Photo Courtesy: Aaron Josefczyk / UPI


FSM Essential Recap: Preseason Week 1 – Raiders vs Jaguars

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) | Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)


Las Vegas starts Josh McDaniels era out strong, blows out Jacksonville in a 27-11 win at the Hall of Fame game to open the NFL preseason.


Raiders vs Jaguars
Photo Credit: Kirk Irwin/LA Times

With the long-awaited Hall of Fame Game finally here, no lightning strikes could deny us our first taste of Raiders‘ football in seven months! After a 30+ minute weather delay, the action could be contained no further. After the skies cleared, the two sides eventually took the field at Tom Benson Stadium. In his hometown of Canton, coach Josh McDaniels set an impressive precedent in his first game as the leader of the Silver & Black.

It is an honor to be selected to play in the HoF Game, and if chosen to do so, it usually means players from those franchises are being enshrined. With dominant players like Cliff Branch, Richard Seymour, and Tony Boselli getting inducted this weekend, the Raiders and Jaguars were well represented.

With all the ceremonies aside, playing in the HoF Game is a luxury, allowing for an extra preseason (four instead of three) game compared to the rest of the NFL. With a new regime now in Las Vegas, an additional game of reps against another foe (one the Raiders play again in Week 9) can have immeasurable value.


On Thursday night in Canton, the Raiders took full advantage of this, getting into their offensive bag while flying around on defense.


1st Quarter


Raiders vs Jaguars
Photo Credit: Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

It is no overstatement to assess that the Raiders confidently defeated Jacksonville in all three phases of the game: Offense, defense, and special teams.

As assumed, there was no on-field action for Derek Carr as No 2. signal caller Jarett Stidham took the opening snaps. The first play from scrimmage was a little flukey; Stidham dropped back to pass, appearing to have time but was hit by reigning No.1 overall pick Trevon Walker while attempting to throw long down the left sideline. Naturally, the ball fluttered into the air before falling comfortably into WR Keelan Cole’s hands over the middle for a 31-yard gain. Just like that, the 2022 NFL season was underway!

Surprisingly, starting running back Josh Jacobs was in the thick of things (running with conviction, too) in the opening quarter. McDaniels intended to establish the ground game early, and the Raiders did precisely that. Through stretches, tosses, dives, and screens to Jacobs, Ameer Abdullah, and rookie Zamir White, Vegas was able to produce points on their first two offensive drives. Then, driving into Jacksonville territory with ease, kicker Daniel Carlson converted both drives into field goals. I mean, does he ever miss? 6-0 Raiders.

The defense was also sharp in the opening quarter (and most of the night). They forced the Jags into a 3 & out on their opening drive by stuffing the run game. That would be a theme all evening, as Jacksonville would only accumulate 59 rushing yards in the contest.

Raiders DB Darius Phillips was all over the field, nearly forcing a fumble after laying a nice hit right across a Jags WR’s thighs. The fumble would be correctly overturned, but that would not stop Phillips; He would wind up forcing another fumble in 2Q on a similar play, this one recovered by the Raiders in what was likely their most impressive defensive play of the night. Phillips finished Thursday with four tackles and one FF.

We also saw No. 3 QB, Nick Mullens on offensein the first half. Near the end of 1st quarter, Mullens orchestrated the Raiders’ first touchdown drive of the year. After special teams forced Jags kicker Santoso to miss from 60-yards out, Mullens took over and hit Abdullah on a positive RB screen before finding WR Tyron Johnson up the right seam for a 25-yard reception. Now deep in Jaguars territory, Abdullah took a toss right to the pylon for an 8-yard touchdown run on the second play of the 2nd quarter. With the extra point conversion, Vegas led 13-0. The offensive line looked extremely physical in the run game to this point (and all game) but also gave up back-to-back sacks of Stidham in 1st quarter.


2nd Quarter

As mentioned above, the Darius Phillips forced fumble (rec. by safety Duron Harmon) would follow Abullah’s touchdown run, and Mullens would march the offense right back out. The rookie White and TE Jacob Hollister would trade off positive plays before a Mack Hollins penalty, a drop from Cole, and a quarterback sack stalled the drive.

On Las Vegas’ final offensive possession before halftime, coach McDaniels won his first challenge of the year on a sideline ball from Stidham to Johnson for a 14-yard first-down reception that proved to be pivotal. It was certainly close, but Johnson did appear to get his lead foot down after securing the pass. WR Keelan Cole would take a big penalty shot to the head before Stidham found Demarcus Robinson for a first down inside the Jaguars’ 15-yard line. Then, using impressive vision and anticipation, Stidham ran the ball right-side into the end zone himself, scoring an easy touchdown. The extra point was good and Vegas has dominated the first half, up 20-0 heading back into the locker room.


“I thought we played with some good tempo and rhythm in the first half. I thought we were trying to get in and out of the huddle, we stayed ahead of the downs and distance for the most part offensively.”-Raiders’ head coach Josh McDaniels.


