The Las Vegas Raiders stunned a lot of people on Monday when they upset the New Orleans Saints and looked really good while doing it. Star wide receiver Michael Thomas was probably the most stunned as he called the game early in a tweet. The Saints did get off to a quick start and the score was 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. However, the Raiders outscored them 34-14 from that point and controlled the game.
Thomas had to quickly go back and delete his tweet from early in the game that suggests it was going to “get ugly fast.” Unfortunately for him, many people had screenshotted his tweet and it made the rounds all week. The tweet even elicited a response from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
“That’s why we play four quarters,” Carr said in response to Thomas’ tweets. “Everyone has an opinion. I think we live in a day and age where everyone has an opinion on something … everyone has a platform, especially professional athletes, and they want to use it to say and get whatever message out that they want to get out. … He used his for that reason. He’s one of the best receivers in the NFL but that’s why we play four quarters.”
Carr isn’t one to talk trash but his comments are definitely a little bit of a jab. Thomas should now know that the Raiders aren’t a team that should be overlooked.
Raiders Sustain Success in the Second Half
What Raiders fans should be really excited for right now is how well the team has played in the second halves of games. Last year, the team was 31st in the NFL in second-half points per game. They only scored an average of 7.2 points per game in the third and fourth quarters.
That hasn’t been the case through two games this season. As of now, the Raiders rank fourth in the NFL with an average of 17 points per game in the second half. Obviously, it’s still early in the season so those numbers will adjust but it’s a very promising sign. Second half play is almost always more important than first half play. The Raiders did well in the first half last year but frequently fell apart after halftime.
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Defense Also Stepping up Late in Game
Not only is the offense stepping up late in games, but the defense is as well. They ranked 29th in second half points allowed in 2019. This year, they rank 12th. Considering all the question marks on the Raiders defense, that number isn’t bad at all.
Carr has a lot of fourth quarter comebacks in his NFL career but it’s time for the Raiders to stop coming back late in games. If the Raiders hope to win a Super Bowl, they need to decisively win a few games. The team didn’t win a single game that was a one-possession game when it ended last year. They already have more this year and they did it against a good Saints team. There are still some red flags on the defense but there’s no doubt the team is better this year.