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Raiders report card: Passing grades in win at Denver

Updated September 10, 2023 - 7:14 pm

DENVER — How the Raiders performed in a 17-16 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High:

Offense: B+

It wasn’t perfect. Very little of the game was. But when it mattered most, the Raiders produced drives that led to a 1-0 record. In his Raiders debut, Jimmy Garoppolo was efficient in completing 20 of 26 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The pick was a bad one in the end zone late in the third quarter, but Garoppolo then answered by leading the team on a seven play, 75-yard scoring drive in 2:20 to take the lead at 17-16. Both TD passes went to Jakobi Meyers (nine catches for 81 yards). Props also to an offensive line that kept Garoppolo clean all day in allowing no sacks. Josh Jacobs, after missing all of training camp, rushed 19 times for 48 yards.

Defense: B

There’s a lot to clean up in terms of penalties, but the Raiders got the stops needed to allow their offense to go win the game. They held Denver to a field goal with 8:54 remaining to make it 16-10 and then held again on a three-and out with 5:08 left. The Broncos never saw the ball again. Nate Hobbs was terrific with a team-best 12 tackles (two for loss), and linebacker Divine Diablo added nine. Maxx Crosby and Jerry Tillery were each credited with one sack. The Raiders tackled well all day. In his first NFL action, rookie cornerback Jakorian Bennett had an up-and-down outing, accounting for seven tackles but twice being flagged for pass interference.

Special teams: C-

The kicking game was its usual solid stuff — Daniel Carlson was good from 24 yards on his only field-goal attempt — but you can’t have a roughing the punter call on fourth down to begin the fourth quarter. Denver took advantage of it by driving for a field goal and six-point advantage.

Coaching: B

Josh McDaniels called a good enough game to win, and his team played with all sorts of resiliency in the fourth quarter. The leadership down the stretch ultimately led to victory. The Raiders are 1-0 with a road victory in the division. All that matters.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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