Aidan O'Connell Raiders preseason

Alex’s Raider Roundup: Raiders DESTROY 49ers at home, what did we learn?

You’ve waited seven months for Las Vegas Raiders football, Raider Nation, and you got it – in a big way. On Sunday, the Silver and Black battled their Bay Area rivals at home and walked out of Allegiant Stadium with a dominant win over the San Francisco 49ers. Yeah, it’s only a scrimmage contest, but a 34-7 win was quite the way to kick off the Raiders preseason.

And just because it’s preseason doesn’t mean there weren’t things to take away from the 27-point victory.

Some of it’s good, and some of it is a bit concerning. The Raiders won, and that’s always a good thing – even in the preseason – but there are always areas that a team can improve in. Although Las Vegas seems to have come a long way in many of those areas, they weren’t perfect.

They were darn impressive, though.

Alex’s Raider Roundup: Takeaways from the Las Vegas Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers (Week 1, preseason)

Front-7 pressure, never better

Are you kidding me? This is the team that finished bottom-three in sacks last season? That can’t be right.

On the very first drive of the game, the Raiders were hard at work tallying two sacks for a three-and-out. Two drives later, now on Las Vegas’ third defensive stand, they added another sack on third down for another three-and-out. Actually, the Silver and Black didn’t allow one first down during the entirety of the first quarter.

Even the rookies got involved.

More impressively, this was done against Trey Lance. Fans are critical of Lance’s throwing abilities, and some of that is certainly justified, but his elusiveness should never be questioned. His ability to make things happen by extending plays was his selling point heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. The Raiders didn’t care about that, though, as the defense totaled four sacks.

McCormick was cooking… Sincerely

After virtually rewriting UTSA’s record books while attending the school, McCormick signed with the Raiders in 2022 as an undrafted free agent. Unfortunately, an injury kept him sidelined before he could play one snap as a Raider in any fashion.

On Sunday, McCormick finally got his debut with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 22-year-old recorded 10 touches against San Francisco, totaling 27 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine attempts, and one catch for a two-yard score.

Brittain Brown – who I predicted to be the Raiders preseason Offensive Player of the Year – didn’t suit up on Sunday. McCormick took full advantage, finding the end zone twice. He’s just as pumped as you are, Raider Nation.

Aidan O’Snap, this kid can ball!

Someone said a rookie quarterback would be playing for Las Vegas during Week 1 of the preseason. I didn’t see any rookies under center. There was, however, a certain No. 4 making veteran-like reads and throws. That must’ve been Derek Carr.

When you go 15-for-18 in your debut, two incompletions of which were blatant drops, you deserve some serious attention. That’s probably why the likes of Ian Rapoport, Steve Mariucci, and Pat McAfee were quick to shower Aidan O’Connell with praise.

O’Connell didn’t have one bad pass his entire showing, and, unless you want to count a check-down well short of the sticks on third, he didn’t make one bad decision, either. Even his incompletions were good throws on good reads.

Look; it’s just preseason, but if this is what the Raiders can expect of the rookie moving forward, there’s not much to worry about at the quarterback position moving forward.

Luke, I am your Fotheringham

Austin Hooper and Michael Mayer are the obvious locks at the tight end position to make the 53-man roster, and, if you ask me, Jesper Horsted is as close to a lock as it gets. With a five catch, 71 yard game, Cole Fotheringham is making a darn good case himself.

Seriously, the 25-year-old might’ve been the best player on the field for either team who isn’t named Aidan O’Connell.

I’m not sure how many fans know of Fotheringham, let alone predicted a breakout game for him, but Just Blog Baby’s Brad Weiss did list the Utah alum as one-of-three players to look out for in Week 1 of the Raiders preseason.

Great prediction, Brad!

The good showed up in bunches – It’s not all good, though

The Raiders were tied for last in interceptions last season, and in this contest, they let two would-be turnovers slip right through their fingertips – literally. If that wasn’t bad enough, both lessened the margin on the scoreboard.

The first was at the hands of Duke Shelley, who couldn’t haul in an end zone interception. Unbelievably, the ball bounced off Shelley’s hands, and found a San Francisco receiver for six without ever hitting the ground.

Good luck seeing anything like this for the rest of the year.

The bright side here is, this is nothing short of an anomaly. Still, it can’t happen, and the 49ers added six to the scoreboard when they should’ve been blanked.

Rookie Amari Burney, who had the sack shown earlier, also dropped a pass gifted to him.

The Raiders would’ve had a near-red zone possession with under 30 seconds left, practically guaranteeing three points off of Daniel Carlson’s leg. Instead, San Francisco worked their way into field goal range – although rookie kicker Jake Moody missed the kick.

Tre Tucker Must Catch

Rookie receiver Tre Tucker had one catch for 15 yards. It’s never a good thing when you total more drops than catches, which the Cincinnati alum unfortunately did.

On the bring side, it seemed easy enough for Tucker to create separation. Here’s a better look at the incompletion shown earlier, proving his ability to quickly generate space.

With names such as DeAndre Carter and Phillip Dorsett breathing down Tucker’s neck, it’s important for the rookie to quickly bounce back. No, neither Carter nor Dorsett will be taking Tucker’s roster spot, but the pair could easily take his snaps at receiver should he continue to drop balls.

The silver lining is, it’s Tucker’s first game with the Raiders. This doesn’t at all define his future, but it is something to keep an eye on moving forward.

*Top Photo: Las Vegas Sun

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