Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Ballers have been named. Now we direct our attention on the Busters.
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Huff left the game with a wrist injury in the second quarter. Before he left, Peyton Manning was looking for his man just about every time he dropped back to pass. On the Broncos' first drive, Huff was victimized on two third down conversions. He gave up a 16-yard catch and then missed a tackle on a 26-yard catch and run and even added giving up a 6-yard run with the Broncos at the 12 yard line. Then he finished it off by giving up the 6-yard touchdown pass.
The next drive, he gave up the only third down conversion on a 19-yard catch. He would give up one more catch in the game and that was when he left with the wrist injury. A few plays after Phillip Adams replaced him, he had his interception. The Broncos also didn't score again in the half after having scored three times with Huff in the game.
He helped kill a Raiders series in the second quarter when he gave up a tackle for loss. He killed another one in the third quarter when he was called for a false start. Then he killed the Raiders altogether when he was beaten badly by Von Miller to give up a strip sack on Carson Palmer. The Broncos recovered the fumble at the two yard line and scored a touchdown in two plays to take a 23-7 lead. The very next play for the Raiders offense, he was called for holding trying not to give up another sack. In the fourth quarter he was again called for holding which negated an 11-yard catch by Denarius Moore. The Raiders couldn't make up the distance and had to punt.
With the Raiders already down 10-0 in the first quarter, Manning turned to Bartell to connect with his receivers. He gave up two catches for 32 yards on that drive which resulted in a field goal. He also gave up a 19 yard catch late in the second quarter. On the Broncos first drive of the third quarter, he was called for holding and an automatic first down and then gave up a 22-yard catch. The Broncos would put another three point on the board off that drive for a 16-7 lead. He would also put the bow on this one by giving up the final catch on third down to allow the Broncos to kneel out the clock.
Carson Palmer, Greg Knapp
I put these two together this week because they are sharing the offensive playcalling duties for the Raiders these days and are therefore mutually responsible for the ineptitude of this offense. For instance, the Raiders' first three series each ended like this: A failed screen play followed by a 4 yard catch on third and ten for a three and out. Palmer throwing behind his man for an interception. A six yard catch on third and 11.
Another odd observation was Marcel Reece not touching the ball until midway through the second quarter. That can't happen if the Raiders hope to have success on offense.
On the Raiders' fourth series, they drove 80 yards for a touchdown. That touchdown was a brilliant play which completely fooled the Denver defense. I give all parties involved credit for its execution. But why are plays like this so few and far between. The Raiders had to call a timeout before running the play too. This offense is just not efficient at all. The defense put forth a valiant effort but with the offense scoring just 13 point - six of which came in garbage time - it was all for naught.