Raiders win opener 34-30 at Carolina, Josh Jacobs with 3 TD’s

Raiders

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Josh Jacobs ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns, Derek Carr threw for 239 yards and a score and the Las Vegas Raiders hung on to beat the Carolina Panthers 34-30 on Sunday to spoil Matt Rhule’s coaching debut.

Jacobs’ 6-yard run around the right end with 4:14 left put the Raiders ahead for good after they’d surrendered a 12-point fourth quarter lead.

Carolina had a chance to take the lead, but the Panthers handed off to fullback Alex Armah — instead of All-Pro Christian McCaffrey — on fourth-and-inches at midfield, He was stopped at the line, turning the ball over on downs with 1:11 left. McCaffrey racked up 134 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns for Carolina.

After going three-and-out on their first drive, the Raiders scored on five straight possessions to take a 27-15 lead in a game played in front of fewer than 50 guests of the Panthers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Carolina battled back with McCaffrey getting 11 touches for 64 yards on one drive and scoring on a 3-yard run. After one of only three defensive stops by the Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater found Robby Anderson for a 75-yard strike on a blown coverage to take a 30-27 lead.

Bridgewater, who replaced Cam Newton as the starting QB, finished 22 of 34 for 270 yards and one touchdown in his Carolina debut. Anderson, a free agent pickup from the Jets, had six catches for 115 yards.

Carolina’s young secondary struggled at times, with rookie cornerback Tony Pride missing one assignment that resulted in a 45-yard gain for rookie Henry Ruggs III. Later, he allowed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor.

The only onlookers allowed in were about 40 staff and partners of the team, who took in the game from some end-zone seats.

RACIAL JUSTICE

Eight Panthers knelt for the national anthem, including Bridgewater, while nine others raised their first in protest of racial injustice before the game at Bank of America Stadium. The Raiders stood side-by-side for the national anthem with no demonstrations.

Among the other Carolina players who knelt for the anthem were Kawann Short, Anderson, Stephen Weatherly, Yetur Gross-Matos, Pride Jr., Bravvion Roy and Brian Burns. Linebacker Shaq Thompson was among those who raised his first.

Both teams stood earlier for the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

INJURIES

Raiders: Lost both right tackles to injuries with Trent Brown leaving with a calf injury in first quarter and Sam Young in the third quarter with a groin issue.

Panthers: No. 1 cornerback Donte Jackson left with an ankle injury early in the first quarter and did not return. He was replaced by Rasul Douglas.

UP NEXT:

Raiders: host the Saints on Monday night, Sept. 21.

Panthers: visit Buccaneers on Sunday.

This thread will be updated throughout the game

KICKOFF! Sunny and 79 degrees. Very humid, 85 percent humidity

FIRST QUARTER: Carolina kicker Joey Slye hits a 47 yard field goal with 10:07 left in first. PANTHERS 3, RAIDERS 0.

Josh Jacobs with 1 yard run, his first TD ever on the road (had 7 at home last year). RAIDERS 7, PANTHERS 3 with 6 minutes left in quarter.

Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey with a 3 yard TD run, PAT fails, PANTHERS 9, RAIDERS 7. :57 seconds left in quarter.

SECOND QUARTER: Raiders All-Pro offensive lineman Trent Brown leaves the game with calf injury.

Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 20 yard field goal with 8:13 left in first half. RAIDERS 10, PANTHERS 9.

Panthers Joey Slye kicks a 46 yard field goal with 5:03 left in the first half. PANTHERS 12, RAIDERS 10.

Raiders rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III leaves game with apparent ankle injury late in first half.

Raiders take lead on 21 yard TD pass Derek Carr to Nelson Agholor. RAIDERS 17, PANTHERS 12 with 1:52 left in first half.

Carolina’s Joey Slye with 31 yard field goal as time expires. RAIDERS 17, PANTHERS 15 at halftime.

Derek Carr, 13-18 passing, 1TD – Josh Jacobs, 11 carries, 56 yards, 1TD – Henry Ruggs III, 3 catches, 55 yards.

THIRD QUARTER: Carolina Panthers to receive kickoff. Henry Ruggs III back on field for Raiders.

Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 54 yard field goal early in the 3rd quarter. RAIDERS 20, PANTHERS 15.

Raiders Josh Jacobs with his second TD run of the game, 7 yards up the middle. RAIDERS 27, PANTHERS 15 with 5:29 left in 3rd.

FOURTH QUARTER: Raiders linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski out with an arm injury.

Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey with a 4 yard TD run. RAIDERS 27, PANTHERS 22 with 12:32 left in 4th quarter.

Panthers Teddy Bridgewater to Robby Anderson, 75 yard TD pass play. PANTHERS 30, RAIDERS 27. 8:29 left in regulation.

Josh Jacobs with his 3rd TD run of the game. RAIDERS 34-30 with 4:08 left in 4th quarter.

