisaccia is looking for his third straight win since replacing Gruden. But Las Vegas has an NFL-worst 3-15 mark coming off the bye over the past 18 seasons and has been outscored by 20.5 points per game in losing the last four.
Big play Zay
With Ruggs released, Zay Jones will get a much bigger opportunity as the starting receiver alongside Bryan Edwards.
Jones has played just 21% of the offensive snaps this season with six catches for 115 yards and a TD. But he has made the most of his chances with the winning TD in overtime of the season opener against Baltimore and a key 43-yard catch against the Eagles two weeks ago.
“We have a high expectation for what Zay can bring us, just like what he’s brought us up to this point,” Bisaccia said. “So, we’re all going to get opportunities throughout the course of our careers and our time here, and again it’s how we respond to the opportunity given to us.”
With Saquon Barkley sidelined since spraining an ankle against Dallas on Oct. 8, former Raider Devontae Booker has become the Giants’ No. 1 running back. He had a career-best 125 total yards against Kansas City on Monday, rushing for 60 yards and catching five passes for 65 yards.
Booker, who signed with the Giants as a free agent in the offseason, has 216 yards rushing and 17 catches for 138 yards. He has three touchdowns — two rushing and one receiving. He had three TDs with Las Vegas last season.
“He has hit the ground running and last week, Monday night, he made a number of big plays for us and got us down the field,” Giants tight end Evan Engram said of Booker.
Post bye blues
Getting a week off during the season hasn’t treated the Raiders well. Bisaccia met with about 15 players on how to get better results this year.
“We have to stay on top of that and we have to hold each other to that standard because if we don’t then we’ll be one of those teams that goes the wrong way, and we don’t want to be that,” Carr said. “Nothing is promised if you just do things the right way, but it sure does help if we can look at things in the past and say, ‘Well, I think this will help us be better.’”
Bradberry’s new role
Raiders tight end Darren Waller, who has 33 catches for 378 yards and two TDs, is expected back after missing one game with an ankle injury. The Giants might have a surprise for him.
New York had great success playing big cornerback James Bradberry against Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce, limiting him to four catches for 27 yards.
Giants defensive coordinator Pat Graham said two or three players will get a chance to cover Waller, including Bradberry.
“Any time you’ve got a big corner, their skillset working with receivers or going against receivers, and then you add that size element versus a tight end,” Graham said, “I think it potentially helps us.”
Off the edge
The Raiders’ much improved defense has been led all season by edge rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby.
Ngakoue has multiple sacks in two of the past three games. In Denver — the game in between the other two — Crosby got three sacks of his own. Both players rank in the top 10 in quarterback pressures this season, according to Pro Football Focus.