OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Derek Carr threw a touchdown pass on the opening drive of the season, rookie Josh Jacobs ran for two scores and the Oakland Raiders responded to a tumultuous week surrounding former receiver Antonio Brown by beating the Denver Broncos 24-16 on Monday night.
The Raiders (1-0) took out all the frustration over the drama surrounding Brown with a convincing win over the AFC West rival Broncos (0-1). The offensive line cleared holes for Jacobs and protected Carr, and the defense harassed Joe Flacco into three sacks and kept Denver out of the end zone until 2:15 remained in the game.
The win spoiled the Denver debuts for Flacco and coach Vic Fangio and ended the NFL’s longest opening weekend winning streak at seven games.
The final scheduled home opener at the Coliseum before the Raiders planned move to Las Vegas next season began with derisive chants from the boisterous fans toward Brown. Those only grew louder after each successful pass play as both the fans and Raiders players seemed relieved to have the monthlong saga over Brown in the past.
He arrived with optimism following a trade from Pittsburgh in March. But a bizarre foot injury, fight with the NFL over his helmet, skipped practices, multiple fines, a run-in with general manager Mike Mayock and odd social media posts ultimately led to the decision to release the game’s most prolific receiver two days before the opener.
Brown agreed to a deal with New England just hours after being granted his wish to be released by Oakland on Saturday and the Raiders wasted little time proving they had moved on.
They took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in 10 plays. Carr completed all five passes to four receivers, capped by an 8-yard TD to Tyrell Williams.
Oakland added another score in the second quarter when Jacobs capped a 95-yard drive with a 2-yard run to make it 14-0. Jacobs scored again in the fourth quarter, becoming the first Raider to run for two TDs in his debut.