Both sides of the ball for the Raiders came out looking like they had no plans on winning the finale. They gave up a game opening touchdown drive thanks to missed tackles and penalties all over the field. Then could do nothing on offense to make up for it.
After one quarter, the Raiders had more penalty yards (40) than they had offensive yards (39).
A 64-yard run by Justin Forsett set the Broncos up for a field goal early in the second quarter to take a 10-0 lead.
Matt McGloin’s first start in three years was rough to say the least. He was 6 of 11 for 21 yards and not once did he call a play on the Denver side of the field. That was before getting hitting up the middle and knocked out of the game with an injured shoulder.
With McGloin heading to the locker for test, the Broncos offense was driving the ball down the field for another touchdown.
In third and 8 at the Oakland 33-yard-line, the Broncos were called for holding. Declining the penalty would mean fourth down and a 50-yard field goal attempt, so Del Rio accepted it to put them out of field goal range in third and 18. On the next play, Siemian dumped the ball off to Devontae Booker on a screen and he took it 43 yards for the touchdown.
Connor Cook entered the game for McGloin, going three-and-out and the two teams headed for the locker room with the Broncos dominating the hapless Raiders 17-0.
If they were going to make their biggest comeback of the season, they would have to do it with third string rookie Connor Cook at the helm.
The Raiders got the ball to start the third quarter with Cook behind center. It began with promise, with the team driving into Denver territory for the first time in the game. But on the first play in plus territory, Connor Cook was sacked and fumbled the ball away.
With the Broncos taking over at their own 36, they continued to take what they wanted, driving for another touchdown. The big play on the drive was a pass from Trevor Siemian to Damaryius Thomas for 26 yards to put the Broncos at the Oakland 17.
Two plays later, David Amerson was called for pass interference in the end zone for an automatic first and goal at the one. Two plays after that Siemian hits a wide open Virgil Green for the score to take a 24-0 lead midway through the third.
At this point, the attention starter to turn to the Chiefs vs Chargers where simultaneously, Alex Smith had thrown a pick six to allow the Chargers to pull to within three, down 20-17. If the Chargers could somehow take down the Chiefs, the Raiders could still claim the division and a top seed. If not, they would fall to a wildcard spot and a road game in the first round.
Those hopes fizzled quickly as the Chiefs took the ball right down the field for a 27-17 lead. So, back to the Raiders.
Cook started to get something going for the Raiders. On three straight completions, the Raiders were in the end zone on a 32-yard completion to Amari Cooper, with Coop stretch to just get the left pylon with the football. Needing 24 point to tie, the Raiders went for two, but Cook’s pass was knocked down incomplete to keep the score at 24-6 Chiefs.
It was the defense’s turn to step up now. Nate Allen left the game earlier with a concussion. Initially he was replaced by Keith McGill, but after some poor play, he was replaced by Brynden Trawick. Siemian threw a high arching pass and Trawick high pointed it for the interception near midfield.
The offense couldn’t do anything with it and punted back to the Broncos to begin the fourth quarter.
Even if the Broncos didn’t score again in the game, the Raiders kept suffering losses. Donald Penn went down clutching his knee and left the game. He was replaced at left tackle by Menelik Watson, with Vadal Alexander taking over at right tackle. The next play, Cook threw an interception.
The Raiders fall to 12-4 on the season, handing the division over the the Chiefs. The Broncos improve to 9-7, but were already out of the playoffs going into the game.
It also drops the Raiders to the five seed in the playoffs. See the full AFC playoff picture here.