clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raiders’ quick slants: Broncos edition

It was ugly at times, Las Vegas exhibited complementary football at the most opportune time to edge Denver

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) iced the team’s win with a crucial scramble on 3rd-and-7 in the waning moments of the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Be skeptical all you want about the Las Vegas Raiders, but Jimmy Garoppolo simply continues to win ball games. The Silver & Black quarterback made the play in the most crucial of moments to help lead the Raiders to a 17-16 edge of your seat road win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Faced with a precarious 3rd-and-7 coming out of the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, the Raiders new signal caller faced pressure with poise, scanned the field, and when he didn’t see anything he liked, he took off scrambling for eight yards (his longest run of the afternoon) to ice the game for Las Vegas. His hop and fist pump after he slid to stay inbounds to burn off more clock was indicative of what had been the haphazard Raiders for most of the game.

But when Las Vegas needed it most, the team executed giving Garoppolo plenty of time despite four down linemen and two linebackers all making a beeline towards the Raiders quarterback. The offensive linemen picked up their assignments and running back Josh Jacobs handled a blitzing linebacker to give their signal caller a clean pocket. With nothing to his liking, Garoppolo took off, Davante Adams blocked the cornerback covering him, and done deal at Empower Field at Mile High.

“The running kind of just happened. I didn’t plan for it,” Garoppolo said post game. “They rushed past me and the opportunity was there so I just saw the first down marker and had to go get it.”

Sunday’s victory — which puts the Raiders as the lone AFC West team to win in Week 1 — was far from perfect. It was downright ugly at times, but Las Vegas exhibited complementary football at the most opportune time to edge Denver and extend the win streak over their division foe to seven.

Trailing 16-10 in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo and the Raiders offense went to work with 8:54 left and six plays (aided by a roughing the passer penalty on the Broncos) later, Las Vegas marched down the field 75 yards which culminated in the signal caller hooking up with Jakobi Meyers on slant for a six-yard touchdown. With 17-16 lead in hand, the Raiders defense rose to the occasion with safety Tre’Von Moehrig (one hand and all due to a thumb injury that saw one of his hands wrapped up like a club) made an impressive open-field tackle on 3rd-and-11 to force a Broncos punt.

That set the stage for Garoppolo and the Raiders offense to seal the deal.

“We see it every single day, he’s a dawg. In the big moments, he stepped up,” Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby said of Garoppolo. “It goes vice versa, defense, we needed a stop and we stepped up — That’s how you win football games, it’s gotta be complementary football. We all have to believe in the guy next to us and Jimmy is a dawg. So I’m super excited for him and I’m happy he’s my quarterback.”

Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Las Vegas Raiders safety Tre’Von Moehrig (25) makes the key tackle and stop — one handed and all — as he stops Denver Broncos tight end Adam Trautman for an eight-yard gain on 3rd-and-11 in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game.
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Let’s hit the quick slants as fast the Raiders dashed the Broncos hopes of ending a six-game skid against the Silver Black:

—Until the complementary football in the final possessions, the only complementary play Las Vegas exhibited was making errors in all three phases of the game. The miscues need to be shored up as the 2023 season progresses.

—Denver won the time of possession margin (32:08 to 27:52) but still ended up losing. Both teams finished with 22 first downs (11 passing, five rushing) and 10 penalties. Las Vegas had racked up 97 yards in infractions while Denver had 83.

—Garoppolo finished 20 of 26 for 200 yards with two touchdown passes (both to Meyers) and an interception. He wasn’t sacked once and showed poise in the pocket — even after the pick in the end zone.

—Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs led the team with 12 total tackles (eight solo) and two tackles for loss, including a quarterback hit. Linebacker Divine Deablo finished second with nine total tackles (five solo) and one stop for loss.

—Jacobs carried the rock 19 times for 48 yards (long of seven) and added 23 more yards on two catches. Denver keyed on stopping the Raiders tailback and did severely dampen the workhorse’s contribution.

—Meyers led the Las Vegas receiving corps with nine catches for 81 yards and two scores. He left the game after a scary hit from Denver safety Kareem Jackson.

—Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery each sacked Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson — the two takedowns Las Vegas racked up.

—Wilson went 27 of 34 for 177 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions. But he only managed to rack up 52 yards passing in the second half.

Quote of Note

“The pick was a terrible, stupid decision. Just got to take the points there and throw it away when nothing’s there. I thought mental toughness kicked in and guys stuck with. They believed in me, so I appreciate that.” —Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on his interception in the end zone