That's So Raiders

The Raiders winning on Derek Carr's walk-off strike because they "couldn’t find" their kicker is peak Raiders

September 14, 2021

Monday Night Football got off to a rip roaring start on, um, Monday, when the Las Vegas Raiders stormed back from two touchdowns down to beat the Baltimore Ravens on a walk-off touchdown deep in overtime while Peyton and Eli looked on dumbfounded (or maybe that’s just their faces). If you somehow missed it, here it is in all its off-the-back-foot, broken-coverage glory.

With Allegiant Stadium rocking and the black hole swarming, it felt like the moment professional football finally, officially arrived in Las Vegas ... but apparently it almost didn’t happen. On second and nine from the 26 yard line, Jon Gruden called on the kicking team to go win the game. The only problem? No one could find the actual kicker, Daniel Carlson. Desperately searching for Carlson, the Raiders, with no timeouts remaining, took a delay of game penalty that backed them up to the 31, changing the field goal calculus. So instead the offense stayed on the field and on the very next play Derek Carr found Zay Jones in more space than the Mojave Desert.

The story would be borderline unbelievable if not for two things. 1. It’s the Raiders, and what could be more Raiders than having no idea where your kicker is in a game-winning kick scenario? 2. Jon Gruden confirmed it after the game, clearly furious with Carlson for practicing kicks in the kick practicing nets, exactly where you would expect a kicker to be should you be looking for a kicker.

The man despises kickers with every fiber of his being. In fact, we’re willing to bet he called Carlson’s number on 2nd down—a Bananaland down to go to your field goal unit, especially on the 26 yard line—just so he could blame the whole thing on kickers should he miss. It all worked out in the end, however, as Raiders started the season 1-0, bringing the suddenly mighty AFC West to 4-0 on opening weekend. As for Carlson, however, well, expect him to be on a short leash (we literally mean a short leash) when the Raiders visit Pittsburgh next week.