LAS VEGAS - Brian Johnson made quite the first impression on his new Washington teammates.
Johnson kicked the go-ahead 48-yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining five days after joining the team and Washington beat the Las Vegas Raiders 17-15 on Sunday for its fifth straight win.
Alex Armah #38 of the Washington Football Team runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium on December 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
"I didn’t even know his name," defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. "We just brought him up."
Allen and the rest of the Washington offense know it now after he calmly drilled the game-winning kick after Taylor Heinicke drove the team into position after squandering an eight-point lead.
"The vibe and everything, for not being around it, I felt it once I walked in," said Johnson, who was signed Tuesday to replace the injured Joey Slye. "It’s an awesome locker room to be in. They’re probably still learning my name, but it’s awesome to be here."
Heinicke threw a 7-yard TD pass to Logan Thomas on the opening drive and a 4-yarder to Antonio Gibson early in the fourth quarter after extending the drive with a key third-down scramble.
But Washington (6-6) then allowed the Raiders (6-6) to score on successive drives to take a 15-14 lead on Daniel Carlson's 37-yard field goal that was set up by Nate Hobbs' interception of Heinicke.
But Heinicke responded and drove Washington down the field to set up the kick by Johnson that came three plays after Tre'von Moehrig dropped a potential game-sealing interception.
"It’s literally the same thing that happened against the Giants," Heinicke said. "I feel like we play really well in the two-minute drill. We practice it a lot. Guys executed really well and we got lucky on that one throw, but that’s football."
Heinicke finished 23 for 30 for 196 yards and has now led four game-winning drives in his first year as a starting quarterback in Washington.
"What can you say about him?" Allen said. "He just keeps showing why he needs to be our quarterback."
Coordinator Jack Del Rio's defense then sealed it to give him the win in his first game against the Raiders since being fired by the team following the 2017 season.
The game ended when Derek Carr's desperation heave from his 43 fell incomplete, short of the goal line as Washington improved to 4-0 since the bye to get into playoff position.
"We’re not a star-studded roster," Allen said. "We don’t have those big celebrities. We’re not an L.A. or whatever the case may be, and we just don’t care what anybody says. We believe in ourselves. We went out there and played hard."
The Raiders were unable to build on a Thanksgiving overtime win at Dallas and lost for the fourth time in five games as the offense has stalled after a strong start to the season.
They were held to just two field goals in the first three quarters as Carr seemed to miss injured tight end Darren Waller and couldn't connect on the big plays with DeSean Jackson that helped fuel last week's win.
Las Vegas finally got into the end zone when Josh Jacobs capped a 75-yard drive aided by three defensive penalties with a 1-yard run. Carr missed Bryan Edwards in the back of the end zone on the 2-point try to keep Washington ahead 14-12.
The Raiders then settled for a field goal late when they stalled in the red zone to set the stage for the Washington comeback.
"It’s very frustrating," Carr said. "Field goals aren't going to win you games. You have to get touchdowns, especially with the teams we have coming up. We will need touchdowns to win these games."
The Raiders punted on their first three drives before getting a 52-yard field goal from Carlson in the closing seconds of the first half to cut the deficit to 7-3. It was the fifth time this season Las Vegas failed to score a touchdown in the first half of a game.
Carr struggled to push the ball downfield with his first 18 passes traveling a combined 36 yards downfield, according to NFL NextGen stats.
"It’s definitely very frustrating, annoying really," running back Josh Jacobs said. "Starting slow every week and taking too long to be who we are is definitely frustrating."
Carr and Del Rio shared a moment together on the field after the game in their first game against each other since Del Rio was fired.
Carr was one of only two players on the active roster who played for Del Rio on the Raiders from 2015-17 and was part of the franchise's only playoff berth since the start of the 2003 season when the Raiders went 12-4.
"We just expressed our love for one another and how thankful we were for the times that we had," Carr said. "He said some things to me about this year and it was good. I love the man and he’ll always have a place in my heart for the years that we had together."
Washington: Thomas left the game in the second half with a knee injury and didn't return.
Raiders: RB Kenyan Drake (ankle) and LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle) left the game in the first half and didn't return. ... LB Denzel Perryman (ankle) left in the second half.
Washington: Host Dallas on Sunday.
Raiders: Visit Kansas City on Sunday.
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