LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Jimmy Garoppolo Looks Sharp In Raiders Debut, Las Vegas Beats Rams

Aug 19, 2023, 10:23 PM

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Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the Las Vegas Raiders looks to pass the ball during the first quarter of the preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo completed all four of his passes for 39 yards while leading a touchdown drive in his Raiders debut, and Las Vegas went on to a 34-17 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night.

Raiders Beat Rams In Preseason Meeting

Garoppolo played only the opening series for the Raiders (2-0), who signed the longtime 49ers quarterback in March as their replacement for Derek Carr. The 10-year veteran has beaten the Rams more often than any quarterback during Sean McVay’s career, and Garoppolo didn’t make a significant mistake while leading a comfortable drive ending in Brandon Bolden’s 7-yard TD run.

Stetson Bennett went 15 of 24 for 142 yards and rushed for a touchdown while playing the first three quarters for the Rams (0-2). The two-time national champion at Georgia made several sharp throws, but also several mistakes — none bigger than the massive miscommunication with Tyler Johnson that led to a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown by Raiders safety Isaiah Pola-Mao in the second quarter.

Rams linebacker Jacob Hummel returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter on a similarly poor throw by Brian Hoyer, the presumptive backup to Garoppolo.

Hoyer might have some competition from Aidan O’Connell: The Raiders’ fourth-round pick from Purdue played the second half and passed for 163 yards while throwing TD passes to Cam Sims and Kristian Wilkerson on back-to-back drives.

Hoyer, the 37-year-old veteran of nine NFL franchises, has played sparingly in the NFL over the past five seasons. He went 12 of 22 for 144 yards, but underthrew tight end Michael Mayer on Hummel’s pick-6.

Several minutes later, Bennett and Tyler Johnson badly miscommunicated to create an easy pick-6 for Pola-Mao, the former USC safety who joined the Raiders as an undrafted free agent last year.

O’Connell went 11 of 18 and looked sharp against the Rams’ lowest-tier defensive players.

Bennett got more action than Brett Rypien, his competitor for the backup spot behind Matthew Stafford. Rypien didn’t play until the fourth quarter, but completed all four of his pass attempts.

No matter who was behind center, the Rams’ offense wasn’t impressive for the second straight week, managing just one offensive touchdown. Los Angeles’ defense wasn’t any better, yielding 440 total yards.

Las Vegas used most of its starters on both sides of the ball early on. Star receiver Davante Adams even played briefly in the Raiders’ opening series, but wasn’t targeted by Garoppolo.

Aaron Donald surprisingly participated in pregame warmups in his full uniform, but the Rams’ seven-time All-Pro defensive lineman then watched the game in street clothes. Donald hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2016 — the year before McVay took over in Los Angeles.

INJURIES

Raiders: LB Darien Butler was shaken up twice in the first quarter, but kept playing.

Rams: RT Logan Bruss left the field with trainers during the first half. The 2022 third-round pick out of Wisconsin missed his entire rookie season after injuring his knee in the second preseason game.

UP NEXT

Raiders: At Cowboys on Saturday, Aug. 26, to conclude the preseason.

Rams: At Broncos on Saturday, Aug. 26, after two joint practices in Colorado earlier in the week.

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Jimmy Garoppolo Looks Sharp In Raiders Debut, Las Vegas Beats Rams