HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — As the Raiders tried their best all Sunday in Denver, they went to their top playmaker with a game that required both skill and skill.
Davante Adams’ 35-yard touchdown catch that gave Las Vegas a 22-16 overtime win over the Broncos was an example of the wide receiver separating himself mentally and physically from most of his peers — literally this time, given how outspoken he was.
“I’ve played with a lot of receivers in my nine-year career, with a lot of smart guys,” said quarterback Derek Carr. “But Davante, he sees it like a quarterback.”
The winning TD was set up earlier in the game when Adams ran an overroute to the left and caught Carr’s pass for 23 yards. That finish set up Las Vegas’ first touchdown, a 31-yard pass to Adams in double coverage.
With the game in overtime and the ball at Denver’s 35-yard line, the Raiders coaches designed a play to move the other receivers to the left side of the field, causing the Broncos defensemen to follow. The right side would be open, giving the Raiders an isolation play with Adams.
Adams lined up on the right and started slicing to the left as if running the same route he did on that important catch in the second quarter. Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II decided to clip Adams as he headed his way in order not to give up another long win.
“The call was to read what was going on with his leverage and coverage, but it was based on something we saw earlier in the game,” Adams said. “Just a way of tying the concepts together. If he overdid it, then the idea was to run the distance I ran.”
As Surtain did just that, Adams cut back sharply to the right. As Surtain’s momentum took him out of the game, safety Justin Simmons equalized to close the difference but was too far behind and Adams had the easy touchdown.
“I think what makes Davante really special is just being up here (mentally),” said coach Josh McDaniels. “He can think, process, understand how he’s being covered, how people are playing him, leverage, route technique, setting up his routes, doing a lot of different things that allow him to open up and be special.
“I think sometimes when young players come into the league they think it’s all about skill and talent and that’s part of the equation, no question. But I think the other part that he really masters is his ability to trick people. He has great wits and instincts, great awareness. Like the last game, if he doesn’t set it up properly and really get the corner to go across the field, that doesn’t happen.
Adams was 11.9 yards open, according to Next Gen Stats, the widest separation for an overtime touchdown since the league started tracking that info in 2016.
The concern for Adams after making the move was whether Carr would have enough time to get him the ball. Carr was worried he would topple his receiver.
But Carr never doubted Adams would read the coverage correctly. He said Adams is on a short list of receivers who don’t need plays explained.
“Tae’s one of those guys that you really don’t have to say anything to,” Carr said. “He knows the reporting. He knows where I’m trying to place the football.”
Carr put the football on the open receiver that not only passed the Broncos, but surpassed them.
“That’s like 90% of who I am compared to all the other stuff they talk about,” Adams said. “There’s a lot of studying and expecting to know what’s coming or to have an idea of what’s coming and to formulate a plan. If that plan isn’t the best, it’ll adjust from there, and you’ll find the best way to do it based on how you play.
NOTES: CB Nate Hobbs (broken hand) returned to practice Wednesday, but McDaniels said a decision has not yet been made on whether to remove him from injured reserve. … McDaniels said he doesn’t know if LT Kolton Miller (shoulder and abs) will play in Seattle on Sunday.
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