The Oakland Raiders haven't opened the regular season with back-to-back wins since 2002, but that's what they had the opportunity to do Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
After being held out of practice all week, both tackle Matt McCants and tackle Menelik Watson were ruled inactive prior to the Week 2 matchup against the Falcons. The other inactive players for Sunday's game were quarterback Connor Cook, cornerback Dexter McDonald, cornerback Antonio Hamilton, and tight end Mychal Rivera.
Derek Carr, Rodney Hudson, Khalil Mack, Reggie Nelson and Jamize Olawale were the captains for the Week 2 bout, and won the coin toss, electing to defer to the second half.
The first quarter turned into a defensive standoff between the Raiders and Falcons.
After surrendering a few first downs on the opening drive of the afternoon, the Raiders defense settled in, forcing the Atlanta Falcons to punt instead of attempting a long field goal.
While he wasn't able to bring Matt Ryan down, defensive end Khalil Mack was able to make his presence felt on the opening drive, applying pressure and forcing an incomplete pass.
The Raiders weren't able to find a ton of success on their first drive either, and after recording one first down, punter Marquette King was brought on to punt, and booming a 63-yard kick to pin the Falcons back deep in their own territory.
In total, there were four punts, and neither team was able to find any sustained success on offense.
*Second Quarter *
The Atlanta Falcons struck first with 11:58 left in the second quarter, as kicker Matt Bryan was able to connect on a 21-yard field goal to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead.
Derek Carr and the Raiders offense were able to answer in a big way, orchestrating a seven-play, 91-yard touchdown drive to give the Silver and Black a 7-6 lead with 7:51 left in the second quarter.
Running back Latavius Murray rumbled in from one yard out to score the touchdown, but the big play on the drive belonged to wide receiver Amari Cooper, who made an impressive adjustment in the air, and was able to haul in a 25-yard catch from Carr to jumpstart the offense.
However, the lead didn't last long, as Matt Ryan and the Falcons quickly responded in the form of a 21-yard touchdown reception to wide receiver Julio Jones.
After the PAT was completed, the Falcons owned a 10-7 lead over the Raiders with 4:46 left in the second quarter.
Following the two-minute warning, the Raiders were forced to punt the ball away, and Eric Weemsfave the Falcons prime field position after returning King's punt deep into Raiders territory.
However, the Falcons weren't able to find the end zone, instead settling for a 20-yard field goal attempt.
Bryant connected, and with 0:38 left in the half, the Falcons extended their lead to 13-7.
Sebastian Janikowski could not connect on a 58-yard field goal, and at the half, the Falcons lead the Raiders 13-7.
The Raiders will receive the second half kickoff.
The Raiders needed to come out with a big drive to start the second half, and that's precisely what they did, as Carr engineered an eight-play, 81-yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the second half.
The drive was punctuated by a 31-yard pass from Carr to tight end Clive Walford. Janikowski added the PAT, and the Raiders retook the lead 14-13 with 11:17 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, the Falcons were able to work their way deep into Raiders territory, but an impressive interception by cornerback David Amerson in the end zone ended any hope that the Falcons would put any points on the board.
The Falcons would not be denied for the duration of the quarter though, as Ryan connected with tight end Jacob Tamme on a 14-yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead.
Atlanta was successful on its two-point conversion, and with 3:42 left in the third quarter, the Falcons reclaimed the lead 21-14.
The Silver and Black were able to tie the game back up with another gutsy fourth down call from Head Coach Jack Del Rio.
Facing a 4th and goal deep in Atlanta territory, Del Rio elected to leave his offense on the field instead of kicking a field goal. The gamble paid off, as Carr connected with Michael Crabtree on a two-yard touchdown pass. Janikowski added the PAT, and with 12:00 left in regulation, the score was tied at 21 apiece.
The tie was short lived, as six plays later wide receiver Justin Hardy hauled in a deflected pass from Matt Ryan for an unbelievable eight-yard touchdown pass.
The PAT was good, and with 9:29 left in regulation, the Falcons led 28-21.
With 4:35 left in the fourth quarter, Atlanta was able to extend the lead after Tevin Coleman was able to find the end zone on a 13-yard run. After the completed PAT, the Falcons led 35-21.
The Raiders were able to add a touchdown late, but in the end it wasn't enough, as the Falcons won the game 35-28.