Patriots vs. Raiders takeaways: Josh McDaniels gets better of former club; New England offense struggles again

After a week of joint practices, the Patriots and Raiders put a bow on the preseason with their exhibition on Friday night. It was Las Vegas which was able to pull away with 23-6 win in rather convincing fashion. With Derek Carr and the rest of the main Raiders starters sitting, Jarrett Stidham guided the Raiders to a 10-0 lead to begin the game and that was essentially enough distance to handle New England throughout the evening. 

After Stidham departed, undrafted rookie Chase Garbers took the bulk of the snaps under center and was 12-for-22 passing for 141 yards. Meanwhile all three quarterbacks hit the field for the Patriots. Mac Jones was 9-for-13 for 71 yards and a pick, Brian Hoyer missed on just one of his seven passes for 47 yards, and rookie Bailey Zappe finished 10-for-14 for 84 yards and an interception. 

For a more in-depth look at how this game unfolded and how each of these teams played, check out our takeaways below. 

How the Raiders looked

As has been the case throughout the summer, Stidham was sharp to start the game. He played in Las Vegas' first two series of the night and each resulted in points, including a touchdown run by Zamir White to cap off the second drive. On the night, Stidham was 4 of 6 passing for 72 yards and showed strong command of the offense, which bodes well for the Raiders' quarterback depth behind Carr. 

Specifically, the Raiders seemed to have success throwing for chunk plays over the middle of the field. Stidham completed a 20-yard pass to rookie tight end Cole Fotheringham to help set up that White touchdown. Later on in the contest, Garbers hit Tyron Johnson on a 45-yard pass that essentially looked like a punt for how long it hung in the air. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders' second- and third-team units were able to hold their own against the Patriots' starting offense, particularly against the offensive line. They were consistently moving Jones off his spot and resulted in holding that unit to a field goal while it was on the field. 

Meanwhile, 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood -- who has been the subject of trade rumors -- didn't have a strong showing. Against some second-unit Patriots defenders, the offensive tackle was getting pushed backward quite a bit. On one play, undrafted free agent LaBryan Ray put him on skates, which helped Daniel Ekuale take down Garbers for the sack. 

It's also worth highlighting that Leatherwood played deep into the fourth quarter of the preseason finale, which is typically not a good sign for prospects making the team. 

How the Patriots looked

It was another choppy showing for the Patriots' offense. Similar to what we've seen throughout the summer, it's taken this unit a bit to gain any sort of momentum. On its first three possessions, the starting offense went three-and-out twice and threw an interception, while gaining a total of 46 yards. 

Jones really seemed to be uneasy in the pocket at times, which forced him into a couple of off-balanced throws. One example of that came on his interception in the first quarter. There was pressure up the middle, he moved to his right and tried to reset. Then, he tried targeting Kendrick Bourne over the middle of the field and didn't see linebacker Luke Masterson sitting around the 40-yard line where he was able to jump up and make the interception with relative ease. 

The offense came back out for a fourth series of the evening and did get into a much better rhythm, moving 46 yards down the field. Jones threw a nice lob to DeVante Parker that he caught for a touchdown, but the score was nullified after the receiver was flagged for OPI. On the next play, Jones was flushed out of the pocket and was running backward before chucking the ball out of bounds, forcing the offense to settle for a field goal. So, while that was their best drive of the night, there were certainly things that could have been better.

On the injury front, Ty Montgomery was carted off during the first half of this matchup with an apparent right leg injury. The running back/wide receiver gadget player has enjoyed a really strong summer and was primed for a significant role in the offense. While it's currently unclear how severe the injury is, it's never ideal when the cart is required. If he does miss any significant time, that could result in J.J. Taylor making the 53-man roster. 

Defensively, the Patriots' starting defense did give up some chunk plays to Stidham and the second-string Raiders team. That said, they did see some solid play by safety Kyle Dugger and rookie cornerback Jack Jones, who had a couple plays that showed his physicality and ability to knock the ball loose. 

Turning point

Jones' interception was the spark for the Raiders' touchdown drive. It took the offense roughly 90 seconds to travel 32 yards and get into the end zone. White took a toss out left at around the 5-yard line and was able to beat Patriots defenders to the edge and scamper in for the score. That extended Las Vegas' lead to double digits and was essentially all it needed to hold the Patriots off. 

Play of the game

The most eye-popping play of the night came in the second quarter when the Raiders' third-team offense was in the game. Garbers took a first-and-10 snap from his own 25-yard line, faked the run on play-action and uncorked a 45-yard pass to Johnson. This ball really hung in the air for quite a while, which almost made it look like Johnson was fielding a punt. 

That basically flipped the field for the Raiders and led to a Daniel Carlson 50-yard field goal. 

What's next

From here, these teams will now gear up for the start of the 2022 regular season. For the Patriots\, they'll travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins in their Week 1 opener, while the Raiders will head out to Los Angeles to visit the Chargers to begin the year. As for when these two teams will meet again, you'll have to wait until Week 15. There, the Patriots are slated to head back to Las Vegas for a "Sunday Night Football" showdown on Dec. 18. 

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It's worth noting that Alex Leatherwood is playing in the fourth quarter ...  

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