Carr and the Raiders quickly ripped off ten yards in two plays, the first a nine yard pass to Henry Ruggs and Josh Jacobs picked up a yard on second down. It was clear the game plan was heavy on targeting Patrick Surtain early as the first pass to Ruggs was with Surtain in coverage and another pass to Ruggs involved illegal contact by Surtain for another first down for the Raiders.
The Denver defense finally first the Raiders into a third down at the Broncos 48 yard line. On third and 2, Ronald Darby was beat deep by Ruggs for a 48-yard touchdown to give Las Vegas an early lead. It looked like Justin Simmons came over late. That was his play to make.
Derek Carr finds Henry Ruggs for a long touchdown.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 17, 2021
First time the Raiders have opened a game with a score since week 11 of 2020. pic.twitter.com/wtH0JDKyT2
Raiders 7, Broncos 0.
Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos offense got their start at their own 15. Bridgewater completed to Tim Patrick on first down for seven yards, then a run up the middle by Melvin Gordon picked up another 10 yards and a first down.
Gordon then got stuffed on first down and Garett Bolles was beat bad for a sack to setup a third and 12. Somehow, Bridgewater got the ball out under pressure to find Courtland Sutton for 14 and a big third down conversion.
An ugly pass interference call by the Raiders in coverage on Kendall Hinton put the Broncos into Raiders territory on their opening drive. Gordon weaved his way through multiple broken tackles for nine yards down to the Raiders 26 yard line and he would convert the first down on the next carry.
Bridgewater then went back to the Tim Patrick well for a 23-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. For the first time since December of 2019, the Broncos scored a touchdown on their opening offensive possession.
The first opening drive touchdown of Pat Shurmur's career with the Broncos. pic.twitter.com/l37aOWw3h3— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 17, 2021
Broncos 7, Raiders 7.
The Raiders came out and came within a foot of going three and out, but that first down led to a wide open Hunter Renfrow for 25 yards down to the Broncos 37-yard line.
Two plays later, the Broncos were forced to take a timeout with the Raiders facing a third and three. When play resumed, Dre’Mont Jones applied pressure up the middle to force the end of the drive. The Raiders settled for a 50-yard field goal.
Raiders 10, Broncos 7.
Denver went heavy on the rushing attack with the offensive line getting good push up front. After a first down and on second and seven, Bridgewater went deep to Courtland Sutton on play action and just barely overthrew him. On third and seven, Bridgewater found Noah Fant on a slant who was tackled a yard shy of the first down marker. They decided to go for it on fourth down and Bridgewater overthrew his target and was intercepted at the Denver 49 yard line.
The first quarter ended with the Raiders getting the ball inside the 35-yard line.