LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found inactive tight end Darren Waller on the sideline during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles to let him know “how weird” it was not having his top target on the field.
“I joked around, ‘that’s 20 targets I gotta disburse to some other targets now,’” Carr told Waller.
Carr threw for 323 yards, completing 31 of 34 pass attempts with one touchdown, and Las Vegas defeated the Eagles, 33-22.
Carr’s 91.1% completion percentage was a career best and the second-best single-game percentage in NFL history behind Drew Brees (96.7%), on a minimum of 30 attempts.
“We can all see the relationship that him and (offensive coordinator) Greg Olson have running this offense, it’s just really coming to fruition,” Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia said. “Off the field, Derek is the voice of the Raiders right now. The players always want to listen to him. … He’s a tremendous leader both on and off the field.”
The Raiders (5-2) outgained Philadelphia 443-358 in a dominating performance that saw Las Vegas score on five straight possessions after its first series ended with Carr being intercepted inside the Eagles 5-yard line.
It was Las Vegas’ second straight win with Olson calling the offensive plays, and since former coach Jon Gruden resigned Oct. 11 because of offensive emails he sent before being hired in 2018.
Under Bisaccia, the Raiders have outscored Denver and Philadelphia 67-46 collectively, and outgained both 869-779.
The Eagles (2-5) lost their second straight and for the fifth time in six games.
Joining Waller on the sideline after running for 29 yards on six attempts including one touchdown, was running back Josh Jacobs, who suffered a chest injury.
Stepping up in the Pro Bowlers’ places were tight end Foster Moreau, who had a career-high six receptions for 60 yards, and running back Kenyan Drake, who rushed for 69 yards on 14 attempts, including one touchdown.
“Our team responded to the challenge of not having Darren and certainly Foster stepped up and played really well,” Bisaccia said. “It was a complete team effort from start to finish.”
Prior to Carr’s second red-zone interception of the season, the Eagles marched 62 yards in eight plays on the game’s opening drive. Jalen Hurts found rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell over the middle for a 13-yard score.
Las Vegas scored the first of its points during a 30-0 run on its second possession early in the second quarter. Carr hit Moreau for an 18-yard touchdown. Jacobs added an 8-yard TD when he scampered around the left edge on the Raiders’ next possession.
Four different Raiders scored touchdowns as Drake and Bryan Edwards found the end zone in the third quarter.
And while the Raiders’ offensive line was carving out its best performance of the season – it didn’t allow any sacks – Las Vegas’ pass rush continued to haunt quarterbacks. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had two sacks, the 12th multi-sack game of his career and second such performance this season.
After its touchdown, the Eagles’ next six possessions ended with a punt, punt, fumble, end of the first half, punt and a fumble. Las Vegas had takeaways in back-to-back games for the first time since doing it in three straight in 2019.
“We ran the ball on these guys,” Philadelphia tight end Dallas Goedert said. “We knew what they were going to do defensively. We started the game with a great drive. We just got to convert and keep drives going throughout the game.”
It was a reunion of former national champions, as Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (2017-20) and offensive lineman Landon Dickerson (2019-20) were teammates at Alabama with Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (2016-18), wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (2017-19) and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood (2017-20). Combined, the quintet has seven national championship rings, with Smith and Leatherwood earning two, and Dickerson, Jacobs and Ruggs each with one.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
Jason Kelce has started 112 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak among NFL centers. Kelce, who expressed advice for disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, saying: “Just play better, man” last week, was called for a critical unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a third down. The Eagles punted one down later, and the Raiders extended their lead to 23 points on their next drive.
Eagles: Miles Sanders limped off late in the first quarter, barely able to put pressure on his right leg, after being tackled by Denzel Perryman. Sanders did not return due to an ankle injury. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was hurt in the third quarter with a back injury.
Raiders: Jacobs left late in the second quarter with a chest injury, after his touchdown, and did not return.
Eagles: visit Detroit next Sunday
Raiders: have their bye next week, and won’t play until Nov. 7 at the New York Giants.
FIRST QUARTER: Raiders without All-Pro tight end Darren Waller, out with a bad ankle. Raiders win toss and defer to second half. Eagles have first possession.
Eagle TD J.Hurts pass short middle to K.Gainwell for 13 yards. EAGLES 7, RAIDERS 0, 11:08 left in quarter.
SECOND QUARTER: Raiders TD pass Derek Carr to Foster Moreau for 18 yards. RAIDERS 7, EAGLES 7, 11:14 left in quarter.
