The decision to go for a two-point conversion with less than a minute to play on the road against the Saints was not up for debate on the Raiders’ sideline, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports.
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,” said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio.
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 receiver Michael Crabtree, who was being covered by undrafted Saints rookie cornerback Ken Crawley. Crawley was in 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 New Orleans 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 attempted the two-point try on Twitter writing, “Good thing ESPN isn’t coaching the Raiders.”
Del Rio gave his instructions to go for two before the Raiders started their eventual 75-yard game-winning drive.
“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.”