Raiders laud Stidham: QB ‘balled out’ vs. 49ers
11: 11 PM ET
Paul GutierrezESPN Staff Writer
- Covered Oakland Raiders for CSNBayArea.com and Sacramento Bee for eight years
- Member of Pro Football Writers Association
- Previously worked at Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Sports Illustrated
LAS VEGAS — Jarrett Stidham, fresh off his first career start in which he passed for 365 yards and three touchdowns, gathered his Las Vegas Raiders teammates and apologized.
He was sorry for not being able to finish off the San Francisco 49ers and their No. 1-ranked defense in the Raiders’ 37-34 overtime loss at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday. I think everyone on the team said, “Man, get outta here with that.” You balled out and you did your thing,'” said Raiders receiver Davante Adams, who was on the receiving end of seven Stidham passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns. We have to find a way for him to help us — to protect him, catch a few extra balls, get a few fewer first downs, and get a few additional points. It could have been a wonderful situation for him. “
Such was the bittersweet feeling in the Raiders’ locker room after they fell to 6-10 with their fifth blown lead of at least 10 points — they led 24-14 in the third quarter — to be officially eliminated from the playoff race.
Because while Stidham was also picked off twice — the first on a batted ball at the line of scrimmage, the second in OT when he was bumped by left tackle Kolton Miller as he was bull-rushed into the quarterback by Niners defensive end Nick Bosa and Stidham’s deep shot to Adams down the left sideline fluttered harmlessly into the waiting arms of safety Tashaun Gipson — he earned the respect of a roster that had known only Derek Carr as the starter.
Carr, the team’s starter since his rookie season of 2014, was benched on Wednesday and, by mutual decision, is staying away from the team the final two weeks of the season.
But while Carr never looked truly comfortable in first-year coach Josh McDaniels’ system, it’s the only NFL scheme Stidham, acquired in a May 13 trade with McDaniels’ old employer, the Patriots, has known since being drafted by New England in 2019.
Raiders tight end Darren Waller said Stidham was teaching the players the scheme during OTAs and minicamp.
” When everyone was just learning things — what does that word mean? What does this word mean? — Jarrett … was pointing guys in different directions and was operating with confidence back then,” said Waller, who caught three passes for 72 yards, including a 24-yard TD. So, he knows everything. [The playbook] did not have to be simplified or watered down [Sunday]. He could jump right in and do all that we have been doing. “
Stidham became the second QB since the start of 1950 with at least 350 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in his first career start, alongside the New York Jets‘ Mike White in Week 8 of the 2021 season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Stidham finished with 122 more passing yards than any other Raiders QB making his first career start, eclipsing the 243 yards Todd Marinovich threw for against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1991 regular-season finale. Those Raiders also lost that game.
” I just wanted to get out there and have fun today,” Stidham stated. “Try to facilitate the offense and [find] ways to win. We just fell a bit short.
” It’s hard to say goodbye to that, but we have another week to make sure we’re all on the right page about how we want to end the year. “
McDaniels, meanwhile, said he did not alter his game plan much in making the switch from Carr to Stidham.
“Anyone who plays quarterback for us will have the same opportunity,” McDaniels stated about changing calls at the line. They had the same opportunity if they learned the system and understood how to use it. The game was not fundamentally different from what we would have called it otherwise. Jarrett seemed to have taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him. With Carr almost gone for next season’s game, rumors suggest that McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler and Tom Brady, both from New England, will be looking for another veteran QB.
But while the Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo storylines will heat up, Stidham might have given the front office something else to chew on.
“He balled,” said Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, the league’s leading rusher with 1,539 yards. “He balled, man. He was calm and collected in the huddle… it was hard to tell that he was a backup.
“That’s a great defense, if not the greatest defense in the league. I think that he was able to go out and do what he did. ‘”
The Raiders’ defense impressed as well.
“Jarrett played his ass off,” defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “Dude is a competitor…looking forward to him playing his ans off next week, also.
“I love seeing a guy like him. He’s always getting hyped up and talking about his s —,. Yes, I have a lot of respect for him. “
It’s just one game of a lost season — the Raiders were expected to return to the playoffs after finishing 10-7 last year and making upgrades to the roster and changing regimes. Stidham’s performance was also impressive beyond his ability to extend plays with both his legs and roll out and take hits.
Like on the big shot he took from Talanoa Hufanga and Samson Ebukam on his 60-yard TD pass to Adams, one of Carr’s closest friends since their college days at Fresno State and a major reason the receiver came to Las Vegas. Adams stated that Jarrett was “just sticking with us, sticking with us, sticking with us, and sticking with our defense” and that he saw Adams as “just sticking with us, sticking with [me], sticking with us, and sticking with our defense, and finding a way to get behind them.” “He stuck in there, and threw it.
“He greeted me at the sideline with blood in his teeth. That’s what you expect from your quarterback. He’s a great guy. He’s a tough man, man. He’s not the most athletic man, but he is a hard worker. He’s going out to look for his men and will find a way to do it. “
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.