LAS VEGAS (AP) — A benching of a high-profile quarterback with two games left?
Yeah, Jarrett Stidham has been here before.
Now past meets present Sunday as Stidham returns to Las Vegas and the Broncos (8-8) to play the Raiders (7-9) in the season finale for both teams.
“I spent a year there and made a lot of relationships with a lot people,” Stidham said. “But I’m here now, so I’m looking forward to playing against those guys. I did it in practice, obviously, all last year.”
Stidham went 0-2 in both his Las Vegas starts, but gave the San Francisco 49ers fits with 365 yards and three touchdown passes in a 37-34 loss.
“I think for him that first start against a really good defense opened a lot of people’s eyes,” Broncos coach Sean Payton said. “I don’t know that anyone saw that coming.”
Stidham’s other start last season was a 31-13 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Stidham finally broke through Sunday with his first career victory, 16-9 over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“I went against Stid all year last year on the scout (team), so I know a couple of his tricks,” Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs said. “I think he’s a really good player. What he did last year against the 49ers and what he showed this year when he got his chance, he takes full advantage of every chance he gets to step on the field.”
The Broncos may have extended their playoff drought to eight years, but they ended some embarrassing skids within the AFC West.
Denver vanquished its 16-game losing skid to the Chiefs with a resounding Week 8 win over the Chiefs in Denver and beat the Chargers on the road for the first time since 2019. Now, they’re out to halt their seven-game losing streak to the Raiders with their first win in Las Vegas in four tries.
“I don’t even know that I was aware that we had lost that many games to Las Vegas/Oakland,” Payton said. “I think what would be important for us is to get to our ninth win.”
That would snap another ignominious streak for the Broncos, who haven’t posted a winning season since 2016.
ANOTHER GRAND FOR ADAMS
Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams has reached 1,000 yards receiving each of the past four seasons. But with Las Vegas out of the running for the playoffs, Adams didn’t want to make too big a deal about it.
“If we were in a better position as a team, it’d be more enjoyable, but obviously it’s a good notch to be able to hit,” he said. “But 1,000 yards is not really my mark for what I consider necessarily a good season. Obviously, it’s good because in everybody else’s mind it means so much, but I also had two seasons of 997 and they acted like I didn’t have 1,000 yards that year.”
Adams came three yards about from 1,000 in 2016 and 2019. If he had reached it in 2019, his streak would be at six seasons.
CROSBY HONORED BY TEAMMATES
Defensive end Maxx Crosby won the Commitment to Excellence Award for the third year in a row, a Raiders team honor voted on by teammates.
Crosby has 13 1/2 sacks, 21 tackles for loss and 88 tackles, but perhaps more impressively, he seldom comes off the field even while playing with a lingering knee injury. He has played 95% of defensive snaps and in nine games didn’t leave field while on defense.
“I can’t speak highly enough of this guy,” Stidham said. “Being with him every day for a year, seeing how he works, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a player play that hard for that long every single time he’s out on the field. So he’s going to bring it. We have to be ready. He’s one of the best in the league for a reason.”
Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II received the Demaryius Thomas Team MVP Award, which was voted on by the Denver chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America.
MUSICAL CHAIRS AT QB
Left tackle Garett Bolles is the longest-tenured offensive player in Denver and he came close this week but couldn’t quite name all 13 quarterbacks for whom he has blocked for during his seven seasons.
He slipped on the very last one, saying Case Keenum again instead of Stidham.
“You know, it’s a tough situation, that things happen around here. I think it was my 13th quarterback that I blocked for,” Bolles said. “So, it’s frustrating for me, especially. But at the same time, that’s who Coach wanted, and I’ve gotta do my job.”
AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed.