The first game of the Las Vegas Raiders 2021 season is in the books, and it saw them deliver a solid overall performance in a 20-7 victory for the Silver and Black.
The Raiders didn’t play most of their starting players. Guys like Derek Carr, Kolton Miller, and Darren Waller, among others, were all not dressed.
However, we did get to see some of the younger players like Andre James, Alex Leatherwood, and Tre’von Moehrig, all get a shot to prove what they can do.
The game started on the offensive side of the ball as the Seahawks won the coin toss and decided to defer their choice until halftime.
On the first play of the game, Brandon Parker got beat, and Nathan Peterman took a sack from his blind side. But after that first play, the Raider’s offense started firing. They converted two straight third downs, including a really nice 28-yard pass by Peterman to Zay Jones.
The Raiders drove downfield and punched it to score their first touchdown of the 2021 NFL season, a 1-yard run by rookie Trey Ragas.
On the second drive, the Raiders drove downfield, once again, and put up 3 points. That was pretty much the story of the game as the Raiders dominated the time of possession, 40 minutes and 37 seconds for the Raiders to 19 minutes and 23 seconds for the Seahawks.
Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, and Alec Ingold all got a rest this week, so the rookie running backs carried the load, and they delivered. BJ Emmons (9-45 yds, 1 TD) and Trey Ragas (13-62 yds, 1 TD) had their ways with the Seahawks defense. “No one has come further in a shorter amount of time than him,” Gruden said of Ragas.
The Raider’s 3rd running back spot is up for grabs after Jalen Richard had an injury to his foot, which will likely require him to miss significant time. Ragas and Emmons both delivered solid performances, and the battle for that spot will continue.
The wide receivers also got in on the action. Zay Jones had 3 catches for 57 yards, Keelan Doss had 6 catches for 55 yards, and rookie DJ Turner had 7 catches for 43 yards. Turner also had a punt return for 13 yards.
Overall, it was a solid performance led by Nathan Peterman, who played pretty much the entire game. He finished 29/39 for 246 yards and 1 interception.
The Raiders defense played against a Seahawks offense that featured veteran Geno Smith. The Raiders defense rested a ton of their starters, but even with backup players in, Gus Bradley’s defense looked good.
They started the game strong, forcing the Seahawks into a 3rd down situation. On that play, Damon Arnette was close to knocking that pass incompletely. Ultimately, he missed the swat and didn’t wrap up the tackle. The wide receiver was able to catch and run for a first down.
The defense looked strong, led by a defensive line that was able to get after the quarterback several times.
Clelin Ferrell had 2 pressures and 1 QB hit. Darius Philon was unblockable at times. He had 2 pressures and was unblockable in the limited snaps he took. Even Solomon Thomas got into the action. On one play, he was able to force the quarterback off his spot, which led to Clelin Ferrell wrapping the quarterback up for a gain of one yard.
Javin White led the team in tackles with a total of six. He was a force in the middle. Although it was primarily the backups playing, one thing is clear. The defense seemed faster and much more confident.
Looking at Individual Performances
We’ll keep this quick and concise, and we will fully get into this thoroughly in a few days when we do our film review.
The guy that’s set up to replace a future hall of famer, and one of the league’s most consistent players, Rodney Hudson, is none other than UCLA tackle converted to center Andre James.
We heard all offseason by coaches and players how James should be able to step in and do a good job, and boy, did he deliver.
James played the full first quarter, and he played a perfect game. He didn’t allow any sacks or hits to the quarterback, and he even had 2 pancake blocks. The one thing that was clear during this game is James is ready to play this year.
Alex Leatherwood looks as advertised. He started the game’s first drive on fire, locking down the right side and anchoring really well for the Raiders. Like James, Leatherwood also played the first quarter. After the game, Jon Gruden said, “One step at a time… I thought the big right tackle stood his own in there.”
In the limited snaps Leatherwood played, he allowed only 1 pressure. He used his long arms really well, and it’s clear he knows how to punch. That allowed the rookie to win multiple times.
Nate Hobbs had a really strong showing. He played on the “first string” defense against the Seahawks. On one play, Bradley sent him on a slot blitz. The quarterback didn’t see it, and Hobbs delivered a huge hit and got the sack.
Hobbs had a really good impression on the coaches. “There’s certain guys that bring juice, they bring something to the game that others, you just can’t explain it, he’s into it all the time,” coach Gruden said after the game.
Nate Hobbs started with the first group, and Nevin Lawson ended up coming in later on in the game. So there is a good chance that Nate Hobbs ends up starting for the raiders, and not only for the first two weeks, but for the entire season.
**Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the Raiders players.
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