Well, at least the first 20 minutes of this game were pretty exciting for Raiders fans! The rest of the game was an abomination, but that first quarter was pretty exciting with Oakland leading 10-6 before the Broncos offense woke up and rattled off 35 straight unanswered points.
There really isn't much to say about the outcome of this game. The Denver Broncos are one of, if not THE, best team in the NFL and the Raiders are winless for a reason. Everybody other than the extreme optimists and the crazies knew going into this game that the Raiders were going to lose, the question was just how much would they lose by. The answer? A lot.
It is pretty funny that the Raiders had been so lacking in creating turnovers throughout this season but then they opened up against Peyton Manning with not one, but two interceptions very quickly. The Raiders even scored points off of those turnovers, it is how they got that early lead. If that was the defense that was going to be seen throughout this game then the Raiders might have actually rewarded the optimists and the crazies for their unadulterated hope of a win for the home team in Oakland.
Sadly, that was not the defense that was going to be seen throughout this game. One big play by the Broncos offense that featured several missed tackles by the Raiders defense ended all of that momentum. That 51 yard catch and run by little known 2nd year, undrafted running back C.J. Anderson changed the entire tune of the game and jumpstarted the previously dormant Denver offense. After that, the Raiders defense fell off a cliff as the Broncos offense became absolutely unstoppable.
Two things made that one play so debilitating. One was the gluttony of missed tackles that included three that should have stopped Anderson short of the first down on the 3rd down play, and the other was that the Raiders offense went three and out with a punt directly after such a shocking play.
Having had Anderson stopped several times before the sticks had that TD be the most demoralizing play of the whole season for the Raiders, and then they had to immediately come back on the field afterwards. That is a recipe for disaster. It was not surprising at all that just four plays later had the Broncos in the end zone again with a 20-10 lead.
Even with those two touchdowns in under 3 minutes of playing time, the game still wasn't out of reach for the Raiders if they could have gotten something going in the second half. Instead, Derek Carr threw the ball in traffic to an ineligible offensive lineman who then tried running the ball despite not being allowed to have been the receiver on the play.
Khalif Barnes was the recipient of the strange play, and he then fumbled the ball while running with it when he shouldn't have even caught the damn ball in the first place. It wasn't even a minute into the second half of a still close (ish) game and they had already turned the ball over deep in their own territory. It was a boneheaded play by Derek Carr who we can only hope did not realize it was Khalif standing by himself on the play, and it was even worse by Barnes for trying to run when he should have known he was clearly an ineligible receiver.
It was no surprise after all of that mularky that the Broncos offense went hog wild on the Raiders defense. Can you imagine being on the Raiders defense and watching that fumble, especially after they just had a terrible finish to the first half too? There was no chance of Oakland coming back from that circus like atmosphere.
The few bright spots in this game are hard to find, but one of them was D.J. Hayden getting that interception on the first drive of the game. After an up and down game that featured Hayden all over the field last week against the Seahawks it was especially exciting to see him make a big play right away in this one. He is clearly feeling confident this season and it is a notable difference from his rookie season to this year.
Another bright spot is the play of Mychal Rivera who again had a nice performance with 6 catches for 68 yards and a TD that came in garbage time after the Broncos had already went on their 35-0 run. Rivera was a late round steal last year and he is really looking like a quality player for years to come for the Raiders. We are starting to really appreciate him for what he brings to the field and not just his ridiculously attractive sister.
(Gif by SB Nation)
The heralded rookies of Derek Carr and Khalil Mack were unfortunately not bright spots in this game though. Mack only got 1 tackle in this game, though he did force a fumble that was not recovered by the Raiders. Derek Carr's stat line wasn't that bad at all but he had big rookie mistakes that hurt the Raiders in the game. He had 2 interceptions and that ill fated, dumb pass to Khalif Barnes.
Rookies are going to have games where they don't play as well and this was one of them. They didn't play bad enough to be worried about them going forward, but this was a game that they both would like back. I expect both players to bounce back nicely from their performances this week.
As for the team itself, they are going to need to find a way to pick themselves up after a terrible loss to a tough opponent. They go from one divisional game here to two more afterwards facing the Chargers in San Diego and then the Chiefs at home now.
This is actually a fortuitous schedule right now for the team because they do get to go and play another divisional rival right away after being embarrassed by one. These are the games that teams really get self motivated for just because of the rivalry and so it is a good thing that they get another shot at a rival game so quickly after this game against Denver.
San Diego had started out very strong but have been struggling as of late. The Raiders played them tough the first time when they only lost by 3 points so hopefully they can resemble that team again next Sunday over the team that was on the field yesterday. We will see what happens.
The Raiders are now 0-9 on the season which means that if they don't win against the Chargers next week they will have reached double digit losses without having gotten their first win yet. That is not something that this team ever thought would be the case coming into the season so hopefully they can finally get their first win to stop that embarrassment from coming to reality.