Coming off a victory against the Steelers, the Oakland Raiders had a lot of reasons to be hopeful for their next game against the Broncos. Oakland beat Pittsburgh without their top two cornerbacks, Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer, which was especially impressive because they were going against two extremely talented wideouts in Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace.
Today, the Raiders went against Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Oh yeah, and that guy named Peyton Manning.
The Broncos drew first blood within the first five minutes of the game, as Peyton Manning threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to his tight end Joel Dreessen. The Dreessen touchdown capped off an opening drive that consisted of two 3rd down conversions and a critical 4th down conversion too. The Raiders failed to score any touchdowns in the first 15 minutes of action, but they did get some points up, as Janikowski booted in a 38-yard field goal with just under seven minutes remaining. Denver later responded with their own field goal, which came from Matt Prater on a 21-yard kick.
The second quarter was a pretty quiet one as neither team was able to find the end zone. However, there was one big play that happened. Peyton Manning took a routine snap and unleashed the ball to his wideout Demaryius Thomas for a screen pass. Thomas ran with his blockers and broke free into the open field, and just as the Broncos’ home crowd was about to explode in joy of a touchdown, they watched Raiders’ safety Tyvon Branch creep up on Demaryius in hot pursuit. Demaryius saw Branch, and he attempted to switch hands with the ball, and as he did, he fumbled the ball off his knee, and it was recovered by Oakland defensive end Lamarr Houston. The Raiders couldn’t take advantage of the turnover as they ended up punting the ball away on their ensuing possession. The second half ended with a Janikowski 24-yard field goal with about 25 ticks left.
I don’t know what John Fox told Peyton and the rest of the Broncos team at halftime, but whatever he said, it worked.
Denver exploded in the second half, as they poured in three touchdowns, and even managed to get a blocked punt. Peyton’s first touchdown of the second half came on a 17-yard pass to Eric Decker, as he tiptoed down the sidelines to score his first points of the evening. Less than three minutes later, Willis McGahee pounded the ball in for 2-yard rush to push the Broncos lead to 18. And then with just under four minutes left, Manning connected with tailback Lance Ball on a 14-yard touchdown pass, setting the score of the game to 31-6. It was in the third quarter that really made Oakland miss their top two cornerbacks.
The fourth quarter rolled along, and the Raiders still could not get anything going. Carson Palmer was taking hit after hit, as Denver’s pass rush was relentless all evening long. With players like Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller, it’s hard not to intimidate and rattle opposing quartbacks. The only fourth quarter points came from two Matt Prater field goals, which consisted of a 43-yard kick and a 53-yard one as well. Rookie wideout Juron Criner started to get some action late in the final quarter, and he made some solid grabs.
Carson Palmer didn’t have a good game, as he failed to throw even a single touchdown, and he didn’t throw for over 200 yards either. Running back Darren McFadden, who had a terrific game against the Steelers, only rushed for 34 yards on 13 carries. Wide receiver Denarius Moore hauled in four passes for a team-leading 71 yards, as he reeled in some long catches.
Peyton Manning tore apart the Raiders defense, as he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns while completing a remarkable 79% of his passes.
The Raiders lost the game with a final score of 37-6, and there are very few good things to say about their performance, if any. They played poorly on both sides of the ball, and they will put this loss behind them and move forward.
The Raiders have a bye week next, and hopefully they will be able to regain their composure and snag a win against the Atlanta Falcons on October 14th.