The final game of Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season didn’t disappoint.
The Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders delivered an unforgettable performance Monday night, complete with game-changing plays, costly fumbles, head-scratching penalties and two victory celebrations.
Here’s a rundown of some of the best — and worst — plays from Las Vegas’ stunning 33-27 overtime victory:
What just happened?
The final few plays of overtime might be some of the most unbelievable in NFL history.
After winning the coin toss to begin the extra period, the Raiders marched down the field, seemingly winning the game on a 33-yard pass from quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Bryan Edwards that was initially ruled a touchdown. But Edwards was marked down just shy of the goal line.
Before the play went under review, the teams even met at midfield to congratulate each other, thinking the game was over. When they returned to field, Carr was stopped short on a quarterback sneak on first-and-goal. After a timeout, Raiders rookie right tackle Alex Leatherwood jumped on Carr’s hard count and was flagged for a false start, moving the Raiders back 5 yards to the Ravens’ 5 ½-yard-line. After an incomplete pass on second-and-goal, Carr rifled a throw to former Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead IV just in front of the end zone that went through Snead’s hands, ricocheted off Ravens safety DeShon Elliott’s helmet and landed in the waiting arms of cornerback Anthony Averrett for an interception.
The Ravens, somehow, had life. But just as soon as that glimmer of hope appeared, it was dashed by a fumble by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
On third-and-7, Jackson dropped back to pass as the pocket collapsed around him. Defensive end Carl Nassib came sprinting around the right edge, blew past running back Ty’Son Williams and sacked Jackson, forcing the fumble that would ultimately cost the Ravens the game.
But the Raiders refused to win easily. After a 1-yard run by Kenyan Drake, coach Jon Gruden sent out his kicking team to attempt the game-winning field goal on second-and-9 from the 26-yard-line. However, the special teams unit wasn’t ready, so a delay-of-game penalty moved Las Vegas back 5 yards. Gruden sent the offense back out on the field facing a second-and-14. Carr dropped back to pass and heaved a deep throw to wide receiver Zay Jones, who beat cornerback Marlon Humphrey off the line of scrimmage and was left wide-open as the Ravens blitzed Carr to try and knock the Raiders out of the field-goal range.
Jones waltzed into the end zone for the game-winning score, kicking off the second victory celebration of the night.
Jackson makes it happen
Jackson often had to scramble for his life Monday night, but he still found a way to make plenty of highlight-reel plays.
Perhaps none was better than his 28-yard scramble on second-and-10 with two minutes to go in regulation that pushed the Ravens into field-goal range, setting up Justin Tucker’s 47-yard field goal with 42 seconds left that gave Baltimore a 27-24 lead.
Jackson also showed off his arm, throwing a 49-yard pass to wide receiver Sammy Watkins with just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter that set up the go-ahead touchdown run by recently signed running back Latavius Murray.
Earlier in the game, Jackson showed off his running ability with a series of jaw-dropping scrambles, including one that led to a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in the second quarter to give the Ravens a 14-0 lead.
A big scramble for a first down in the third quarter left a Raiders defender grasping at air after an ankle-breaking juke.
He set the tone early in the first quarter with a big run for a first down.
Jackson, who is one 100-yard rushing game shy of tying former Atlanta Falcons quarter Michael Vick for the most by a quarterback in NFL history with 11, finished with 86 rushing yards, 235 passing yards and one touchdown pass.