The Oakland Raiders got a couple of late touchdowns, but offered little in the way of resistance to the Denver Broncos or Peyton Manning as the Broncos steamrolled their way to the top seed in the AFC playoffs with a 34-14 win at O.co Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Fans hoping coach Dennis Allen will get another chance after a second straight 4-12 season may be in for disappointment after the Raiders looked lost while falling behind 31-0 by halftime on the same day the Raiders honored the 30th anniversary of the franchise’s last Super Bowl champions.
Fans hoping quarterback Terrelle Pryor would take advantage of an opportunity to start were also left wanting. Pryor’s final stats looked OK—21-for-38 for 207 yards and two touchdowns—but much of that line was accumulated after the competitive phase of the game was long over.
Pryor also ran nine times for 49 yards, setting a franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 576, breaking the old mark of 529 yards set by Rich Gannon in 2000.
But it was the Broncos, who finished 13-3 for the second straight season, who led the way in the record-setting department. Their 34 points gave them 606 for the season—the first team in NFL history to score more than 600 points in a single season—and broke the old mark of 589 set by the New England Patriots in 2007.
And Manning threw for 266 yards on 25-of-28 passing with four touchdowns to finish the season with 5,477 passing yards—one more than Drew Brees had for the New Orleans Saints in 2011. His 55 touchdown passes is also a new mark, smashing the old mark set by Tom Brady for the Patriots in 2007.
The Raiders were outgained 458-255 on the day and surrendered 28 first downs.
Oakland set a franchise record, allowing 4,092 passing yards, worse than the old mark of 4,023 set in 2011, and nearly broke the franchise mark for points allowed, surrendering 453. The record of 458 allowed in 1961 still stands.
Other than Pryor’s scrambles, the Raiders could not get a running game going, as Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden combined for just 15 yards on 11 carries. Montee Ball led the Broncos with 72 yards on 10 carries and Demaryius Thomas hauled in six passes for 113 yard and two scores.
Denver took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on a three-yard Manning-to-Eric Decker connection with 7:05 left in the period and after recovering a fumble caused by a bad shotgun snap deep in Oakland territory, scored again with 5:39 remaining in the quarter on a seven-yard pass from Manning to Knowshon Moreno.
Matt Prater made it 17-0 with a 34-yard field goal early in the second period before Manning hit Thomas behind the secondary for a 63-yard score with 5:37 to go in the first half that made it 24-0.
Denver upped the lead to 31-0 on a five-yard pass from Manning to Thomas with 13 seconds to go before halftime.
In the fourth quarter, Prater hit a 54-yard field goal to make it 34-0 with 6:36 remaining before the Raiders got a couple of late scores on the board.
Pryor threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater with 4:24 remaining and connected with Nick Kasa on a nine-yard scoring play with 37 seconds left.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reported this morning there were signals given from owner Mark Davis to both general manager Reggie McKenzie and Allen they would be back in 2014, but the report also indicated that if Davis could convince former Raider coach Jon Gruden to return—termed “not likely to happen”—that Gruden would be given full control of the operation and Allen and McKenzie would be let go.
Adding to the consternation in the fan base is the fact the Raiders are the only team in the AFC West not to qualify for the playoffs. Denver is in as the No. 1 seed at 13-3, while the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers secured both of the conference’s wild-card spots at 11-5 and 9-7, respectively.