Jarrett Stidham sets the Raiders’ record in his first NFL start

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham became the second player in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards and three touchdown passes in his first start on Sunday. The former Auburn standout also successfully executed a two-minute drill against the NFL’s No. 1 defense to send the game into overtime.

But Stidham’s final pass soured the quarterback on his record-setting performance.

In overtime, with Stidham passing under pressure from San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, safety Tashaun Gipson returned an interception 56 yards to the Las Vegas 7-yard line, with the Raiders QB pushing him out of bounds.

That set up the 23-yard field goal by Robby Gould that ended the game 37-34 in the 49ers’ favor to extend San Francisco’s winning streak to nine games.

“The ball’s in my hand every play,” Stidham said. “I’m the only one who gets to touch it every play. Unfortunately, there were two interceptions in the game and probably some things that I definitely could have done better to win. …

“I definitely feel like I left some football out there on the field today.”

The San Francisco defense had yielded the fewest points and yards in the NFL entering Sunday’s game. The Raiders became the third team to score more than 20 points on the 49ers this season, and the Las Vegas offense’s 500 yards was 56 more than any other team had gained against the 49ers in 15 games in 2022.

Stidham completed 23-of-34 passes for 365 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions and ran for 34 yards on seven carries.

RELATED: HOW HAVE 7 FORMER AUBURN QUARTERBACKS FARED IN THEIR FIRST NFL STARTS?

Stidham became the sixth player with at least 365 passing yards in his first NFL start. The record is held by former Auburn All-American Cam Newton, who had 422 in his debut for the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 11, 2011.

The previous high for a Raiders QB in his first NFL start had been 243 passing yards by Todd Marinovich in a 27-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 22, 1991. Marinovich and Matt McGloin (against the Houston Texans on Nov. 17, 2013) were the only players in franchise history with three touchdown passes in their first starts before Sunday.

The only other player in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards and three touchdown passes in his first start is Mike White in the New York Jets’ 34-31 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 31, 2021.

“I thought Jarrett put in a great week of work,” Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels said. “Obviously, he knows what to do. He’s been in our system for 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 the chance to make some plays down the field. He skipped third down in the first half for the most part. We hardly had any third downs. He had a solid performance, I think, for his first start.

“I’m sure he’d be the first one to tell you the turnovers you want back. Obviously, there were some other things involved in those turnovers. But I thought leading our team, his energy, his communication, I thought we had good rhythm, and, obviously, you can tell the guys really played well for him and played hard for him, as they should. And so it didn’t surprise me that he was ready to go and played the way that he played.”

Stidham opened the scoring with a 24-yard pass to tight end Darren Waller with 11:40 left in the first quarter.

Stidham connected with Davante Adams on a 4-yard touchdown pass as Las Vegas took a 17-14 lead with 10 seconds left in the first half and a 60-yard touchdown pass to push the Raiders’ lead to 24-14 with 10:22 left. left in the third quarter.

After San Francisco rallied to take a seven-point lead with 2:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, Stidham threw 21 yards to wide receiver Mack Hollins and 45 yards to Adams, then had defensive pass interference on a toss to Waller that put the football on the 49ers 1-yard line. Running back Josh Jacobs scored from there with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter, and when Gould missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt on the final snap of the period, the game went to overtime.

“I didn’t feel like I really had any nerves at all this week,” Stidham said. “The perspective has changed a lot over the years. It’s not worth stressing over and getting all uptight, so I just wanted to go out there and play free today and try and facilitate the offense in a way to win, and we just fell short a little bit.”

Stidham started on Sunday after the Raiders decided to bench nine-year starter Derek Carr for the final two games of the 2022 season to give Stidham an opportunity to close his fourth NFL campaign. Before Sunday’s game, Stidham had completed 32-of-61 passes for 342 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 NFL regular-season games.

“My thing has always just been to work hard,” Stidham said. “I don’t know anything else. I don’t know how to do anything other than the hard way, so I’ve just tried to continue to stay grounded in who I am as a person and a player and just be ready whenever my number was called, so whether that’s rookie year, second year, third year or now, fourth year.”

Carrying a 6-10 record that includes nine losses by seven or fewer points, the Raiders will close their season against the Kansas City Chiefs next weekend, when Stidham will make his second start. The NFL will set its Week 18 schedule on Monday.

“Jarrett’s a young player,” McDaniels said. “I think everybody that’s worked with Jarrett and I think Jarrett himself has to assume his best football is going to be in front of him. The way you improve is through experience, and you have opportunities to compete against really good players and good defenses and good coaches and you learn a lot from those experiences. I think he’ll learn a lot from today, and next week will be another opportunity as we go forward.”

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Mark Inabinet is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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