The Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos will face each other Sunday to kick off their 2023 seasons, a divisional matchup which will come with an opportunity for Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II to once again square off against one of the best receivers in the league in the Raiders’ Davante Adams, who got the best of him during their 2022 showdowns.
Adams was effective in the first game between the AFC West rivals last year, collecting 101 receiving yards, but it was in the latter of the two matchups in which he really took it to Surtain. Adams had 141 yards on seven catches in the Week 11 contest, including two touchdowns.
Both scoring receptions came while Adams was being covered by Surtain, with the second being the game-winning touchdown in overtime, where Adams left Surtain in the dust to make a wide-open catch in the end zone.
While it would be easy to lament his errors long after the game ended, Surtain said this week that he works hard to learn from and move past any miscues, recognizing that dwelling on his mistakes only negatively affects plays to come.
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“That’s the toughest thing about the position: sometimes things like that happen,” Surtain said, via AP News. “You know you’ve got to have a short-term memory at that position, you learn from your mistakes and you move on.
“I do have short-term memory, I mean, I know what I do on the field. So, I just try to let those things go in a fast period of time. Because in football, one play could change the game. If you focus on the previous play or the past it could affect your game, so we’ve just got to move on with it.”
True to his word, the subpar outing ended up being only a single blemish on what was otherwise a great season for Surtain, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors in just his second NFL season. The 23-year-old finished the year with 60 tackles, 10 passes defensed and a pair of interceptions, and placed fifth among cornerbacks by allowing an open target on only 28.8 percent of plays, per PFF.
Though it was an anomaly for Surtain to surrender that type of yardage to a player, he was not the only one in 2022 to find themselves on the wrong end of Adams’ uncanny ability to find the end zone. Adams led all players in receiving TDs (14) and had 1,516 receiving yards last year, including tallying four other games where he had at least as many yards as he did versus the Broncos.
With Surtain and Adams each coming off of their respective accolade-worthy seasons, the pair will once again line up opposite each other on Sunday, opening up a new season with a clean slate. And for his part, Surtain is confident in his ability to be the one to come out on top this time around.
“It never waivered my confidence at all,” Surtain said. “I just moved on, stayed with the flow. You’ve got to correct it in the film room. You’ve got to move on to the next week. That’s how the NFL works. My main thing after that game was to focus on the next game, the next weeks ahead, work on what I needed to work on and move on from there.”
The Broncos and Raiders kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET in Denver on Sunday, at which time the game-long battle between the Pro Bowlers will commence.
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