Again, I ask you to pull your face out of the stat sheet. Whitehead led the team with 6 tackles (5 solo). But that doesn’t tell the story of his day. The Broncos weren’t getting much in the first half on offense. Their biggest play was a 53-yard run on which Whitehead was blocked to clear the path. He was later blocked on an 11-yard run. The Broncos had just 79 yards rushing in the first half and Whitehead was at least partially responsible for 64 of them while he was yet to log a tackle.
To lead out the second half, the Broncos went right down the field to score. Whitehead still didn’t have a stop and on their touchdown run from one yard out, was easily cleared for the score.
Following the big drop by Keith Smith on fourth and one, the Broncos took over at their own 33. On the first play, Whitehead gave up a 22-yard catch to immediately put the Broncos in Oakland territory. The drive finished off with Whitehead giving up an 11-yard catch, 9-yard run, and a 3-yard run to put the Broncos in scoring position from the 1-yard-line. The following play, he had his one positive play, teaming up with Marquel Lee to stop a dive at the goal line for no gain. But the Broncos would score on the next play on a Case Keenum scramble.
With 1:58 left, and after a holding penalty backed them up to their own 10-yard-line, the Broncos had a ways to go get into field goal range to win it. Whitehead helped out greatly. He gave up a 14-yard catch and a 4-yard catch on third and 3. With a fresh set of downs and :22 seconds left on the clock, the Broncos got in scoring range in two plays to seal the win.
Penn looked downright lost out there at times. Von Miller can do that to tackles on the pass rush, but this is about more than that. It’s everything. No matter what the coaches say about him, he does not look comfortable on the right side at all.
The first play of the game saw Marshawn go for six yards. That was thanks to blocks by Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson. And had Penn blocked his man, it would have gone a lot farther.
The first play of the next drive, Penn gave up the sack. The Raiders were bailed out of the play by a holding penalty, but the sack still happened and it wasn’t because Carr held the ball too long. The Raiders game-planned for him to get rid of the ball quickly, which is the biggest factor in how they officially had just one sack allowed.
If you guessed Penn was the one to give up that sack, you guessed correctly. On the first third down of the second quarter, Penn would give up the sack again. This time, it would not get wiped away by a penalty. It came on third and three and backed the Raiders up to make for a 46-yard field goal try which Mike Nugent converted.
Late in the first half, the Raiders would get in the end zone for the first time. What was to be a 13-0 lead, became 12-0 because Penn missed his block to get the point after attempt blocked. That blocked extra point would be the difference in the game. So, instead of the Broncos driving for a tie at the end, they drove for the win. He would also give up another run stuff for no gain.
The only reason Price even got in this game was because of injuries. But even then, he shouldn’t have played in this game. He would play just 17 snaps and was utterly useless in those snaps, recording just an assist as his only stat. Well, unless you’re the Broncos. For them, he was quite useful.
One of the Broncos’ halftime adjustments must have been to go after Price because they brutalized him from the jump in the third quarter. On three consecutive plays, they ran through Price’s position for 5 yards, 6 yards, and 11 yards. That set the tone as they drove for a second half opening touchdown.
He came back in early in the third quarter and gave up a 2-yard run on third and one and a 3-yard run to set the Broncos up at the one-yard-line. They would score the touchdown two plays later. And Price would be cut two days later.
Irvin has had a rough the first two games without his former partner in crime Khalil Mack on the other side. And it’s clearly wearing on him. There were three plays in this one that maligned the team in the second half.
The Broncos touchdown drive to begin the second half may never have happened if not for Irvin. On third and seven, Leon Hall made the tackle short of the sticks. The Broncos were ready to send out the field goal unit, but Irvin was busy ripping into the official to draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that put the Broncos in first and goal at the 4-yard-line.
Come the fourth quarter, the Broncos were on the move again. And once again were in third down. Irvin was in position to make the stop for a loss, but Royce Freeman made a move and left Irvin reaching at air to pick up 7 yards and the first down. The Broncos finished off the drive with another touchdown.
And finally, on the Broncos final drive with under two minutes left, Irvin was clearly not into the play. He loafed over to the right side, pushing Arden Key inside. Then he bit on the fake left as Case Keenum ran right. Irvin had made it his job to hold the edge and then ran away from it. It set th Broncos up in third and short. They would convert and you know the rest.
We’ve talked about his drop a few times, so I won’t go into it too much again. It with the Raiders up 19-0, at the Broncos 33-yard-line. Going for it there was a sound decision. And the play went great and would have yielded a first down had he caught the simple dump pass. Instead, no point. No TD, no field goal, no nothing. The Broncos took over on downs and drove for a TD of their own. That’s at least a 10-point swing. In a one-point game. Brutal.