Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media


FSM Essential Recap: Raiders vs Patriots – Week 15

Las Vegas Raiders (6-8) | New England Patriots (7-7)

Franchise Sports Media


A little Jones-on-Jones crime catapults the Raiders to a walk-off victory in one of the wildest endings imaginable. At 6-8, Las Vegas remains in the AFC playoff hunt.


Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

Entering Sunday, the Raiders returned home while clinging to their last hopes of AFC playoff contention. Of course, across the field from them in Week 15 is the New England Patriots, and they have their own postseason slot to be concerned with (holding on to a Wild Card position before Sunday’s game).

Thankfully for Raider Nation, news before the game revealed both Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller would be elevated to the active roster after lengthy IR stints. That is certainly positive considering Derek Carr is coming off an 11-for-20-with-no-touchdowns performance last week in L.A. And at this point in the season, with the Raiders literally fighting for their lives, the Silver & Black can’t afford any more bad days at quarterback.

In my NE-LV preview authored earlier in the week, I highlighted a few keys to the game as making life difficult for Patriots QB Mac Jones and feeding WR Davante Adams early and often. Of highest importance, however, is establishing control in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

Pitting mentor against mentee, we also have the ironically unlively matchup of Bill Belichick vs. Josh McDaniels. The Raiders‘ head coach was able to defeat Belichick way back in 2009, but that was with a different team in a different city.

Let’s dive into Sunday’s action. With Raider Nation eager to return to the Death Star, energy levels were percolating near pinnacle levels early. Add in the postseason urgency for both sides, and we should be in line for a great game on the gridiron.


Previous contests


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

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)
WK4: Raiders 32 – Broncos 23 (W)
WK5: Chiefs 30 – Raiders 29 (L)
WK7: Raiders 38 – Texans 20 (W)

WK8: Saints 24 – Raiders 0 (L)
WK9: Jaguars 27 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK10: Colts 25 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK11: Raiders 22 – Broncos 16 (OT)/(W)
WK12: Raiders 40 – Seahawks 34 (OT)/(W)
WK13: Raiders 27 – Chargers 20 (W)
WK14: Rams 17 – Raiders 16 (L)


1st Quarter


Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

In what feels like a weekly certainty, the Raiders lost the opening coin toss and started on offense. Managing to produce points on the opening drive, Vegas was able to string together enough plays to wind up in Daniel Carlson’s field goal range. From 49 yards out, Carlson converted his first kick of the day, giving the Raiders an early 3-0 lead.

New England’s first possession was entirely uneventful, sustaining only four plays for an overall gain of 13 yards. In a flash, the Pats were punting back to Raider Nation. The next drive for Vegas was nearly identical to New England’s, using five plays to move the football only 16 yards. This game isn’t exactly screeching out of the gate …

The Patriots would manage to get on the board on their next drive. Taking a more systematic approach, going ground heavy and using 14 total plays, the Pats wound up stalling deep in Raiders’ territory. This was also when the 1Q clock ran out.


2nd Quarter


Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Making sure to get points out of their 14-play drive, New England sent out veteran K Nick Folk to pooch through the 24-yard field goal. Fresh into 2Q, and we’re all tied up at 3.

The Raiders responded with a lengthy scoring drive of their own. Carr began the drive by hooking up with his No. 1 target Davante Adams. Then, over a heavy dosage of RB Josh Jacobs through the next ten plays, the Raiders eventually found themselves on the cusp of New England’s red zone. From there, Carr reintroduced Raider Nation to TE Darren Waller, connecting with the Pro Bowler for a 25-yard touchdown reception in his first game back from injury. With a roar from Raider Nation, Vegas takes a 10-3 lead.

Both sides would exchange punts on the following possessions. After that, the Raiders were able to get a major play for their special teams. Having forced the Pats into a punting situation at midfield, DE Malcolm Koonce stormed through the middle to block Palardy’s kick. This brought the Raider energy level inside Allegiant Stadium to a rocking level, despite the large turnout of Patriots fans.

Now working with a short field, the Raiders were able to find the end zone a couple of plays later. From the 5-yard, Carr navigated the pocket long enough to find a crossing Mack Hollins for the touchdown. Up 17-3 before halftime, can the Raiders start to pile on the Pats?


3rd Quarter


Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Having deferred their coin toss selection to the second half, New England resumed play with the football. However, much like many of their first-half drives, the Pats‘ offense failed to produce any effective plays. In no less than six plays, New England was already punting back to Las Vegas.

To subvert all of the Raiders’ momentum, Carr marched out the offense only to make his worst throw of the day. Attempting to work a pass to Adams on a WR screen, CB Kyle Dugger jumped the route and quickly returned the interception 16 yards for a touchdown. For New England, that was precisely the sort of play they needed to get back into the game. It’s a one-score game again, with the Raiders leading 17-10.