FINAL: RAIDERS 34, PANTHERS 30

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has no idea what to expect from the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Nor does his coaching staff.

The Panthers have a new head coach and two new coordinators – all coming from the college level – and a new quarterback. With no preseason games, the Raiders staff doesn’t have game tape to watch, no tendencies to focus on and thus no clear picture on how to game plan for Carolina.

”You start to try to meld all of that together to guess what you might be seeing. That’s a difficult challenge,” Mayock said. ”It’s a huge challenge for any team Week 1, but when you’re talking about a college coach coming in, some pro coaches, other college coaches, new personnel, I think our coaching staff has one of the toughest challenges in Week 1.”

The Panthers hired Matt Rhule away from Baylor as head coach, and he brought defensive coordinator Phil Snow – and several other Bears assistants – along with him to Carolina as part of a rebuilding project. On offense, the Panthers hired coveted coordinator Joe Brady, who helped LSU to a national championship last season.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said his staff has spent time watching past game film of the Baylor Bears and LSU Tigers, but adds it’s still going to be a challenge.

”No preseason, no history gives you very little chance to do the standard preparation – but we have to adapt,” Gruden said.

Panthers’ 1,000-yard receiver D.J. Moore said the element of surprise may be an advantage for Carolina early in the season.

”Nobody knows what we are going to come out and do – and that’s the scary thing for an opposing team,” Moore said.

But Gruden added: ”But we’ve added players of our own that they haven’t seen either.”

One thing the Raiders can expect is a full dose of Christian McCaffrey, the most used running back in the league over the past three seasons.

Carolina’s All-Pro running back became the third player in NFL history to surpass 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season in 2019 and established himself as one of the most dynamic players in the league.

”They’re going to get the ball to him any way they can,” Gruden said.

Here are some things to watch on Sunday:

BRIDGEWATER’S DEBUT

Teddy Bridgewater finally has a permanent starting job again in the NFL four years after a devastating knee injury, replacing Cam Newton in Carolina. He has some solid playmakers to work with including McCaffrey, who caught a franchise-record 116 passes last season, Moore, and speedsters Curtis Samuel and ex-Jet Robby Anderson. Carolina’s offense should resemble that of the Saints, with Bridgewater looking to get the ball out quickly to his playmakers thus nullifying the opponent’s pass rush.

Brady coached Bridgewater in New Orleans in 2018, but he is sure to add a few wrinkles from his time at LSU. McCaffrey said it was fun to watch what Brady did at LSU and he’s ”extremely excited” to see how he calls plays in Carolina.

RELIABLE CARR

Derek Carr is set to start his seventh straight season opener at quarterback for the Raiders, the longest streak in franchise history. Carr is coming off a season when he set career highs in completion rate (70.4%), yards (4,054), yards per attempt (7.9), and passer rating (100.8). But the Raiders scored fewer than 20 points per game for the third straight year, joining Buffalo and Miami as the only teams to do that. ”I have a lot to prove to myself. I have a lot to prove to my organization,” Carr said. ”I am going to be completely honest with you, I’m tired of being disrespected.”

ROOKIE RECEIVERS

The Raiders are set to start a pair of rookie receivers for the first time since 2009. With Tyrell Williams out for the season with a shoulder injury, third-rounder Bryan Edwards joins first-rounder Henry Ruggs III in the projected starting lineup. The only other time the Raiders started two rookie receivers in the opener was in 2009 when Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy did it. The only other rookie receivers to start the opener for the Raiders since the merger are Cliff Branch (1972), Jessie Hester (1985), Rod Streater (2012) and Amari Cooper (2015).

RAIDERS’ OVERHAULED DEFENSE

The Raiders have five new projected starters on a defense that has struggled at all levels since Paul Guenther took over as coordinator in 2018. The Raiders rank 31st in points per game allowed (28.7) and last in yards per play allowed (6.21) in that span. Maliek Collins was signed to bolster the inside rush, first-round cornerback Damon Arnette steps in as a starter and Johnathan Abram is back at strong safety after a season-ending injury in last year’s opener. The biggest changes came at linebacker where Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski were brought in to help improve the coverage against running backs and tight ends. ”It looks like day and night, truthfully,” Abram said. ”We’ve gotten faster on every single position on offense and defense. But the linebacker core does stick out.”

PANTHERS, TOO

The Panthers allowed a league-high 5.2 yards per carry last season and an eye-popping 32 touchdowns on the ground. That prompted the Panthers to part ways with defensive tackles Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe and Vernon Butler and pass rush specialist Mario Addison. They also spent all seven draft picks on defensive players. Carolina gets two-time defensive tackle Kawann Short back from a shoulder injury in 2019 and will pair him with rookie first-round draft pick Derrick Brown inside. Promising second-year player Brian Burns has big-time potential and will join free agent pickup Stephen Weatherly as the starting defensive ends.

NO FANS ALLOWED

There will be no fans at the game because of the coronavirus.

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