David Carr hit Seth Roberts for a 10-yard touchdown with 47 seconds left, then connected with Michael Crabtree on a two-point conversion, and the Oakland Raiders pulled out a season-opening 35-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Raiders had to overcome a 14-point, second-half deficit and a 424-yard, four-touchdown performance by Drew Brees. They also had to sweat out rookie kicker Wil Lutz’s last second field goal attempt from 61 yards, which narrowly missed wide left as the Superdome crowd briefly erupted before realizing the kick was no good.
Brees eclipsed 400 yards passing for the 14th time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the most such performances in NFL history.
Carr finished with 319 yards passing and one touchdown. Jalen Richard ran 75 yards on his first NFL carry, and Amari Cooper caught Carr’s pass for a two-point conversion to briefly tie the score at 27 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
But Brees marched New Orleans back down field for a score, highlighted by a 57-yard completion that receiver Willie Snead fumbled and rookie wideout Michael Thomas recovered and advanced to the Oakland 2. That set up Travaris Cadet’s short touchdown catch to give New Orleans a 34-27 lead.
Snead finished with nine catches for 172 yards and New Orleans nearly held on, but Saints linebacker Craig Robertson was flagged for interference on a four-down pass that sailed out of bounds.
The Raiders had touchdown runs of six yards by Latavius Murray and two yards by Jamize Olawale. Crabtree’s winning conversion catch came against undrafted rookie Ken Crawley.