Oakland quarterback Derek Carr called the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium perhaps the best he had ever played in after the Raiders pulled out a thrilling 24-21 win over the Chicago Bears in the first NFL game at Spurs’ new home.
The Raiders saw a 17-0 half-time lead wiped out as Chicago scored 21 points to go ahead in the third quarter, but Josh Jacobs’ second touchdown of the night won it with less than two minutes left.
That may have contributed to Carr’s affection for Tottenham’s ground but there was no mistaking his enthusiasm.
“Everything about it is first-class,” he said. “The details in every room you go in. This is one of, if not the best stadium I’ve ever played in in my life.”
Sunday night’s game was the opening instalment in a 10-year deal which will see at least two games per season staged here, with the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers due in town next week.
Though the NFL has been making annual trips to London since 2007, not every player is keen on the idea but Carr reckons facilities like Tottenham’s will help change minds.
“When you’re the ‘home’ team you resist it more because home-field advantage is so crucial in the NFL,” he said.
A post shared by Oakland Raiders (@raiders) on Oct 6, 2019 at 1:34pm PDT
“We came out in the stadium today and got booed because it’s 50 per cent Bears fans, and that’s not part of a ‘home’ game.
“But I love the London trip. I’m a soccer fan and it’s cool to me that I got to talk to Harry Kane before the game. I told him I’m a huge fan and he said the same, and I’m like, ‘How do you even know who we are?’.
“I told him, ‘I play as you on FIFA’, so we got to meet and that was cool to me.
“I think more players are understanding that this is where the game’s going so they’re definitely more accepting.”
— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2019
Oakland upset the odds to beat a Chicago team that came to town on the back of three straight wins and boasting one of the best defences in the NFL, only to give up more points in the second quarter than they had in any games so far this season.
“We’re very resilient, very tough, very competitive team,” Carr said. “We’re human, we know everyone counted us out and we knew no one would pick us to win this game.
“But we have a good young football team. That defence right there is unbelievable and probably the best I’ve ever played with.”
The victory sees Oakland improve to 3-2, the same record as the Bears, though there was definitely a contrast in emotions between the two locker rooms as Chicago rued one that got away.
Coach Nagy is at the postgame podium. https://t.co/lNyG1M3evZ
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 6, 2019
They thought they had won it when Erik Harris appeared to fumble a fake punt only for the call to be overturned, and for Oakland to score the game-winning touchdown to cap the drive.
“My emotions are hot right now, because I hate losing,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “It stings, it hurts, all the normal emotions, but after five games we’re 3-2 and we’ve had a chance in the games to win.
“We’ll use this time as coaches to reflect and figure out, how do we get better. We need to do it together because losing is not fun.”
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