For the first time since 2017, the Las Vegas Raiders are starting the season with a 2-0 record. What better way to open up a new stadium, in a new city, than by beating an NFC powerhouse team and Super Bowl favorite. While many factors can be attributed to their Monday night win over the New Orleans Saints, one would be foolish to not fawn over the coming out party for one Darren Waller.
Darren Waller Emerges as Las Vegas Raiders Defeat New Orleans Saints
Darren Waller Has His Coming-Out Party
The newly updated list of the best Tight Ends in the league is as follows: George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Darren Waller. It did not matter who was covering him last night, no one was going to stop Waller from catching the football. Registering 12 receptions for 103 yards, Waller was determined to solidify himself as an elite-tier tight end in this league. It did not matter who the Saints tried to cover him with. Whether it be a Linebacker, Safety, or Cornerback, Waller was not going to be denied the football. It really says something when a team knows who you want to get the football to, but yet cannot do anything to stop it. With rookie Wide Receivers starting on the outside, one can expect Waller to continue to see the lion’s share of the throws throughout the rest of the season.
Derek Carr Outduels Drew Brees
With all of the questions surrounding Derek Carr’s future with the Raiders, and the amount pressure he has put on himself, Carr has done more than enough to silence the doubters. After a shaky first drive to start the game, Carr settled down and commanded the offense like an Army General. He was constantly putting the ball where on his receivers could catch it, as not one throw looked like it had a chance to be intercepted; at least nothing nowhere near as bad as the interception thrown by Drew Brees before the half.
With this being his third year in Jon Gruden’s offense, Carr looks more comfortable than he ever has in his career. He will need to keep up this newfound swagger of his, as the Raiders have to travel to the east coast to play the New England Patriots on a short week this Sunday. West coast teams are known to struggle when playing early games on the other side of the country, so Carr will need to put together yet another highly efficient performance if they want any chance of beating a Bill Belichick led team.
The Raiders have now put up 34 points in back-to-back games, and a large portion of the credit should go to him. Currently on the season, Carr has thrown for four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also has completed 74% of his passes and currently holds a Quarterback rating of 115. It is clear enough early on that the offense of this team is of playoff quality. The defense is what should worry this team the most. The pass rush is still nonexistent, and the pass defense currently ranks 29th in the league after two games. While those two games were against top-tier offenses, the schedule does not get any easier going forward.
With games against the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs all on the horizon, everyone will learn all they need to know about this team here shortly. Are the Raiders really a viable playoff team, or are they just good at capitalizing on early-season mistakes from their opponents?
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