Raiders TD Josh Jacobs with an 8 yard run. RAIDERS 14, EAGLES 7 with 1:38 left until halftime.
Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 28 yard FG. RAIDERS 17, EAGLES 7 at halftime.
THIRD QUARTER: Raiders TD Kenyan Drake over right guard for 4 yards. RAIDERS 24, EAGLES 7, 11 mins. left in quarter.
Raiders TD Derek Carr pass short left to Bryan Edwards for 1 yard. RAIDERS 30, EAGLES 7. 6 mins left in quarter.
FOURTH QUARTER: Eagles TD B. Scott 1 yard run. RAIDERS 30, EAGLES 14. early in the quarter.
Raiders Daniel Carlson FG. RAIDERS 33, EAGLES 14. midway through quarter.
Eagles TD J.Hurts pass short right to J.Reagor for 17 yards
FINAL: RAIDERS 33, EAGLES 22
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Las Vegas Raiders season was in danger of spiraling out of control following two straight losses and the resignation of coach Jon Gruden when interim coach Rich Bisaccia told his players to meet on their own.
That meeting last Saturday night in Denver was followed by a win the next day against the Broncos, putting the Raiders (4-2) back on track in the AFC heading into Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Eagles (2-4).
”Through the craziness of whatever you want to call what we’ve been through, we’ve gotten closer,” quarterback Derek Carr said. ”We’re more unified and I think it’s a beautiful thing that something crazy could happen and a group of men could be even more unified and say, `You know what, we are going to lock arms even tighter.’ … Hopefully it can carry us past just one win. Hopefully it can carry us the whole way.”
The Raiders showed resilience when they bonded together after Gruden’s sudden resignation Oct. 11 because of offensive emails he sent before being hired in 2018.
They put together their most complete game of the season with the defense generating four takeaways and Carr sparking a big-play offense with 341 yards passing and two TDs in the 34-24 win.
There was also a calmness around the team
”Man, the sideline was just so, it was like, there wasn’t any anxiety,” running back Josh Jacobs said. ”It was weird. It was like everybody was calm, you didn’t have somebody cussing at you, or going crazy at the refs. None of that. Something bad happened and it was like, `OK, I’m not harping on it. Next play.”’
GET OFF THE FIELD
The Eagles have the NFL’s third-worst defense on third downs, allowing opponents to convert 46.2% in those situations. The average distance to go on third down against Philadelphia has been 6.6 yards.
”We’ve been in a lot in third-and-shorts,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said. ”How do you become a good third-down defense? Get it to third-and-long. Well, to do that, you’ve got to play pretty good on first and second down. … That really falls on me, how I call the game because when I’m aggressive and I call it aggressively, our guys perform. When we have been aggressive (on) early downs, there’s a pretty good clip where we’re getting it to where we want it to be on third down.”
Carr did a good job pushing the ball downfield last week with his average pass going a season-high 11.4 yards. That contributed to seven pass plays that gained at least 25 yards, the most in a game since at least 1991 as Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards and others made contested catches for big plays.
”These guys have proven over and over and over again that they’ll compete for the football when I throw it up to them,” Carr said. ”Just like I said in training camp, I’m going to give these guys chances. I think we’ve proven that I’m going to give them chances and the thing that they get the most credit for is either they come down with it or nobody does.”
The Eagles have scored just four offensive touchdowns in the first half this season and 11 in the second half, including seven in the fourth quarter. They rallied from a 15-6 deficit at halftime to defeat Carolina 21-18 two weeks ago. Last week, they came back from a 21-point deficit against Tampa Bay only to lose 28-22.
”We fail to be consistent enough to win,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. ”It’s all things we can control and that’s why we’re eager for this week. I know we have everything we need here. I believe that. It’s just a matter of doing it, just going out there and executing.”
Hurts’ inconsistency is part of the problem. He has missed several open throws, especially long ones, but also creates big plays at times.
”You go back and look at the tape and you talk through it mechanically, fundamentals and all that stuff, and then you just keep working it in practice to get him better,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said.
The Raiders’ last game had a Crimson Tide feel to it. All four TDs for Las Vegas were scored by former Alabama players with Kenyan Drake getting two, and Jacobs and Ruggs scoring once each.
It marked the seventh time since the merger that three players from the same school scored TDs in the same game for one team.
”Last game, it felt like an Alabama Raider day,” Jacobs said.