Patriots vs Raiders takeaway: Josh McDaniels improves from former club; New England attack in trouble again

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After a week of joint practices, the Patriots and Raiders greeted the preseason with their exhibition Friday night. It was Las Vegas that managed to get away with a 23-6 victory in rather convincing fashion. With Derek Carr and the rest of the main Raiders starters seated, Jarrett Stidham guided the Raiders to a 10-0 lead to start the game and that was essentially enough distance to manage New England all night. .

After Stidham left, undrafted rookie Chase Garbers took the bulk of the snaps under center and was 12-for-22 passing for 141 yards. Meanwhile, all three quarterbacks entered the field for the Patriots. Mac Jones was 9-for-13 for 71 yards and a pick, Brian Hoyer missed just one of seven passes for 47 yards, and rookie Bailey Zappe was 10-for-14 for 84 yards and an interception.

For a more in-depth look at how this game unfolded and how each of these teams played, check out our takeaways below.

What the Raiders looked like

As has been the case throughout the summer, Stidham was brisk to start the game. He played in the first two Las Vegas series of the night and each resulted in runs, including a touchdown by Zamir White to cap the second drive. On the night, Stidham was 4 of 6 passing for 72 yards and showed strong offensive control, which bodes well for the Raiders’ quarterback depth behind Carr.

Specifically, the Raiders seemed to have success throwing chunks into midfield. Stidham completed a 20-yard pass to rookie tight end Cole Fotheringham to help set up that blank touchdown. Later in the contest, Garbers hit Tyron Johnson on a 45-yard pass that basically looked like a punt for how long he had been in the air.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders’ second and third team units were able to defend against the Patriots’ starting offense, particularly against the offensive line. They constantly pushed Jones out of place and resulted in keeping this unit in a field goal while on the field.

Meanwhile, 2021 first pick Alex Leatherwood – which has been the subject of trade rumors – did not have a strong performance. Against some second-unit Patriots defensemen, the offensive tackle was pushed back a bit. On one play, undrafted free agent LaBryan Ray put him on skates, which helped Daniel Ekuale eliminate Garbers for the sack.

It’s also worth pointing out that Leatherwood played deep in the fourth quarter of the preseason finale, which isn’t usually a good sign for prospects who make the team.

What the Patriots looked like

It was another choppy performance for the Patriots offense. Similar to what we saw throughout the summer, it took this unit a little while to gain momentum. On its first three possessions, the starting offense made three strikeouts and threw an interception, while gaining a total of 46 yards.

Jones looked really uncomfortable in the pocket at times, which forced him to make a few off-balance throws. An example of this came during his interception in the first quarter. There was pressure in the middle, he moved to his right and tried to reset. Then he tried to target Kendrick Bourne in midfield and didn’t see linebacker Luke Masterson sitting around the 40-yard line where he was able to jump in and make the interception with relative ease.

The offense returned for a fourth series of the night and picked up a much better pace, rushing 46 yards down the field. Jones threw a nice lob to DeVante Parker which he caught for a touchdown, but the score was called off after the receiver was flagged for OPI. On the next play, Jones was kicked out of the pocket and ran back before throwing the ball out of bounds, forcing the offense to settle for a field goal. So while it was their best ride of the night, there were definitely things that could have been better.

On the injury front, Ty Montgomery was carried through the first half of this game with an apparent injury to his right leg. The wide receiver running back/gadget player has had a very strong summer and has been primed for an important role on offense. While it’s currently unclear how bad the injury is, it’s never ideal when the cart is required. If he misses significant time, it could land JJ Taylor on the 53-man roster.

Defensively, the Patriots starting defense gave up some big plays to Stidham and the second-tier Raiders team. That said, they saw solid play from safety Kyle Dugger and rookie cornerback Jack Jones, who had a few plays that showed off his physicality and ability to drop the ball.

Turning

Jones’ interception was the spark for the Raiders’ touchdown. It took the offense about 90 seconds to cover 32 yards and enter the end zone. White threw a left throw around the 5-yard line and was able to beat the Patriots defenders to the edge and rush for the score. That extended Las Vegas’ lead to double digits and was basically all it needed to hold off the Patriots.

Game of the game

The most dazzling play of the night came in the second quarter when the Raiders’ third-team offense was in the game. Garbers took a first-and-10 snap from his own 25-yard line, faked the onside run, and uncorked a 45-yard pass to Johnson. That ball really stayed in the air for quite a while, which almost looked like Johnson was lining up a punt.

It basically flipped the field for the Raiders and led to a Daniel Carlson 50-yard field goal.

And after

From there, these teams will now prepare for the start of the 2022 regular season. For the Patriots, they will travel to Miami to face the Dolphins in their Week 1 opener, while the Raiders will will travel to Los Angeles to visit the Chargers to start the year. As for when these two teams will meet again, you’ll have to wait until Week 15. There, the Patriots are set to return to Las Vegas for a “Sunday Night Football” showdown on December 18.

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