The Oakland Raiders started out with the ball at Mile High Stadium but they went 3 and out to start the game. It shouldn't have been though, the 2nd down sack should have been a 15 yard penalty for hitting the QB in the head but it wasn't called. It wasn't much contact but it still happened and should have been called, it wasn't and instead the Raiders had to punt.
The Raiders defense appeared to hold up strong in their first outing on the field but a very questionable defensive holding call kept the Broncos drive alive. The defense did end up stopping Denver before they got much farther though after Justin Tuck got a sack on first, Denver had a short run on second, and then an incomplete pass forced the field goal. The 49 yard kick made the score 3-0 Broncos but anything not a TD on that drive has to be considered a Raiders win.
Unfortunately, the Raiders offense again did not get a first down and had to punt after Derek Carr was sacked on a 3rd and 2 play. The Broncos started just shy of midfield on their 2nd drive of the game. The first down play was incomplete but sadly for the Raiders the 2nd play wasn't, it was a long catch and run to Demaryius Thomas that had the Broncos inside the Raiders 10 yard line. C.J. Anderson followed that up with an easy TD run that made the score 10-0 Denver with 5:37 left still in the 1st quarter.
Oakland really needed to score some points on this drive now to keep them from being blown out. They did not do that, they again failed to get a first down. A false start, an incomplete deep ball, a dropped short ball, and a screen pass stopped short the first down was all they could accomplish. The stop forced another Marquette King punt and increased the feeling of dread about this game getting out of hand immensely.
The Raiders defense wanted none of that nonsense though. Justin Tuck tipped a pass that was ruled a lateral and T.J. Carrie showed off his instincts again and his speed by grabbing the ball on the run and returning it for a touchdown. The refs took a second look at the play to try and figure out if it was indeed a lateral and confirmed the call. The defensive score made it a 10-7 game and put the Raiders back into this game despite the ineffective offense.
The Broncos were unfazed by the awkward moment though, they proceeded to go right down the field. The drive was helped by a huge pass play to a wide open Emmanuel Sanders that got the Broncos to the Oakland 30. They had another big play after that to Demaryius Thomas who was down at the 1. They ran it in with C.J. Anderson again on the next play to make the score 17-7.
Once again, the Oakland offense started out their next drive with a false start penalty and again failed to get a first down. Worse than that, they had a terrible shotgun snap go past Carr on 3rd down where they lost over 20 yards on the play, though thankfully they did recover it to allow another punt. Again the Broncos offense starts their drive at midfield.
The Oakland defense was much better this time and kept Denver from getting a first down. They had good pressure on Manning on first down to force an incomplete pass, a run stuff and then a pass stopped short of the first down to force the Broncos first punt of the game. The Raiders offense has done nothing up until now without even getting a first down yet but their defense has kept them still within reach in this one.
Finally the Raiders managed to get their first 1st down of the game, and it came on a 3rd down connection to Mychal Rivera while Carr was being hit. That was the only first down they would get however, their next time on 3rd down they had a batted down pass. At least this time the Broncos are starting their drive at their own 15 instead of around midfield.
The Broncos did put up one first down but that was all before having to punt. They got a nice punt and a great tackle immediately on coverage though, even so the Raiders had ok field position starting at their own 26. Field position doesn't matter though when they can't get a 1st down, they again went 3 and out and had to punt. It was their 5th time failing to get a first down out of 6 drives, and that other drive they only managed one first down before punting.
The Broncos had just over two minutes to go in the half and you know what that means, it's Peyton Manning's favorite drill. Sure enough too, he drove the Broncos methodically down the field and into Raiders territory. They stalled once in field though settled for a field goal to make the score 20-7.
The Raiders just ran out the rest of the half so 20-7 is the score at halftime. It could and probably should be much worse.