About all, we learned from the final pre-season game of the Las Vegas Raiders is that their reserves are not as good as the San Francisco 49ers’ starters, and probably not even the equal of their backups.
The 49ers alternated quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance while taking charge with long touchdown drives on their first two possessions and went on to a dominating 34-10 victory over the Silver and Black on Sunday in the third and final preseason game for both teams at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
“Probably not,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said when asked if he will alternate his quarterbacks when the 17-game regular season starts in two weeks, indicating that Garoppolo is his starter. “This was practice, a preseason game, and things will be different once we start playing for keeps.
"I just wanted to get live action with it. We've done it in practice a couple of times and this was the last time before we're going to get in the regular season. So it's the last time you can have the opportunity to do it. I kind of wanted to do it with this game."
It was the first time back in the Bay Area since the Raiders moved to Las Vegas last year, but the many Silver and Black fans in the crowd didn't have all that much to cheer about.
The Raiders (2-1) left starting quarterback Derek Carr and the rest of their starters among 30 players at home in Las Vegas, and the reserves were not nearly as impressive as they were in victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.
"We took the approach to evaluate the guys we didn't know too much about," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "A lot of these guys had college seasons that were interrupted last year. The evaluation was incomplete.
"You don't tackle in pads, you don't do a lot in pads like you used to. This was the most important call for us so we try to make the right decisions when we cut down the roster.
"I think you're damned if you do, damned if you don't in a lot of ways. You lose two or three starters in this game and all the questions will be different."
The Rams (2-1), who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in their first two preseason games, held the Raiders to a three-and-out following the opening kickoff, with rookie running back Trey Ragas gaining only eight yards in three carries.
Following A.J. Cole’s 64-yard punt, the 49ers drove 68 yards for a touchdown in 10 plays, with Garoppolo hitting All-Pro tight end George Kittle with a 14-yard pass before scoring on a quarterback keeper from a yard out and it was 7-0 with 8:02 left in the first quarter.
Garoppolo and Lance mostly handed off to running back Raheem Mostert, who ripped through the Raiders defense for 53 yards on seven carries before taking a seat on the bench for the rest of the game after the 49ers’ first possession.
Third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman, starting for the third straight game with backup Marcus Mariota never coming off the sidelines, completed a 10-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Dillon Stoner but that was the only first down the Raiders could get before punting the ball away again.
This time, the 49ers went 75 yards in 15 plays, with Garoppolo completing 3-of-5 passes for 50 yards and rookie running back Trey Sermon rushing for 24 yards of five carries before Lance scored on a two-yard keeper to make it 14-0 with 14:16 left in the first half.
Garoppolo went to the bench at that point, with Lance playing until third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld came on in the second half.
Peterman hit Stoner on a 27-yard pass play that led to the Raiders’ first points, a 51-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson with 8:53 left in the second quarter, but Robbie Gould kicked field goals of 21 and 19 yards late in the second quarter and it was basically over with the 49ers holding a 20-3 lead at halftime.
The 49ers outgained the Raiders, 232 yards to 93 in total offense in the first half, with 122 yards rushing and 110 passing while leading 19-4 in first downs and nearly 19 minutes to 11 in time of possession.
The Raiders scored their only touchdown by going 80 yards in 10 plays, with Peterman hitting Stoner on a 33-yard pass play before throwing a 16-yard scoring pass to tight end Nick Bowers to make it 20-10 with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
However, rookie Elijah Mitchell returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards, and the 49ers needed only three more plays to score on a 35-yard run by JaMycal Hasty, who added a two-yard scoring run for the final points minutes later after Peterman threw an interception to safety HaHa Clinton Dix.
The 49ers got the ball with 8:36 left ran out all but the last 27 seconds of the game by giving the ball to running back Wayne Gallman 10 times for 56 yards before giving up the ball on downs at the Raiders two-yard line.
Peterman completed 18-of-29 passes for 175 yards with one touchdown and one interception while being sacked three times, with Stoner catching three passes for 69 yards and Keelan Doss grabbing two for 28 yards. Ragas led the Raiders with 39 yards rushing on nine carries.
"You know, Coach (Jon Gruden) put us is an opportunity to make plays," said Stoner, a free agent out of Oklahoma State. "Nate (Peterman) had two great balls that even I really didn't have to do much, just right on the money.
"So obviously that was fun. I wish the outcome of the game would have been a little bit different. Obviously hats off to the 49ers and their organization. We played hard and fought hard to the end."
Linebacker Max Richardson led the Raiders with 11 tackles, linebacker Divine Deablo added nine, and cornerback Nevin Lawson had six, but the Raiders did not have a sack or an interception.
Up next is the cutdown to 53 players on Tuesday and the naming of 16 to the practice squad.
Carr and Co. will open the NFL season on Monday Night Football on Sept. 13 against the Baltimore Ravens at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
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