Confidence is a great quality to have. But arrogance can come back to bite you. The Broncos fell victim to their own arrogance Sunday night by getting pummeled by the Raiders.
Over this past week, Broncos defenders TJ Ward and Darian Stewart both had some disrespectful words for their division rivals in Oakland.
As safeties, their disrespect was mostly for the Raiders passing attack, with Ward saying Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were not ‘elite’ but merely ‘good’. Stewart said the Raiders had no chance should they try to throw the ball.
Well, the Raiders did throw the ball. Carr completed 20 passes on the Broncos, with several other throws in which the Broncos were flagged for pass interference. Two of those were in the end zone, putting the Raiders in first and goal at the one-yard-line, leading to a touchdown.
That’s how you answer trash talk.
“It is a long season,” said Donald Penn. “ They did a lot of talking all week, but I said we don’t talk with the media. We talk with our play, with our pads on and we showed that today.”
Meanwhile, TJ Ward had a chance to make a play and back up his words. He had his hands around a Derek Carr pass for what could have been an interception, but the ball hit the ground in his hands and moved, so it was ruled incomplete.
“It was a rough one,” said Ward. “When you spend that much emotion and energy for a win, and you come out on the other end, it’s tough but that’s the league.”
Ward also was frustrated with the officiating on those pass interference penalties that led to scores, going on to say the officials “gave them the penalty. It’s frustrating when you have to go against two teams.” He is, of course, referencing the officials as the other opponent the Broncos were facing.
I wonder if the Broncos could overcome an NFL record 23 penalties and still win? Just thinking out loud.
The Broncos knew their focus had to be on stopping the run. It was an area they have struggled this season. That struggle would continue as the Raiders ran for a season best 218 yards, led by Latavius Murray’s season best 114 yards along with 3 touchdowns.
“Yeah, it was a physical, physical night,” said Jack Del Rio. “A very talented front seven for Denver. They’re tough to run against. Our guys really attacked it well. Went after them and ran the ball and ran it effectively enough to be able to stay with them.”
“It shows us that we should be able to run the ball against anybody,” said Derek Carr. “They are the best. . . They’ve got guys everywhere. I don’t want to take away from them, I just want to give credit to our O line for doing such a good job.”
Oh, and as for the Broncos run game? They were held to a total of 33 yards on the ground and 2.8 yards per carry on 12 carries. That’s their lowest rush total of the season.
It was a statement made loud and clear. But you won’t hear that from the Raiders.
Even after the game, when asked what kind of statement this game makes, the Raiders weren’t talking. Del Rio downplayed it, calling it merely “win No. 7”. Khalil Mack said “we are still playing.”
All the Raiders players were cautioning that the Raiders have to play the Broncos again in the season finale, which is to say not to get too high about this one and start making statements that might suggest they are getting overconfident. Or arrogant, as it were.
Maybe the Broncos players learned the difference tonight.