Raiders' Davante Adams a 'different' receiver during current three-game tear

DENVER -- As Davante Adams raced across the field toward the end zone, no one within about a dozen yards of him, one thought crossed the Las Vegas Raiders receiver's mind when he looked back toward the line of scrimmage and quarterback Derek Carr.

"Please, God," Adams thought, "give that man some time."


Carr launched a perfectly-placed pass to hit a wide-open Adams -- his 11.9 yards of separation represented the most on any overtime TD since Next Gen Stats began tracking in 2016 -- in stride, allowing Adams to jog into the end zone for the 35-yard walk-off touchdown Sunday in Denver, giving the Raiders a 22-16 overtime win against the Denver Broncos.

Thoughts, after sweeping the Broncos and improving Las Vegas' record to 3-7? Yeah, Adams had a few. He also answered the notion that he was a shell of his former self after somehow getting just one catch, for 3 yards, in the Raiders' 24-0 loss at the New Orleans Saints three weeks prior.

Because since that game, Adams has dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Broncos secondaries to the tune of a combined 26 catches for 413 yards and five touchdowns.

"He's different," Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said. "He's a unique player and very difficult [to defend against], no matter where you put him. The thing that makes Davante very special is up here."

McDaniels pointed to his head, then referenced Adams' ability to process how he's being covered and use his "savvy and instinct" to counter-attack defensive backs.

"I think sometimes when young players come in the league, they think it's all skill and talent," McDaniels added. "That's part of the equation, there's no question. But I think the other part that he's really mastered is his ability to set people up.

"The last play doesn't happen if he doesn't set it up the right way and really get the corner leaning [the wrong way] to go across the field ... he can play the game within the game, which really just takes you to another level."

At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Adams is not the biggest receiver in the league. Nor is he the fastest. But he is seen by many as the complete package. And after his recent three-game tear, Adams is back among the most feared wideouts in the NFL.

Because after finishing with seven catches for 141 yards and his league-leading ninth and 10th receiving TDs in Denver, he joined a litany of Hall of Famers. Consider:

  • It was Adams' third career TD in overtime, tying him with LaDainian Tomlinson for the most by any player since the NFL added OT in 1974.

  • It was Adams' 13th career game with at least 100 receiving yards and two receiving TDs, four more than any other player since 2016.

  • Adams became the sixth player in NFL history with six or more seasons with at least 10 TD catches, alongside Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens and Cris Carter.

  • Adams became just the second player in Raiders franchise history with at least 10 TD catches in the Raiders' first 10 games of a season, joining Fred Biletnikoff, who had 11 in 1969.

  • And Adams tied Cliff Branch in Raiders franchise history with his third straight game with at least 100 yards receiving and a TD -- Branch did it in 1974.

Yeah, this is what the Raiders were expecting when they traded first- and second-round picks to the Green Bay Packers for Adams in last spring's NFL draft. They hope it continues with the Seattle Seahawks and their No. 21-ranked pass defense, which features rookie CB Tariq Woolen and his five INTs, up next.

The game-winner, Adams said, came on the route called for on that play, but it was called as an adjustment because he had set up Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II earlier in the game.

Just as McDaniels referenced.

"It's really about taking a deep breath," Adams said, "and not making the moment too big."

Adams was limited in practice all week with an abdominal injury, which he re-aggravated early in the game.

"It don't matter," he shrugged and said with a smile. "Nobody cares. You don't get an award for fighting through stuff. Everybody's doing that. I mean, I wasn't feeling the best, but good enough to go out there and play."

And walk it off.