Raiders open Jimmy Garoppolo era with 17-16 win

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Garoppolo finished 20 of 26 for 200 yards with two touchdowns to fellow Raiders newcomer Jakobi Meyers.

The Las Vegas Raiders won their season opener for the sixth time in eight seasons, as they opened the Jimmy Garoppolo era with a 17-16 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Garoppolo finished 20 of 26 for 200 yards with two touchdowns to fellow Raiders newcomer Jakobi Meyers, one interception, and a 107.9 quarterback rating.

Garoppolo, who was brought to Las Vegas after spending six seasons in San Francisco, and Meyers, who joined the Raiders after four seasons in New England, hooked up nine times for 81 yards, including touchdown receptions of 3 and 6 yards.

“It was a special win,” Garoppolo told CBS after the game. “All of them are special, but this one, guys gritted it out, big drive at the end, defense held up – it took everybody today, it was fun.”

Josh Jacobs, who missed much of training camp due to a holdout, rushed for 48 yards on 19 carries.

The Raiders spoiled Denver coach Sean Payton’s debut while beating their AFC West rival for the seventh straight meeting.

Under Payton’s offensive scheme, veteran quarterback Russell Wilson finished 27 of 34 for 177 yards and two touchdowns for a 1087 quarterback rating.

Sunday also marked the ninth time the Raiders opened the season against Denver. They improved to 4-5 against the Broncos in Week 1.

Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game:

Jimmy’s debut

With his victory, Garoppolo now has 41 quarterback wins in games he has started since entering the league in 2014, third most in the NFL in that span through a quarterback’s first 58 career starts, behind only Lamar Jackson (43) and Patrick Mahomes (46).

“He’s a good leader, he won a lot of games in this league,” McDaniels said. “I think the guys in the locker room know who they have and what this guy can do, how competitive he is. He’s a very good leader. He’s a great communicator, just does what it takes to win. He doesn’t care about his statistics or anything like that. It’s just, ‘Whatever I got to do at my position to try to help the team win, I’m going to try to do it.’ So again, super happy that he’s a Raider.”

Divine intervention

While Nate Hobbs led the defense with 12 tackles (8 solo), including two for loss, it was the play of linebacker Divine Deablo that stood out at specific times with big hits. Deablo finished with nine tackles (5 solo), one for loss and a pass deflection. He also had a fumble recovery wiped off the slate with an illegal contact penalty on Marcus Peters. Beyond the tackles, though, was his agility in covering a lot of ground. He could’ve had another tackle to his credit but was called for a face mask penalty in the second quarter, an infraction he quickly made up for with back-to-back tackles on second and third down to thwart Denver’s drive.


One of the Raiders biggest problems last season was Red Zone efficiency, finishing 26th in the NFL with a 47.9% conversion rate, getting in the end zone 23 of 48 trips inside the 20. Sunday the Raiders enjoyed a 2-for-4 conversion rate in the Red Zone. In addition to their two touchdowns, the Raiders got a 24-yard field goal from placekicker Daniel Carlson, and Garoppolo’s interception came on a deflected pass in the end zone.

The Raiders were also better than they were last season on third down. Last year they ranked 16th with a 39.9% conversion rate (83 of 211). On Sunday, Las Vegas was 5 of 11 (45.4%) on third down attempts spanning six drives. A seventh possession was one play at the end of the first half.