ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The last time the All-Pros squared off, Davante Adams sped past Patrick Surtain II for two long touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime that prompted Las Vegas' star receiver to taunt Denver's star cornerback.
“He’s not there yet!” Adams hollered after his 35-yard catch capped the Raiders' third consecutive season sweep of their AFC West rivals last November. “He's not there yet!”
Surtain was being mentioned as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate before Adams got the best of him.
Neither the way that game ended nor the game Adams had — 141 yards and two TDs on seven catches — stuck with him, Surtain insisted this week as the teams prepared for their season opener Sunday in Denver.
“That's the toughest thing about the position: sometimes things like that happen,” Surtain said. “You know you've got to have a short-term memory at that position, you learn from your mistakes and you move on.”
That's why he doesn't exactly view Sunday's game as a chance for him to counterpunch his superstar counterpart.
“I do have short-term memory,” Surtain said. “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.”
Surtain also allowed Adams' 31-yard touchdown catch that day, arguably the worst performance of Surtain's otherwise stellar first two years in the NFL. He bounced back to string together several outstanding performances and join Adams as a first-team All-Pro six weeks later.
“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.”
Surtain ended up allowing fewer than 25 yards receiving in 12 games last season, and no other receiver came close to putting up the numbers on him that Adams did.
It was one of the best games Adams had all season as he didn’t miss a step after leaving Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay and going to Las Vegas. He recorded his fourth 100-catch season, had 1,516 yards and 14 TDs.
Ahead of this season, both Surtain and Adams were ranked the second-best at their positions by a panel of nine AP Pro Football Writers. Surtain trailed only Sauce Gardner and Adams was behind only Justin Jefferson.
Notes: Surtain (ankle) was limited Friday. ... WR Jerry Jeudy, who pulled a hamstring 48 hours before the Broncos' final preseason game, was listed as questionable for the game after being limited in practice all week. ... Raiders DE Chandler Jones, embroiled in a dispute with coach Josh McDaniels, is out.
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Arnie Stapleton, The Associated Press