The Raiders and their fans loved what they saw early Sunday from first-round pick Henry Ruggs in the season opener … until they watched him limp to the locker room late in the first half against Carolina.
Ruggs injured his left knee after catching his third pass of the game late in the first half. Panthers rookie defensive back Jeremy Chin rolled up on Ruggs’ left leg while making the tackle. Ruggs struggled to get to the sideline after his first-down catch and minutes later he walked gingerly to the Raiders locker room.
Thankfully for the Raiders, Ruggs’ knee injury wasn’t deemed serious and he was able to return at the start of the second half of the team’s 34-30 season-opening victory. He didn’t catch a pass after halftime, but he still finished with a team-best 55 yards receiving.
Henry Ruggs injured on this play #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/eYSeE9cF2F
— Roto Street Journal (RSJ) (@RotoStJournal) September 13, 2020
“I just got tackled a little awkward, but I feel good,” Ruggs told reporters in a postgame Zoom call. “Kinda went down a little crazy, but I’ll be all right.”
Ruggs, who became arguably the NFL’s fastest player when the Raiders took him with the 12th overall pick in the draft, flashed his speed early against the Panthers.
He effortlessly sped past Carolina defenders on a deep crossing route and Derek Carr found him open for Ruggs’ first career catch. Ruggs was dragged down at the Panthers 1 by Tre Boston, otherwise the former Alabama star would have scored the first touchdown in Las Vegas Raiders history.
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Josh Jacobs got that honor on the next play, tumbling into the end zone untouched on the next play.
Ruggs finished the first half with three catches and 55 yards on five targets. Carr’s first pass of the season, a deep ball to Ruggs on the second play of the game, landed just past the speedy receiver’s outstretched hands. However, Ruggs wasn’t targeted on any second-half passes.
The Raiders did find other ways to get Ruggs involved in their offense — he rushed the ball twice for 11 yards in the first half.
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports