Raiders vs Broncos 2023 Week 18: Studs and Duds

The Las Vegas Raiders ended the 2023 season with a resounding victory against the Denver Broncos, here are the Studs and Duds from a big win in Week 18.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages
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Aidan O'Connell – Stud

A week after falling just one yard short of his first career 300-yard game, rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell had another Solid game against a tough opponent. The Denver defense is not highly ranked due to a couple of beatings they took early in the season, but they have been much improved in the second half of the year and O'Connell looked quite comfortable against them.

O'Connell finished the day with 20 completions on 31 attempts for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly he did not turn the ball over and this was his fourth straight game without an interception. Two plays from this game stood out for O'Connell and they both came on same drive at the end of the first half.

The first was a deep shot to Tre Tucker from the reader 38-yard line that completely flipped the script on the drive from a potential field goal to a possible touchdown. The other play was the touchdown pass to Davante Adams just a few plays later as O'Connell made-up for an earlier miss and gave Las Vegas a lead they would not relinquish.

We have discussed O'Connell's pros and cons at length in these articles and we still think that his ceiling is an average starter or excellent backup. There were several instances where O’Connell’s unwillingness to run hurt the team and it was clear that the Raiders needed a more dynamic playmaker at quarterback.

However, we should point out that O'Connell was second best of the rookie quarterbacks and there is an argument to be made that he deserves a shot at the starting job in 2024. He has far outplayed his draft position and deserves a ton of credit for what he accomplished this season.