After a long time, football has finally returned to our lives. The NFL returns as it opens the preseason with an exhibition between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. With several starters benched for this head-to-head, it wasn’t a super competitive affair, and the Raiders were able to run away with a 27-11 victory.
Las Vegas scored on its first three possessions and was able to take a comfortable lead as Jacksonville — without most of its key offensive players, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence — stagnated on that side of the ball. Raiders starter Jared Stidham finished with 96 yards passing while completing 8 of 15 throws. Meanwhile, Jack Loudon, who got the start for the Jacks, completed 10-of-17 for 94 yards.
Below, you’ll find key takeaways from the first preseason game of the year.
Why did the Raiders win?
Credit to hometown kid Josh McDaniels — the Raiders came to play right out of the gate. From the jump, Las Vegas looked to be on offense, even without key starters Derek Carr, Davante Adams and Darren Waller. Jared Stidham was allowed to start the game under center and led two field goal drives on the Raiders’ opening two possessions. Those drives were led by strong play from Josh Jacobs, who continued to move the chains during his time on the field. He rushed for 30 yards on five carries and caught both of his targets for 14 yards. Las Vegas continued to attack the ball throughout the first half to go on a 20-0 run.
Defensively, the Raiders are going up against backups, but that doesn’t mean it’s not their strongest effort. In the first half, Las Vegas’ defense forced three punts, a fumble, and saw Jacksonville miss a 60-yard field goal. Outside of a garbage-time touchdown in the fourth quarter, that solid defensive play continued for much of the second half.
Why did Jaguar lose?
Of course, the lack of success comes with a grain of salt for the offense as the Jaguars didn’t play any of their heavy-hitters in this game. However, Jake Loudon hasn’t done much in the way of trying to earn a roster spot. When he was under center, he struggled to get down the field and couldn’t put any points on the scoreboard. Although there was a missed field goal sprinkled in during Loudon’s play, it wasn’t a gimmicky kick by any means, as it came from 60 yards out, so he didn’t put his team in the best position. success Only when former USFL star Kyle Slaughter was there could the points be put up.
Meanwhile, it was a bit worrisome to see their defense pushed down the floor, especially with few starting rotations in the front seven. In the first half, the Raiders averaged 95 yards on 4.5 carries and two touchdowns. For the game, Jax gave up 159 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. That should improve as they progress this preseason.
As we headed into halftime, the Raiders were already up by 13 points. The Jaguars got the ball back to start the second half and found themselves down by two scores, but it looked like they could make a comeback. But Jared Stidham did his part to slam the door on this one start. With just over 90 seconds to play in the half, Stidham took a third-and-8 snap, rolled to his right and used his legs to rush for a 12-yard touchdown. That score put the Raiders up by 20, eliminating the possibility of Jacksonville making it a ball game.
Game of the game
I mean, we have to give this the first touch of the new year, right? With 13:36 left in the first half, the Raiders’ Ameer Abdullah took a first-and-goal and took it eight yards into the end zone to cap off a 50-yard drive for Las Vegas. Abdullah finished his night with that touchdown and 30 yards.
Not only did we get that score, but we also had our first touchdown celebration of 2022.
From here, the Raiders will head back to Las Vegas to prepare for their exhibition matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, which will take place on August 14 at Allegiant Stadium. As for the Jaguars, they prepare for a home exhibition with the Cleveland Browns on August 12th at TIAA Bank Field.
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