3rd Quarter

Raiders vs Jaguars
Photo Credit: David Richard/AP

The 3rd quarter started relatively slow as both sides exchanged punts twice. The Raiders would go 3 & out on back-to-back drives before allowing Jacksonville to score for the first time: A 46-yard FG from Fry set up by a nice swing pass from the Jaguars. Score: 20-3, Raiders. From here, the game essentially developed in the Zamir White show.

A rookie fourth-round selection out of the University of Georgia, White is a bigger tailback that gets downhill in a hurry. He runs angry and does not shy away from contact, running through Jaguars defenders for first downs on several occasions. Along with his 52 rushing yards (lead all rushers) on 11 carries, he showed solid skills in the passing game, catching three balls for 23 yards (with his longest gain of 17 yards).


4th Quarter

In addition to White, a 25-year-old Rice product (no dairy or soy needed), RB Austin Walter showed good skills and vision in the running game; He was Vegas’ second-leading rusher on the day with 49 yards and a 4Q touchdown run behind eight carries. Adding White & Walter into a rotation with Jacobs, Drake, and Abdullah will give the Raiders one of the strongest RB groups in the NFL. Drake did get in the game for five carries but was bottled up for only nine yards.

The fourth quarter initially began after with a big shot from Raiders’ safety Matthias Farley, one that was flagged after being deemed too high on the receiver. We saw impressive closing speed from the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish player.

No. 4 quarterback Chase Garbers was given the car keys in the game’s final quarter. Fresh off starting the past four seasons at Cal, Garbers seemed poised. His first drive resulted in the previously mentioned Walter 8-yard TD run. Still, Garbers converting two first-down throws catalyzed the score: one to college-mate WR Jordan Veasy and the other over the middle to TE Jesper Horstead on fourth-down. Shortly after, Walter would score on a run off RT (all three Vegas touchdowns came in this fashion). 27-3 LV.

That essentially concluded the majority of impactful action for the Silver & Black. However, Jags QB Kyle Sloter would eventually muster a touchdown drive in the game’s waning minutes after getting some assistance from a pass interference penalty on Raiders cornerback Isiah Brown. Sloter would proceed by producing the game’s only touchdown pass by finding RB Nathan Cottrell for a short five-yard score. Cottrell then converted a 2-pt attempt to make it 27-11 Raiders, which would hold to go final.




Raiders vs Jaguars
Photo Credit: Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Right now, it’s clear that Jarett Stidham has the most comfort and confidence operating McDaniels’ system. That makes sense since he was brought over from New England by Josh McDaniels. Stidham operated the offense with intention, but we’ll see if the reigns come off more on a less soggy night. He was 8/15 passing on the night for 96 yards. Mullens: 8/11 for 72 yards passing while also fumbling his first snap (it was the opening preseason game, and it was slick at that point). Garbers: 4/6 for 35 yards. On an optimistic note, all three signal-callers orchestrated a touchdown drive.

After seeing the guards get off the ball in the run game and considering the range of RB talent in Vegas, the ground attack will be a dynamic force this season: Especially once the Raiders’ starting receiving corps is on the field with them, opening up the tackle box (of course, we saw no Adams, Renfrow or Waller on Thursday night). We mentioned the rookie White and Walter leading the way running the rock, but Jacobs also looked more than ready to go, as he had 44 yards behind seven 1st quarter touches.

Abdullah added 43 all-purpose yards of his own, 13 of which came on a punt return. As a team, the Raiders’ produced 159 of their 321 total yards on the ground, with Zamir White eating the biggest plate (52 rushing yards). Coach Mcdaniels’ play-calling rhythm complimented the players; At a stadium where he played his high school ball, McDaniels was undoubtedly in his bag a little.

When asked about the rookie White, McDaniels said, “He’s tough to tackle, he finishes runs the right way, brings a physical element to the game and the team. It was a good opportunity for him to get in there and do that at our level.

The defense played with speed and confidence in their first test, hitting someone else. We know that the D-line is one of the most vital groups for the Silver & Black this year. Still, even their 2s and 3s, especially on the interior, did a phenomenal job stopping Jacksonville’s rushing attack—We mentioned the Jags were only able to produce 59 yards on the ground. The unit was also able to deflect a couple of passes at the line of scrimmage (one by DE Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa): Look for those to turn into interceptions this year.

The DBs were flying around the defensive backfield, as well. We mentioned CB Darius Phillips having a noteworthy game, forcing the game’s only turnover (nearly twice if not for the 1st quarter overturn). Overall, LB Darien Butler led Raider Nation in tackles on Thursday with six (three solos). An area for improvement? Jacksonville’s quarterbacks were sacked only once, courtesy of Vegas DE Kendal Vickers.

McDaniels kept his comments simple on the game, expressing the theme of not beating oneself: I thought we did decent until the fourth quarter, and then we got a bit sloppy. But for the most part, I thought we hung in there, and we did the right things.

One game down, at least 20 more to go!


The Raiders will head back to Las Vegas and prepare for their exhibition game against the Minnesota Vikings, which will take place Aug. 14 at Allegiant Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 pm and can be seen locally on Fox 5.

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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