LAS VEGAS (AP) — When the Las Vegas Raiders offense stumbled in the first half, the defense held tough to keep the team in the game.
Down the stretch, the defense didn't wilt and forced a couple of key turnovers that helped the Raiders get the game into overtime and then win it.
After years of being dragged down by a porous defense, there were some promising signs for the Raiders in their season-opening 33-27 overtime win over the Ravens on Monday night that new coordinator Gus Bradley's group may be much improved.
"We harp on the defense so much," quarterback Derek Carr said. "You hear this, you hear that. I've seen a lot of coordinators come in, come out. For them, to make the play at the end to win the game to give us a chance, chance after chance, after chance. ... Just please, just someone praise the defense. They deserve it."
Led by an improved Maxx Crosby and newcomer Yannick Ngakoue on the edge, the Raiders put heavy pressure on Lamar Jackson for much of the game.
That helped keep the game close in the first half and then win it in the end. Newcomer Quinton Jefferson forced a fumble from Jackson early in the fourth quarter that set up a game-tying TD from Josh Jacobs.
Carl Nassib stopped Jackson just short of a first down late in regulation to force a tiebreaking field goal and give Carr and the offense just enough time to respond and send the game into overtime.
Then after the offense nearly gave the game away when Carr's pass near the goal line hit Willie Snead in the hands and was intercepted by Anthony Averett, Nassib responded with a strip-sack that set up the winning score on Carr's 31-yard pass to Zay Jones.
"They held us in that game, and they did that against a superstar, one of the best players in the whole world at playing football," Carr said. "They were able to keep us in that football game. I tip my hat, and I love those guys because they were able to give to keep us in there to give us a chance to get our stuff right."