The new offense Josh McDaniels has brought to the desert kept rolling Sunday afternoon.
The Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 in their first 2022 preseason game action inside Allegiant Stadium. Sunday’s game was the first time many of the Raiders’ new players been inside their new home stadium with a crowd surrounding them. The consensus of the locker room was overwhelmed by the energy of the building, including Coach McDaniels.
“I’ve been around a lot of preseason games over 22 years, and I don’t remember one feeling like this,” McDaniels said postgame. “I would just say that the reception from our fans, getting to know Raider Nation the way that you see them now, it’s just different. … That is the best atmosphere in a preseason game that I’ve ever been a part of. And that’s easy to say that, clearly.
“I can’t wait to play another time in here, and then get to the regular season and have the opportunity to do it for real in the regular games.”
The victory for the Raiders was driven by the success of the offense. The unit compiled 300 total yards of offense, and had eight more minutes in time of possession over the Vikings.
The team got two good showings from quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens, who are actively competing for the backup quarterback job. Stidham ended the game with 68 passing yards and a rushing touchdown, while Mullens completed nearly 80 percent of his passes with 94 yards and a touchdown.
“I thought all the quarterbacks did well. I really did,” said McDaniels. “Jarrett led a couple scoring drives, and then Nick came in and did the same thing. … I think Jarrett has really grown over time. One of the things that keeps showing up that I’m really happy about is that there’s no turnovers. Before we can win, we have to learn how to not lose.”
“All the quarterbacks went in there and generally took care of the ball, made good decisions,” continued McDaniels. “Sometimes the best decisions are the ones that nobody can tell in the stadium right away that it was a good choice – throwing the ball away or sometimes taking a sack.”
All of the quarterbacks, with UDFA Chase Garbers included, have developed a solid chemistry with each other in the locker. While there’s a healthy competition in the room “we’re all working hard to improve everyday,” Stidham said.
With the Training Camp reps being taken, their comfortability in the playbook is developing.
“I feel really good,” Mullens said following the victory. “Every day is a new day, just trying to learn as much as I can and that’s the biggest thing. Learn and produce, and I’ll be good.”
Of the rookies, a standout was the Raiders’ seventh-round selection Brittain Brown. He finished the game as the games leading rusher with 14 carries, 54 yards and a trip to the end zone.
Despite it being a preseason game, scoring a touchdown in an NFL is a feat the rookie running back can always be proud of.
“It’s amazing. It’s a dream come true,” said Brown. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile now. It felt good getting in there with my teammates and celebrating in the end zone.”
The team will have a lot of film to look back over this week as they prepare to travel to South Florida to face the Miami Dolphins on Saturday.