OAKLAND, Calif. — Some 56,000 jilted and full-throated hometown fans let short-time former Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown know how they felt about him with derisive chants of “F— AB!” on every big Oakland play Monday night against the Denver Broncos — and there were many in the course of the Raiders’ 24-16 season-opening victory.
The Raiders, meanwhile, let Brown know how they felt about him. That is, he was not missed.
Tyrell Williams adapted well to his new role of WR1, hauling in six passes, one more impressive than the next, particularly his highlight-reel 24-yarder that set Oakland up at the Denver 4-yard line in the fourth quarter on a laser throw from quarterback Derek Carr. Williams finished with 105 receiving yards.
Carr, who had a 121.0 passer rating, was 22-for-26 with 259 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
“Antonio is no longer with us. And we love Antonio; we wish him the best. But we knew, with the guys we had in our locker room, we already had a good football team,” Carr told ESPN after the game. “I hope he goes off and has a great year. But the guys in this locker room — the guys that competed during training camp all offseason — we grinded, we came together; we’re a family. And this family’s pretty special, and I’m glad to be the quarterback, a part of it.”
According to NFL Next Gen Stats data, Carr’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Williams in the first quarter was a tight-window throw. Carr had only two tight-window touchdown throws last season.
And Williams’ 43-yard reception on third-and-1 in the second quarter was thrown 32 yards, a familiar sight for the former Chargers wideout. He had five catches of at least 30 yards in 2018, while the Raiders had three as a team.
New tight end Darren Waller also showed what a matchup nightmare he can be with his receiver-like skill set in catching seven passes for 70 yards. He had six total catches in four games last season.
The revelation? Rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who rumbled for 85 yards on the ground on 23 carries and, with two touchdowns, became the first player in Raiders franchise history to find the end zone twice in his NFL debut.