It would be hard to begin a game in a more dominant fashion than the Raiders did in Oakland Sunday night. The Broncos began the game with 4-straight three-and-outs while the Raiders scored on their first three possession to jump out to 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.
By the time the Raiders punted for the first time early in the second quarter, they had outgained the Broncos 153-14.
That dominance wouldn’t continue.
The following drive, the Broncos drove downfield to not only get their first first down of the game, but finished off the drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Siemian to Jordan Norwood to pull to 13-7.
A drive deep into Broncos territory had Sebastian Janikowski lining up for a 48-yard field goal attempt. He missed and the Raiders were held scoreless.
This time the Raiders defense would stop the Broncos to force another punt.
On the ensuing drive, Latavius Murray would burst up the middle for 42 yards. A pass interference on Bradley Roby guarding Amari Cooper in the end zone would set the Raiders up at first and goal at the one-yard-line. A few plays later, Murray finished it off with a run up the gut for the touchdown and a 20-7 Raiders lead with 1:25 left in the second quarter.
That was all the time the Broncos would need to mount a drive of their own. And in the final seconds of the first half, Brandon McManus line up for a 55-yard field goal and nailed it to send the two teams to the locker room with the Raiders up 20-10.
Neither team would put points on the board in the third quarter. The highlights included two Marquette King punts that pinned the Broncos at their own 2-yard-line, yielding a pretty entertaining dance from King, going from figuratively riding the ponies, to literally riding and imaginary one.
Khalil Mack also added his sack number 6.0 on the season. If you’ll recall all five of his sacks against the Broncos in week 14 last season came in the second half.
As the time ran out on the third quarter, the Broncos moved into field goal range and pulled it to a one score game at 20-13.
On the response, the Raiders churned the ball down the field. What for a moment looked to be first and goal at the 2-yard-line was called back by a Donald Penn holding penalty. They would settle for a field goal to re-take a 2-score lead at 23-13 with 8:19 left in the game.
The pass defense showed up once again on the Broncos next drive. Khalil Mack came around the edge once again for the strip sack on Trevor Siemian. The Raiders recovered inside Denver territory.
Derek Carr looked to have thrown an interception on the first play, but review revealed TJ Ward didn’t maintain possession all the way to the ground. A couple of pass interference penalties on the Broncos would put the Raiders in first and goal at the one-yard-line. Latavius Murray punched it in up the middle for his third touchdown of the day and the Raiders took a 30-13 lead with just over six minutes remaining.
The Broncos needed less than a minute to respond with a pass from Siemian to Kapri Bibbs who ran for a 69-yard touchdown to pull back to a 10-point deficit with 5:18 remaining.
Still a two-score game, the Raiders just looked to drain clock. A first down pass from Derek Carr to Amari Cooper on third and 8 helped to do that, giving the Broncos the ball back, still down 30-20 with 2:20 remaining.
The Raiders coverage stiffened, forcing incompletions on three-straight passes. Then on fourth and ten, Siemian threw it pretty much right to Reggie Nelson who picked it off to seal the victory.
With the win, the Raiders not only take sole possession of the AFC West lead, but make a statement loud and clear in prime time on national television that they are for real.
The biggest game this team has played in five years results in their biggest win in probably 14 years.
The Raiders improve to 7-2 heading into their bye week. The Broncos fall to 6-3 and into third in the division behind the Chiefs who won today to improve to 6-2.