The Raiders can officially say they are undefeated since moving to Las Vegas.
The Silver and Black were able to pull out a hard-fought battle In Charlotte, NC, defeating the Panthers in the first game of the season, 34-30. The efficiency of the Raiders' offense was the deciding factor in this game, as they were able to come up with more than 130 rushing yards.
Second-year running back Josh Jacobs was characteristically excellent, putting up three touchdowns and 136 total yards, in addition to a number of eye-opening moves. But following the game, Jacobs said it was just business as usual.
"I feel regular honestly," Jacobs said after his hat trick. "I had a pretty good game, but I missed some things. There's a couple of plays I look back on, and I'm like 'Man, I missed the hole' or 'I missed the backdoor cut.' That's more of the things I try to hone myself on, trying to have the perfect game and trying to come back better next week."
Coach Gruden was extremely pleased with the play of his running back and knows that with Jacobs demanding a lot from himself, he can shift into a support role.
"I am not going to put anymore pressure on him than he puts on himself," said Gruden. "I've seen a lot of running backs for a long time, but that was a little bit like how Walter Payton used to play. It was hot as hell; he got beat up early, he insisted on coming back and insisted he got the ball as a runner and as a receiver. He's special, and he deserves some national attention."
Perhaps the biggest obvious improvement in Jacobs' game from Year One to Year Two is his work in the passing game. It's something Jacobs has prided himself on and something he's excited to showcase the rest of the season.
"That's the thing I worked on the most coming into the offseason," said Jacobs, referring to his route running and catching. "Just trying to build my different routes whether it's extending them or stacking them or knowing the certain leverages; that's the thing I've tried to build on the most. Just to see (Gruden) has the confidence in me is huge for me."
Quarterback Derek Carr also had an impressive game, making some smart, accurate throws in the pocket to move the ball down the field consistently throughout the game. He finished with 239 yards with a 73 percent completion rate, plus a gorgeous 23-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to Nelson Agholor. Carr was able to give an Old Testament analogy to how his team was equipped to win this week.
"When God spoke to Moses, he said, 'What if they don't believe me when I tell them?' God said 'What's in your hand?' You see we've been equipped the whole time to accomplish what we want to accomplish," said Derek Carr. "I am proud of our guys that we did it, I'm proud of our guys for coming back and winning that game.
Carr was able to stay comfortable in the pocket and was sacked zero times by the Panthers' defense. This is even more of an impressive feat considering that both the Raiders right tackles — Pro Bowler Trent Brown (calf) and Sam Young (groin) — were injured early in the game, and the Raiders had to move backup right guard Denzelle Good to tackle.
"I believe they are the best group in the world," Carr said of his offensive line, a unit ranked No. 1 in the NFL by Pro Football Focus coming into the season. "Injuries happen, and things happen and we went down to Denzelle Good playing right tackle, which I'll let coaches talk about how many reps he's had at right tackle, but I think he did a pretty good job against some pretty good players. Anytime I don't get touched and we run the rock well, everyone should be praising the offensive linemen and giving them free food. I know if Heather, my wife, is listening, they're going to need some cinnamon rolls this week."
"That was a championship effort by a lot of guys," Gruden said. "We lost Trent Brown after three plays, we lost Sam Young, and Denzelle Good deserves a lot of credit for going over there without any work at right tackle and playing the whole game. Derek Carr was great today, and that's what we asked of him in a game like this; he made a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage and in the pocket.
"I'm just happy to get a win for the Las Vegas Raiders. First win for the history of the Raiders in Vegas and hopefully the fans saw something they liked."
View photos from the Raiders' Week 1 matchup against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.