Jack Del Rio: 'I was thinking we're here to win; let's win it right now'

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Monday, September 12, 2016

NEW ORLEANS -- The decision to go for a two-point conversion with less than a minute to play on the road against theSaintswas not up for debate on the Oakland Raiderssideline.

Not even when considering that settling for the safer extra point attempt could have tied the game, while missing on the two-point conversion likely would have lost the game.

"I was thinking that we're here to win; let's win it right now," Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said.

So with 47 seconds remaining, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr dropped back and lofted a fade pass to the left side of the end zone to receiverMichael Crabtree, who was being covered by undrafted Saints rookie cornerback Ken Crawley. Crawley wasin the game because Delvin Breaux was knocked out earlier with an ankle injury.

Crabtree came down with the ball, and the Raiders had a 35-34 lead over the Saints that would hold up for a come-from-behind,season-opening victory after Saints kicker Wil Lutz missed a 61-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees called it a "ballsy move" by the Raiders, while coach Sean Payton said the call "wasn't unexpected" and "on the road, in a game like this, I probably would have done the same thing."

Del Rio later poked fun at an ESPN Stats & Information tweet that compared the Raiders' win probability had they kicked the PAT versus attempting the two-point try.

Del Rio gave his instructions to go for two before the Raiders started their 75-yard game-winning drive, which culminated when Carr threw a 10-yard touchdown strike to Seth Roberts.

"And I just said, 'OK, no problem,'" Carr explained. "When I got the call, I took a deep breath, made sure my footwork was right and just lobbed it up for Crab. ... I say lob it up, but obviously trying to put it in a certain spot where he can make a play."

For Crabtree, it was sweet redemption in the Superdome.

It was just over three years ago when Crabtree could not catch three straight fades in the opposite end zone from Colin Kaepernick--any of which, had they been completed, would have given the San Francisco 49ers a Super Bowl victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Crabtree, who signed as a free agent with the Raiders last offseason, admitted he had trouble sleeping Saturday night with a game in the Superdome on the horizon.

"I mean, we practice that so much it becomes routine," Crabtree said. "Last play, you know, ended bad [in the Super Bowl]. This time, the last play ended good."

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