FSM Essential Recap: Preseason Game 4 – Raiders vs Patriots

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (4-0) | New England Patriots (1-2)

As we enter the Las Vegas Raiders’ fourth and final exhibition game, it has primarily been a successful preseason campaign. The Silver & Black have played to a 3-0 record without exuding much (if any) effort from their starting offense while sustaining no significant injuries to their starting D. For a full recap of the three previous games, click below:

HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: John Locher-AP

After a cordial week of joint practice with the New England Patriots, it’s time for something a little more official. Coach McDaniels will go toe to toe with his former mentor, Bill Belichick, for the first of two meetings (Week 15) this season—It is rare to see teams compete in the preseason if they are also slated for a regular season matchup that same year, but here we are!

Be that as it is, and on theme with the Raiders’ last exhibition games, expect both sides to play on the conservative side. Before Friday’s kickoff, I don’t expect Derek Carr, Davante Adams, or Darren Waller to see any on-field action. For New England, we likely see starting quarterback Mac Jones for a series or two, but no more.

Heading into this final contest before it gets real, I have my eyes on the shuffling offensive line (especially Alex Leatherwood and Jermaine Eluemunor) as well as Vegas’ cornerback play. But, remember, final cuts were looming large after this game.

For a comprehensive quarter-by-quarter recap and analysis of Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Patriots, continue reading! Remember, these preseason games are loaded with non-starters; See here for a 2022 depth chart and positional breakdowns!


1st Quarter

On a warm Friday night in Las Vegas, a near full-house packed into Allegiant Stadium for the Raiders’ preseason finale. In their only work on the day, team captains Derek Carr and Maxx Crosby trotted out for the opening coin toss, ultimately winning and deferring possession until the second half: Defense up first!

The Raiders took control right from the whistle to stay on par with Las Vegas’ previous three exhibitions this year. On the game’s opening series, New England’s starting quarterback Mac Jones marched out his offense only to march right back to the sideline; Vegas forced the Patriot starters into a three-and-out, thanks in large part to a 13-yard sack from DE Malcolm Koonce.

Also, on par with the Raiders’ past three games, the Silver & Black were able to score points with their initial possession on Friday night. Starting his fourth game of this preseason, No. 2 signal caller Jarrett Stidham got things rolling right away. Behind McDaniels’ offense, Stidham made a few good throws right off the bat—A 14-yard pitch and catch to WR D.J. Turner and a seam ball to TE Jesper Horsted for 30 yards (into NE red zone). Zamir White also added several chunk runs to keep the drive churning. However, after stalling deep in Pats’ territory, kicker Daniel Carlson was sent out to do what he does, splitting the uprights from 23 yards out: Vegas is on the board first, up 3-0.

New England’s next drive under Mac Jones may have been their most frustrating of the evening. After incurring a holding penalty on the first play, Jones was eventually able to move the sticks via a 13-yard QB scramble. The Pats would then pick up another first down on the ground before tragedy struck midfield; On 1st & 10 from the LV 47-yard line, Jones attempted to step up in the pocket while delivering a dart over the middle, only it was right to the Raiders’ rookie-linebacker Luke Masterson. Nevertheless, the rookie defender was able to find a lane, returning the interception 30 yards: Well into Patriots’ territory. After the play, the second-year Jones was frustrated with himself, petitioning to stay in the game a little longer.

Stidham trotted back out with the Raider-O and made sure to get receiver Dillon Stoner involved. After an 8-yard grab from Stoner, Stidham found the tight end, Cole Fotheringham, for a 20-yard first down. Deep in the red zone, the Raiders immediately went stretch-left to Zamir White for a four-yard touchdown! Carlson easily punched through the XP, and Vegas is up 10-nil.

The next possession for both sides would be a three-and-out. The Pats’ effort would be stopped by a Tashawn Bower TFL on third down, while Chase Garbers replaced Stidham at quarterback for Las Vegas, going three-and-out. That would conclude the first period’s on-field action.

2nd Quarter


Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: John Locher-AP

Punting back to the Patriots, Jones would take the field for his final (and most successful) drive of the night. He started by finding Nelly Agholor for a first down before hitting Kendrick Bourne on consecutive passes (also moving the chains). Next, Jones went to his security blanket TE Hunter Henry for a 16-yard gain into the red zone. Defensive end Bower would then follow with his first of two sacks on the night, leaving New England with a 2nd & 16 from Vegas’ 20-yard line. Next, it appeared New England scored on a perfect fade-pass from Jones to DaVante Parker. Parker did well to secure the pass in the end zone but was flagged on a (questionable) offensive pass interference. That would essentially stall the drive, and Pats’ K Nick Folk came out to make sure there would be no shutout; He converted the 35-yard kick to narrow the gap, 10-3.

On the Raiders’ next play from scrimmage, they would net their most significant gain of the night for either side. Dropping back on a play-action pass, Garbers found receiver Ty Johnson deep down the right side on a post for 45 yards. A tad underthrown, Johnson had his defender beat by a wide margin; A better ball likely scores six for the Silver & Black. Garbers followed the long pass with an eight-yard scramble, and Nick Bowers-holding ensued, killing all touchdown hopes on the drive. No worries, Carlson would then convert his second field goal of the night from a lengthy 50 yards; Raiders are back up double digits, 13-3.

Journeyman-QB Brian Hoyer took control of the Pats’ offense next. Hoyer started by picking up a first-down on an HB angle pass over the middle, but fantastic plays from the Raiders’ cornerbacks Amik Robertson and Sam Webb ensured the possession stopped there. Again, New England would be forced to punt.

The remaining drives of the first half would render inconsequential (especially Tashawn Bower’s forced fumble that was called back: Tuck rule much?!) Heading back into the locker room, Vegas remains ahead 13-3. 

