Las Vegas Raiders won a game in Week 1 they likely would have lost in 2022

The Las Vegas Raiders took the lead late against the Denver Broncos, and unlike in the past, were able to still come away with the victory.

Los Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Los Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

The 2023 Las Vegas Raiders got their season off on the right foot on Sunday, going to Denver and beating the Broncos inside Empower Field at Mile High. For the 2023 Raiders, the goal is simple this season, as they look to rebound from a six-win campaign a year ago and become a player in the AFC.

Last season, the Raiders struggled from the get-go, and the issues were on both sides of the ball. When they were in close games, they could not figure out a way to get things done and come away with the victory, something that they actually were able to do on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

In a game that was eerily similar to a lot of the Raiders games from a year ago, instead of allowing the Broncos to come back late, Jimmy Garoppolo took matters into his own hands, or should I say feet. Garoppolo did not throw the ball away under pressure, he did not throw an interception, and he did not take a sack, but instead, used him legs to get the necessary yards needed to continue the drive on 3rd-and-7.

That made the Broncos use their final timeout, and was the final nail they needed to seal Denver's fate on the road. In 2022, the likelihood is the Raiders would have given the ball back for Denver to get one more crack at it, but this is not last year's Raiders, and that should excite Raider Nation.

Can the Raiders continue to win close games?

If Week 1 showed us anything, it is that the Raiders are not going to go away this season. Yes, there were a ton of bonehead mistakes, like running into the punter, and a bad interception by Garoppolo in the red zone, but they were able to do enough to stay in the game and give them a chance to win it late.

And that is exactly what Garoppolo did, hitting Jakobi Meyers for their second touchdown connection of the day before putting the Broncos away on the Raiders next drive. This weekend, Buffalo presents a host of other problems for this Raiders team, but if Week 1 is any indication, Las Vegas should be able to keep pace with the Bills in what could be another close AFC battle.