Raiders vs Jaguars score takeaway: Las Vegas starts Josh McDaniels era strong, explodes Jacksonville

Finally, football is finally back in our lives. The NFL returned as it opened the preseason with an exhibition between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. With many starters left on the bench for this one-on-one, it wasn’t a super competitive affair and the Raiders were able to walk away with a 27-11 win.

Las Vegas scored on its first three possessions and was able to take a comfortable lead as Jacksonville — which held off the bulk of its notable offensive players, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence — stagnated on that side of the ball. Raiders starter Jarrett Stidham finished with 96 passing yards while making 8 of 15 throws. Meanwhile, Jake Luton, who got the Jags started, went 10 of 17 for 94 yards.

Below are the main takeaways from our first pre-season game of the year.

Why the Raiders won

Give credit to hometown kid Josh McDaniels – the Raiders came to play from the get-go. From the jump, Las Vegas looked composed offensively, even with key players like Derek Carr, Davante Adams and Darren Waller not playing. Jarrett Stidham got the go-ahead to start the game under center and led two field goals on the Raiders’ first two possessions. Those workouts were headlined by the solid play of running back Josh Jacobs, who consistently moved the chains while he was on the field. He rushed 30 yards in just five carries and caught his two targets from 14 yards. This success on the offensive side of the ball continued throughout the first half where Las Vegas would go on a 20-0 run to really pull away.

Defensively, the Raiders were running into substitutes, but that still doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big effort on their part. In the first half, the Las Vegas defense forced three punts, a fumble and saw Jacksonville miss a 60-yard field goal. That solid defensive play continued for most of the second half, aside from a fourth-quarter garbage-time touchdown.

Why the Jaguars lost

Of course, the lack of success offensively comes with a grain of salt as the Jaguars had none of their heavy hitters playing in this game. However, Jake Luton didn’t exactly do himself a lot of favors trying to secure a spot on the roster. The attack struggled to move upfield while under center and couldn’t put any points on the scoreboard. Even though there was a missed basket dotted around when Luton played, it wasn’t like it was a kick given as it came from 60 yards out, so he didn’t exactly put his team in the best position to succeed. The only time the offense was able to score points was when former USFL star Kyle Sloter was in attendance.

Meanwhile, it was a little worrying to see their defense getting pushed around early with part of their starting rotation along the front seven, especially on the court. In the first half, the Raiders ran for 95 yards averaging 4.5 yards per carry and two touchdowns. For the game, the Jags allowed 159 yards and three rushing touchdowns. This will have to improve as they move forward this pre-season.

Turning

As we rolled towards halftime, the Raiders had already established a 13-point lead. With the Jaguars winning the ball back to start the second half and down less than two scores, however, it was conceivable that they could make a comeback. But, Jarrett Stidham did his part to slam the door at the start of this one. With just over 90 seconds left in the half, Stidham took a third-and-8 snap, rolled a right and used his legs to rush for a 12-yard touchdown. That score gave the Raiders 20 points, which essentially eliminated any possibility of Jacksonville making it into a baseball game.

Game of the game

I mean, we have to give that to the first touchdown of the new year, right? With 13:36 remaining in the first half, Raiders running back Ameer Abdullah took an early and eight-yard field goal to rush into the end zone and complete a 50-yard drive for Las Vegas. Abdullah ended his night with that touchdown and 30 yards from the scrum.

Not only did we get that score, but we also had our first touchdown celebration of 2022.

And after

From there, the Raiders will return to Las Vegas and prepare for their exhibition with the Minnesota Vikings, which takes place on August 14 at Allegiant Stadium. As for the Jaguars, they will prepare for a home exhibition with the Cleveland Browns on August 12 at TIAA Bank Field.


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