3rd Quarter


Starting the second half with the ball, the Raiders could not take advantage of the turnaround; They rapidly went three-and-out. We would not see Brian Hoyer again for New England, but the rookie-Bailey Zappe came out for some burn instead. However, he would return the favor to the Silver & Black, going three-and-out himself.

At this point in the game, Las Vegas began to feed the ever-hungry Brittain Brown. Undoubtedly, Friday was the Raiders’ worst rushing performance of the preseason, but Brown still did well to pick up timely yards, controlling the game’s pace. After a personal foul, the Patriots gave the Raiders new life, and they continued to ride the bellcow Brown. However, Vegas would be faced with a 4th & 1 at midfield after an eight-play drive. Going back to Brown, New England would prevail, stuffing the rush for a turnover-on-downs.

Zappe would appear more confident on his second drive under center. After hitting a couple of check-downs, the Pats managed to move the ball into LV-territory with help from a 33-yard scamper from running back Kevin Harris. On the next play, New England would see its second nullified touchdown of the evening; Handing off to Pierre Strong Jr., his run off left tackle would leave him standing in the end zone! But as mentioned, it was all for not, as the Pats’ would be flagged for holding. Unable to push it in for six, Nick Folk returned to action to convert his second FG: Raiders still up 13-6!

For the Raiders, Garbers came back out and hit WR Keelan Cole on a 21-yard pass over the middle. But after starting the drive promisingly, a dropped ball by Stoner on 3rd & short killed the possession: Time to call on the other Cole (AJ)!

On the last drive of the third Quarter, Las Vegas’ defense made a couple of clutch plays to keep the Pats stagnant. Defensive end Zach VanValkenburg did well to chime in with a QB-sack, and corner Sam Webb had a gritty PD on 3rd down to ultimately stall New England’s threat.


4th Quarter


The final Quarter of the Raiders’ 2022 preseason started slow but ended with a bang (or two). With Garbers still at the helm, LV went run-heavy via Austin Walter. Stoner added a short reception before WR Isaiah Zuber then made a diving first-down grab (more from Zuber later). New England’s defense would hold in the red zone this time, but the ever-reliable Carlson held up his end, kicking a 33-yard field goal to increase the lead back to 10, now 16-6 to Las Vegas.

Uncharacteristically, the Patriots would end the game poorly. However, Zappe returned to play, picking up a couple of first downs thanks to running back Strong. From there, working out of the gun, Zappe fired a bullet over the middle that was intercepted by the same player who just made a diving catch on offense: Isaiah Zuber, now playing safety? I’m not exactly sure how long Zuber has been working with the defense, but hey, the more dynamic your game is, the more value you have. This time, it paid off in a big way, essentially sealing the game for Las Vegas.

The Raiders were not done scoring, though. With about six and a half minutes left in regulation, the Silver & Black took their advantageous field position and marched seven plays into the end zone (the scoring play was a 3rd down three-yard touchdown dive from Brown). With their most significant leaders of the entire preseason (now 23-6), Vegas would essentially play the gentleman’s card (McDaniels still has a ton of respect for Belichick, of course). Sure, New England’s running back Harris wound up fumbling the ball (forced by Cosby, recovered by Bower) back to the Raiders, but Garbers would kneel on it from there, expiring the clock and the Raiders’ preseason calendar all at once! Just like that, Las Vegas is heading into the regular season with all the momentum a team could hope for! 23-6 final score from the Death Star. 




Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: John Locher-AP

Despite having little to no regular season experience, Jarett Stidham and Chase Garbers have proven they can be counted on if Carr should miss any time. Stidham was an efficient 4 of 6 passing for 72 yards, while Garbers had a 12 for 22 clip with 141 yards. You can tell that both players have the right mindset for the position, as McDaniels put them in their best spot to succeed.

If Tyron Johnson makes the team, and I think he will, he’ll be the Raiders’ best big play receiver. He only had one catch on Friday night, but it was for 45 yards (the longest gain by either side). He has amassed 78 yards on seven receptions through the four preseason games. D.J. Turner also has this ability, along with Keelan Cole (who is likely the most complete receiver of these three). Combined with the talents of Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Mack Hollins, I cannot reiterate this enough; Vegas is deep at WR.

Former first-rounders Alex Leatherwood and Clelin Ferrell may have played their last downs for the Silver & Black. Of course, both players possess incredible potential, but the lack of progress on both accounts over the past year has been concerning. Leatherwood took most of the RT snaps on Friday and still left much desired. I also saw Ferrell on the opening series, but I’m not sure how much more than that; His name does not appear in the stat sheet. With final cuts looming, their status is still up in the air.

Crazy or not, I believe this defense will be able to hold their own in the high-flying AFC West. At linebacker, Darius Butler and Luke Masterson have shown they have both the skills and athleticism to make a difference when filling in for starters Deablo and Perryman. Up front, Tashawn Bower will be a terror when stepping on the field to give Crosby or Chandler Jones a breather. On the outside, Amik Robertson and Sam Webb both play physically at the CB spot. With Trayvon Mullen’s status uncertain, Webb and Robertson provided needed depth.

Just how bad is Darren Waller’s hamstring injury? Well, I’m not exactly sure. Coach McDaniels isn’t attributing much to it, but Waller took zero snaps this preseason. Of course, he doesn’t really need to, but hamstring ailments can be pesky on people of Waller’s size. Here’s to hoping he’s ready for ball come Week 1 in the City of Angels!


The Raiders will next travel to SoFi Stadium and prepare for their regular season game against the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers, which will take place Sunday, Sept. 11. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 pm and can be seen locally on Fox 5.

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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