The Las Vegas Raiders didn't receive their desired results to start the New Year, falling to the 49ers, 37-34. Nevertheless, they should remain optimistic after what they were able to achieve Sunday against a really good football team.
The Silver and Black and the San Francisco 49ers went down to the wire. Going into the Week 17 matchup, the 49ers were on an eight-game winning streak, with a defense that's allowed the fewest points and yards to opposing offenses this season. Yet by the end of regulation and heading into overtime, the Raiders offense had accumulated nearly 500 total yards of offense and 34 points.
Stidham kept pace, finishing with 365 passing yards, 34 rushing yards and three touchdowns. It's the most passing yards for a quarterback in their first start in franchise history. He's also the second quarterback since 1950 with at least 350 passing yards and three touchdown passes in their first career start.
"Football's the ultimate team sport. That's why we play is to play for the guys in the locker room each and every week," Stidham said postgame. "That's just the joy of getting to play this game. You get to meet a lot of amazing people – coaches, players, support staff. There's so many awesome people you get to go to work with every day and you grow close to. I spend more time with these guys than I do with my own family. You just get close and you want to do everything you can to make those people happy."
Head Coach Josh McDaniels spoke highly of the quarterback after the loss, while also recognizing where improvements could be made. Stidham has had time to become comfortable with McDaniels and his system, as he was coached by McDaniels in New England for three seasons before being traded to the Raiders this past offseason.
"I thought Jarrett put in a great week of work," McDaniels said after the game. "He knows what to do, he's been in our system a long time and has that grasp of it. Understands what to do. I thought he executed a lot of things the right way today. Gave our guys a chance to make some plays down the field."
"Leading our team, his energy, his communication. I thought we had good rhythm," added the head coach. "Obviously, you can tell, the guys played well for him and played hard for him, as they should. It didn't surprise me that he was ready to go and play the way that he played."
Someone else impressed by Stidham's performance was receiver Davante Adams. Stidham and Adams connected for 153 receiving yards on seven catches and two touchdowns. After the game, No. 17 told the media that Stidham "shocked a lot a people [but] he didn't shock me."
"We prepared every single week like he was getting ready to play and it showed," Adams said. "He went out there and took control of the huddle, took control of the game and played an amazing game today."
With Adams' performance against the 49ers, he became the new franchise record holder for receiving yards in a single season (1,443). He surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown, who held the record since 1997.
"Tim [Brown] and I, we speak often and it means a lot," Adams said of breaking the record. "He says a lot of good things, a lot of powerful things that help me with my game and help me with my mindset and everything. It means a lot. Obviously we know the type of player he was and the mark he left on this game.
"To be able to come in here my first year into my dream organization, my dream situation and to be able to have success. ... There's so many different pieces that contribute to me being able to go out and have a good game like that or a good season."
In overtime, Stidham threw a crucial interception to Tashaun Gipson Sr. as the Raiders were driving down the field. After missing a 41-yard field goal at the end of regulation, 49ers kicker Robbie Gould redeemed himself with a 23-yarder to end the epic contest.
Despite all the plays Stidham made throughout the game, he was honest about his disappointment with himself for the how the game ended. Regardless, he and the Raiders seem to be heading into the season finale with confidence in their abilities – largely based off the way they played Sunday.
"The ball's in my hands every play. I'm the only one that gets to touch it every play," said Stidham. "Unfortunately, there were two interceptions in the game and probably some things that I definitely could've done better to win. Obviously, we're going to look at the film tomorrow morning and see what I could've done better. Definitely felt like I left some football out there on the field today. But we're just going to keep grinding.
"We've got one more shot at this thing next week against the Chiefs."
View photos from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium.