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McDaniels, Raiders cruise to victory in annual Hall-of-Fame game

New head coach Josh McDaniels coached a near perfect game in his Las Vegas Raiders debut. A debut that started by leaning on a few more experienced players in the opening drives.

Las Vegas downed a mistake-prone Jacksonville team, 27-11, Thursday, Aug. 4 from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

No surprise, both teams’ stars sat this game out. That means no starting quarterbacks, Derek Carr or Trevor Lawrence. Most remaining skilled-position starters rested as well.

However, marquee running back Josh Jacobs did play and got the chains moving early. He finished with five carries and two catches for 44 total yards from scrimmage in his limited action.

The Raiders drove into field goal range on consecutive opening drives and built a 6-0 first quarter lead.

The Jaguars went three-and-out on their opening drive and then missed a field goal from the 42-yard line on the ensuing drive. Jacksonville also fumbled and punted while being shutout in the first half.

Following up on good field position from the missed field goal, the newly-acquired running back Ameer Abdullah capped off a five-play drive with a short touchdown run.

Fourth round draft pick, Zamir White from Georgia, impressed while leading all rushers with 52 yards on 11 carries.

White’s college teammate, defensive lineman Travon Walker, also had a good showing for Jacksonville. The top overall pick produced a sack in his very first professional game.

The Raiders produced their best drive of the game before the end of the first half. A 14-play drive in four minutes set up quarterback Jarrett Stidham for a 12-yard touchdown scramble.

Stidham played both of his first two seasons under McDaniels while he was offensive coordinator in New England. If anyone was equipped to carry out McDaniel’s system in a new location, it would be Stidham.

Jacksonville couldn’t manage to stay out of its own way for the majority of the game, even wiping off what would’ve been the biggest play of the game for either side. On the final play of the third quarter, a holding penalty negated an 88-yard punt return touchdown by the Jaguars.

The Jaguars finally got into the endzone with two minutes left in the game, adding a two-point conversion for good measure. Before that, the Raiders had built their largest lead of the game at 24 points.

McDaniels shines in Homecoming

Another backstory going into Thursday’s game that made headlines as well, was Josh McDaniels returning to his hometown in Ohio.

In fact, the game took place in the same stadium that McDaniels played high school football with McKinley Senior High School - where he was coached by his dad. It was reported that his guest list of friends and family exceeded 100 people.

The Raiders also got to honor two of their alumni, Cliff Branch and Richard Seymour, who joined the Hall while the new regime successfully got the season off to a positive start.

Not too much can be assumed after one preseason game, but it’s hard to imagine one going as fortuitous as this one for the Silver and Black.

Even in a loaded AFC West, expectations within the silver and black locker room are high.

The preseason continues for the team Sunday, Aug. 14 when it takes on the Minnesota Vikings from Allegiant Stadium.

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