The Las Vegas Raiders began the Jimmy Garoppolo era with a narrow 17-16 victory over the Denver Broncos in the opening game of the 2023 season. Garoppolo played a pivotal role in the win, throwing two touchdown passes and effectively sealing the game with a crucial first-down run from the pocket. what was glaring was Garroppolo’s willingness to take off and extend drives This was a game the Raiders would have lost in 22. Garroppolo had 9 rushing attempts this game which is 2 more than Derrek Carr had in his career as a raider.
Player of the Game Offense and Defense
Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and linebacker Divine Deablo emerged as the standout performers for the team. Meyers, formerly with the New England Patriots, had expressed his desire to capitalize on playing alongside Davante Adams, and he certainly made the most of his opportunities. Leading the team in receiving yards (81) and catches (nine), Meyers showcased his skills before being forced to leave the game due to injury.
For Deablo, this game marked his return to regular season action since suffering an elbow injury last November against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The linebacker displayed a renewed energy and agility on the field in Denver. Finishing Week 1 with nine total tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass deflection, Deablo made a significant impact in his comeback performance.
Damarri Mathis faced a daunting task on sunday. With the formidable presence of Patrick Surtain II on the field, opposing quarterbacks tended to steer clear of his side. This meant that Mathis, as the team’s second cornerback, would consistently face a barrage of passes aimed his way.
Under these demanding circumstances, the Broncos’ defensive unit relied on Mathis to deliver an exceptional performance and contain Jakobi Meyers. However, fate had different plans, as Meyers seized the opportunity and dominated Mathis throughout the entire game, ultimately scoring two touchdowns against the young second-year player.
Pass Blocking was great Run Blocking not so much.
Although the Broncos’ defensive front seven successfully contained Josh Jacobs, their performance in pressuring Jimmy Garropolo was abysmal. The Raiders’ offense smartly employed a quick, rhythmic passing strategy to neutralize the pass rush throughout the game. Remarkably, Garropolo remained untouched, as not a single sack was registered against him. His white jersey, seemingly untouched, appeared just as pristine as it did prior to kickoff. The run blocking in particular from the left guard and center spot left a little to be desired from the eye test. We will have to determine if Josh is a little rusty on this line and needs to pick it up on the run-blocking front
“Himmy G has great command of the offense.
The game started off on a positive note for Jimmy Garoppolo and the Raiders offense. Taking advantage of a penalty on the Broncos, Garoppolo quickly capitalized on the short field and connected with wide receiver Jakobi Meyers for a touchdown on their first possession. This strong start set the tone for the Raiders’ offensive performance.
Garoppolo bounced back on the ensuing drive, throwing another touchdown pass to Meyers and giving the Raiders a 17-16 lead that they would hold until the end. His ability to lead the team was further solidified by a late scramble for a first down, sealing the win for Las Vegas.
This victory was particularly encouraging for coach Josh McDaniels, especially considering Garoppolo briefly left the game after taking a big hit early on. Despite his injury history, Garoppolo returned and eventually earned the win for the Raiders.
a late interception by Garoppolo in the end zone during the third quarter threatened to dampen his performance. Fortunately, the Raiders defense stepped up and limited the damage, allowing only a field goal and keeping the Broncos’ lead at 16-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
The defense looked average But answered the bell.
Despite the victory, the game itself was marred by a lack of fluidity, as both teams accumulated a total of 20 penalties. Also, Las Vegas did definitely upgrade at several key roster spots, then the Raiders should improve upon their No. 28-ranked total defense (it was No. 14 in 2021). Las Vegas was No. 29 against the pass, No. 19 against the run and gave up the seventh-most points in the NFL. Yeah, there’s room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball.
Following Garoppolo’s interception, it seemed like the Raiders had successfully halted the Broncos’ offense when defensive end Jerry Tillery sacked Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, forcing a punt. However, on a crucial 4th-and-14 play, linebacker Luke Masterson committed a roughing the punter penalty, giving the Broncos a fresh set of downs.
Masterson’s mistake could have potentially cost the Raiders the game, as it extended the Broncos’ drive. Nevertheless, the rest of the Raiders’ defense rallied after the blunder and managed to limit the Broncos to a field goal, keeping the score at 16-10.
In addition to the strong defensive effort after Masterson’s penalty, there were notable individual performances from the Raiders’ defenders. Cornerback Nate Hobbs had an impressive game, leading the team with 12 tackles. Linebacker Devine Deablo also made an impact, contributing nine tackles.
The All-Pro defensive end Maxx Crosby had a solid game, recording five tackles and a sack. His presence on the field was felt as he consistently applied pressure on the Broncos’ offense. Defensive lineman Jerry Tillery, who filled in for the injured Chandler Jones, also made his mark with a sack.
These standout performances from key defensive players played a crucial role in keeping the Broncos’ offense in check and preventing them from capitalizing on some key opportunities.
Although there was a cause for concern, it did not ultimately ruin the Raiders’ opening game. The defense’s Resilience in holding the Broncos to just a field goal after a big special teams bunder showcased their ability to overcome mistakes and keep the team in a favorable situation. The question that still remains is whether can we turn this unit into one that attacks and can be more aggressive or are we just a bend-dont-break defense?
The Raiders Penalty Problems Continue
Despite the Raiders’ struggles with penalties last season, it seems that the issue carried over into their game on Sunday. They committed a total of 10 penalties, resulting in 97 yards given up. These penalties had significant consequences, extending the Broncos’ drives and hindering the Raiders’ own progress.
One notable penalty was a pass interference call on rookie cornerback Jakorian Bennett, which aided the Broncos in their first touchdown drive. Bennett’s subsequent pass interference penalty also extended Denver’s second drive. These penalties allowed the Broncos to gain momentum and put points on the board.
Another penalty that had a potential impact was an illegal contact call on cornerback Marcus Peters. This penalty erased a fumble by Russell Wilson, but fortunately for the Raiders, the Broncos missed the subsequent field goal attempt, minimizing the impact of the flag.
Perhaps the most costly penalty came from linebacker Luke Masterson. After quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s interception on the goal line, the Raiders were able to stop the Broncos on their next possession. However, Masterson’s roughing the punter penalty on Riley Dixon gave the Broncos 15 additional yards, a first down, and ultimately three more points.
These penalties not only extended the Broncos’ drives but also put the Raiders’ defense in difficult situations. It is clear that the team needs to address their penalty issues and find ways to limit these costly mistakes in order to make a push for the playoffs.
The Raider’s week 1 win will undoubtedly provide a morale boost for the Raiders, who are aiming to surpass the low expectations set for them throughout the league. The Raiders face a daunting task this week in Buffalo after losing to the Jets in Met Life stadium on Monday. This is the perfect way to start off the season winning a tough division game week on on the road one down 5 more to go. Divisional matchups almost count double and winning your division is the most direct way to the playoffs.