Staying on offense, Carr and his unit would not be able to do much with their next drive. After six plays and less than 20 yards, the Raiders sent A.J. Cole to punt back to the Pats. Next, New England was able to scrape together successful field goal attempts on back-to-back drives, with Folk converting from 47 and 54 yards out (the latter coming in 4Q). Newly into the game’s final quarter, the Raiders cling to a one-point lead, 17-16.


4th Quarter


Raiders vs Patriots
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Picking up the game in 4Q with a Raiders’ punt, the Patriots’ lackluster offense took the field down 17-13 (and still searching for the unit’s first touchdown of the day). Beginning the possession at the midfield stripe, New England used the ground game to pick up a yard before trying a wide receiver screen that also yielded a short gain. It appeared the Raiders had the Pats backed into a three-and-out after stopping a Mac Jones scramble, but an illegal contact penalty on Vegas gave New England new life. The next series was equally underwhelming (except for a booming QB hit from Chandler Jones), but the Patriots’ field positioning alone allowed Folk to convert a 54-yard field goal to make it a one-point game, down 17-16.

Retaking the field in the power-I, Vegas’ offense was able to rip off chunk runs from Jacobs to move the chains. In true Raider fashion, a delay of game penalty followed the 1st down, pushing Vegas back to their initial spot. To make matters worse, a sack ensued on the next play. Now backed up facing a 3rd & 17 situation, the Raiders conceded by running the ball before punting to New England. Other than the pick-six in 3Q, this second half has been without any quality action.

New England’s offense came back out by utilizing runs from Stevenson. Once softened up, the Pats then tried a fade down the left sideline to former Raider Nelson Agholor, but an incredibly timed play in coverage from CB Amik Robertson slapped the ball to the ground. After another punt from the Patriots left the Raiders with the ball at their own 20-yard line.

Back on offense, Vegas was hit with a false start penalty (Miller) before running the first play of the series. A couple of rush attempts from Jacobs resulted in minimal gains, and after a short catch-and-run on 3rd down, the Raiders were forced into a three-and-out. After a punt back to New England, the Patriots were finally able to open things up. On their first play of the possession, Jones went deep down the seam to a wide-open WR, Jakobi Meyers, that pushed the ball onto the Raiders’ side of the field. On the very next play, Stevenson blasted through the right side for a 34-yard touchdown run, inciting roars from the many New England fans in attendance. The Pats take their first lead since the first quarter, leading the Raiders 24-17.

Now with that familiar feeling (down a score in the fourth quarter), how would the Raiders respond? After throwing the ball away on first down, Carr nearly connected with a streaking WR Mack Hollins for what would have been a 75+ yard score, but the pass sailed long for the receiver. Then on 3rd down, Carr had Adams open on a post, but Waller stepped in front of the pass (thinking it was intended for him) and knocked the ball to the ground. Punting back to New England, time is beginning to be an issue.

The Raiders would at least give themselves a shot by quickly forcing the Pats into a three-and-out, but with Vegas out of timeouts, the approaching two-minute warning will serve as their only clock stoppage. The first three plays of the drive all resulted in no gain, and once faced with a 4th & long with the game on the line, Carr connected with Hollins on a fade-stop down the left sideline to move the chains. On the next play, Hollins ran the exact same route, making the catch for another 10+ yards.

Then, exactly when they needed it most, Carr found WR Keelan Cole in the end zone for a top-tapping score over a defender. Admittedly, replay review showed Cole’s foot to be very near the boundary, but the ruling came back as “call stands” for a Raider touchdown! With less than a minute left to play, we are all tied up and likely headed for overtime.

Little did we know, one of the wildest endings in NFL history was on the horizon. With only 32 seconds remaining in regulation, one would assume the Patriots would simply run out the time and play for OT. Instead, the Pats played the aggressor, getting back into their offense in an attempt to reach field goal territory.

New England nearly succeeded in this as Stevenson rumbled up the right sideline on a run. Alarmingly, Stevenson decided to lateral the football back to a trailing Jakobi Meyers in hopes of keeping the play alive (as the game clock expired). However, once Meyers secured the ball, the wide receiver tried to fling it cross-field back to Mac Jones, only for DE Chandler Jones to leap in front of the pass, catch it, and take it all the way to the house for a walk-off defensive score of 48 yards. Even after seeing it with my own eyes, I’m having a hard time believing what just transpired. I’m no coach, but what on Earth were Stevenson and Meyers thinking? With a raucous roar, Las Vegas wins another in thrilling fashion, 30-24.




The Raiders live to fight another day. Again, it was not a pretty win by any means. Many of Vegas’ prevalent issues were on display again today, but in a game they absolutely needed to stay in postseason contention, the Silver & Black rose to the moment. That’s all for this week–On to Pittsburgh.


On Xmas eve, the Raiders will embark on “Steel City” for their final road trip of the 2022 regular season. Pitting the Silver & Black against the Black & Yellow always brings out physical play, and this holiday edition of Raiders vs Steelers should be no different. In a primetime window, kickoff in Week 16 is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 24, at 5:15 pm PST and will be televised on NFL Network and Fox 5 (local radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).


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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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