NEW ORLEANS — Michael Crabtree has not had the best of memories in the Superdome. Until now.
Crabtree’s catch on a two-point conversion on a fade pass into the left corner of the end zone with 47 seconds to play gave the Oakland Raiders an unlikely 35-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints after they trailed by 14 in the second half.
Well, Crabtree’s two-point conversion didn’t officially give Oakland the win until the Raiders’ defense finally made a stand against Drew Brees and Saints kicker Wil Lutz just missed a 61-yard field goal wide left as time expired.
Before the last Oakland drive, it appeared as though the Raiders’ hype train had derailed in the Big Easy.
Think of it this way: Few would have thought less of the Raiders for losing a season opener in the din of the Superdome. But the manner in which they were about to drop a decision to the Saints on Sunday?
It was not a good look.
DJ Hayden, a former first-round draft pick, replaced Smith and was picked on by Brees with aplomb.
The defense gave up a mind-numbing 423 yards passing to Brees, who had four touchdown passes.
All-Pro Khalil Mack was made nearly invisible by double- and triple-teams.
The Raiders were flagged for 14 penalties for 141 yards.
There was some questionable clock management.
And still, the Raiders were able to pull it out with big games from Derek Carr, who passed for 319 yards; receiver Amari Cooper, who caught six passes for 137 yards; and undrafted rookie running back Jalen Richard, who broke off a 75-yard TD run on his first NFL carry.
But going for a two-point conversion, down one, with less than a minute to play … on the road?
Call it Crabtree’s exoneration, after his painful non-catches in Super Bowl XLVII a few years back for the San Francisco 49ers — at the Superdome.