Raiders winners and losers in 27-14 season-ending victory vs. Broncos

The Raiders finished their season on a high note by beating the Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, 27-14. It was Las Vegas’ eighth consecutive win against their longtime division rival.

A 98-yard touchdown drive near the end of the first half gave the Raiders a commanding 17-7 lead, and Las Vegas led 24-7 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Broncos responded with a touchdown to again pull within 10 points, but the Raiders bled the clock with another long drive, yielding a field goal and the game’s final 27-14 tally.

Here are the last winners and losers for the season, as the Raiders finished with an 8-9 record and five victories under the direction of interim coach Antonio Pierce.

Winner: WR Tre Tucker

The Raiders never trailed in this game, though it was tied early at 7-7. As the Raiders jumped ahead 10-7, neither team had wrestled momentum away from the other.

Wide receiver Tre Tucker changed that with a 47-yard reception on a deep pass from quarterback Aidan O’Connell. It was the key play in the Raiders’ 98-yard drive toward the end of the first half, setting Las Vegas up in the red zone.

Tucker led his team in receiving yards with 79 and tied for the team lead in receptions with five catches on five targets. It was a fine end to the season for the rookie who figures to see a lot more action next season.

Winner: WR Davante Adams

After Tucker’s big catch, WR Davante Adams had a sure touchdown go through his hands. Shortly after that, he redeemed himself with an impressive catch as he fought for position in the end zone with just seconds remaining on the clock.

Adams hit another season and career milestone, just as he did last week with his 1,000th receiving yard. He surpassed 100 receptions on the season, his fourth straight campaign with triple-digit catches.

Winner: WR Jakobi Meyers

Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers started the day’s scoring with an impressive improvised touchdown run. It appeared the play called for Meyers to pass the ball, but he reversed course and scored on a nifty scamper.

Meyers also had a 33-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving the Raiders a 24-7 advantage.

Winner: QB Aidan O’Connell

O’Connell had great throws to Tucker, Adams, and Meyers but he impressed even more considering he briefly left the game with an injured right index finger in the third quarter.

He returned to connect with Meyers on his receiving touchdown, and as the Raiders took the ball with 10 minutes left in the game and a 24-14 lead, O’Connell made multiple big throws on a drive that bled the clock and ended in a field goal to close the day’s scoring.

O’Connell built on his solid performance last week to finish with 244 yards on 20-for-31 passing and two touchdowns, good for a 110.1 QB rating.

Winner: RB Zamir White

Running back Zamir White once again started in place of injured RB Josh Jacobs. White finished with 112 yards on 25 carries. He displayed power and big-play ability, with a 25-yard run mixed in with solid and reliable ground gains.

Winner: Offensive line

Offensive tackle Kolton Miller returned to the starting lineup and the offensive line closed the campaign strong, setting the table for their teammates on offense to do the same.

Though the Raiders’ previous regime made minimal investments into this position group, the Las Vegas line overachieved all season. The next Raiders regime could be just one piece away from an elite group up front.

Winner: DE Maxx Crosby

Defensive end Maxx Crosby notched another QB sack, running his tally to 14.5 for the season. He also crossed the 90-tackle plateau, becoming just the fifth NFL defensive lineman to cross that mark since 2000. Furthermore, he reached 23 tackles for loss on the season, matching a franchise mark set by ex-Raiders DE Khalil Mack.

Perhaps best of all for the Raiders, Crosby’s presence set his teammates up for big plays of their own. DE Tyree Wilson, defensive tackle Adam Butler, and Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao all had QB sacks as Crosby forced Broncos QB Jarrett Stidham into panic mode.

As a unit, the defense had five sacks, 11 QB hits, and eight tackles for loss.

Winner: Coach Antonio Pierce

The Raiders went 5-4 under interim coach Pierce. Considering how lost the franchise looked under the previous regime, Pierce’s effort was extremely impressive.

His players want him to return next season as head coach, but it’s unclear whether team owner Mark Davis feels the same way. Considering Davis has said he wants Pierce to earn the job, it seems likely that Davis will hand him the keys to the franchise, along with interim general manager Champ Kelly.

Loser: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played one drive in place of an injured O’Connell and looked ill-prepared on a three-and-out effort. Adding insult to injury, he was booed by the home crowd. It was likely Garoppolo’s last moments as a Raider, as the next GM will look to move on from the previous regime’s chosen QB.

Loser: Big play defense

For the second straight week, the Raiders defense allowed more than its share of big plays through the air.

After Crosby’s sack, Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy broke multiple tackles on a 24-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Earlier in the same drive, WR Brandon Johnson recorded a 36-yard reception. Jeudy also hauled in a 47-yard grab to set up the Broncos’ final score of the afternoon.

Loser: RB Josh Jacobs

For the fourth straight week, Jacobs sat out due to injury. White responded with 397 rushing yards during his time as the starting tailback. The Raiders could easily opt to move on from Jacobs, who is without a contract for next season.

If Jacobs and Las Vegas attempt to strike a deal, Jacobs’ negotiation leverage will be significantly weakened due to White’s strong showing.

Considering how low this Raiders season got at times, an 8-9 record is a very decent accomplishment. It won’t earn them a parade on the Las Vegas Strip, but it proves there are some very solid pieces on the roster.

Will the Raiders go for continuity and retain Pierce? Or will Davis look for another big name to fill the role as he has in the past? The clock starts ticking now, as the Raiders’ 2023 campaign is officially in the books.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire