Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffery arguably is the toughest player to defend in the NFL, and yet on a 4th-and-1 with the game on the line Sunday, he didn't touch the ball.
Instead, fullback Alex Armah got the handoff and was promptly stuffed by multiple Raiders defenders, essentially clinching a Week 1 win for Las Vegas.
It was a questionable play call at best, but given how miserably it failed, there was no shortage of criticism directed at it afterward. Though Panters offensive coordinator Joe Brady called the play, Carolina head coach Matt Rhule accepted all of the blame (h/t Panthers Wire)
It was Rhule's first career game as an NFL head coach, so some growing pains are to be expected. He and the Panthers pushed the Raiders' defense to the brink, but ultimately were pushed back.
"We can say whatever we want about the defense, they got the stop when we needed it,” said Gruden after the game (h/t Raiders Wire). “The fourth quarter defense and fourth-quarter pass rush is going to be a big part of winning in this league and I’m just happy to get a win for the Las Vegas Raiders."
Gruden and the Raiders are now 1-0 in their first season in Las Vegas.
Fittingly, their first victory was sealed by a bad gamble.