For the last 17 games they’ve played against the Kansas City Chiefs, Derek Carr has been the starting quarterback for the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. That won’t be the case when Week 18 kicks off on Saturday as the Raiders have opted to start QB Jarrett Stidham in the final two games of the season.
In Week 17, Stidham and the Raiders’ offense took the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense by surprise. Stidham completed 67.6% of his passes for 365 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. What was especially impressive is that he was good with the deep ball and didn’t take any unnecessary sacks.
It was about as good of a performance as you could ask for from a backup quarterback. He helped take the game into overtime and gave Las Vegas a chance to win the game. They came up short in the end, but Stidham put the league on notice.
What exactly did the Chiefs gather from that performance against the 49ers? Veteran safety Juan Thornhill felt that he proved to be poised and talented.
“I mean, he’s a really good quarterback,” Thornhill said. “We see him as a gunslinger. The guy (Raiders QB Jarrett Stidham), he’s super confident — you would think that since he’s a backup he’d come in and be a little shaky, but I watched the game last week and he stepped up and played a heck of a game. I think he played one of the best games they have had all season. I think he can control it (and) he can move the ball, and we just have to focus in and show up to play because the Raiders are a good team.”
One benefit that the Chiefs have heading into Week 18 that the 49ers didn’t have the weak prior is a full game’s worth of tape to study. Rest assured that Steve Spagnuolo will have his guys honed in on the game film in order to find some weaknesses in Stidham’s game that they can exploit.