Fresh off benching their long-time starting quarterback, the Las Vegas Raiders took one of the NFL’s best teams to overtime. In the end, however, they came up just short against the San Francisco 49ers, losing 37-34 in the extra period.
The loss has now officially eliminated Las Vegas from playoff contention. The first year under head coach Josh McDaniels therefore ends with the Raiders failing to return to the tournament. To be fair, though, they entered Week 17 at 6-9 and as a long-shot to make it in.
That record and the team’s inconsistency led to the aforementioned benching of Derek Carr. His replacement, former New England Patriots fourth-round draft pick, Jarrett Stidham put on a show against the 49ers’ top-ranked defense: he completed 23 of 34 pass attempts for 365 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
While his efforts were not enough to keep Las Vegas’ slim playoff hopes alive, they were a good audition. Stidham, after all, is headed for unrestricted free agency in March.
If he can deliver a repeat performance in his team’s season finale agains the Kansas City Chiefs, he might position himself well for another opportunity — either in Las Vegas or elsewhere.