After back to back losses against arguably the two best teams in football, and with a trip to New England looming next weekend, yesterday’s game against the Raiders was a must win for the Broncos, and win they did, in emphatic fashion. Denver stomped Oakland by 31 points yesterday, highlighted by a 27-0 2nd half destruction that brought the Bronco’s record to 2-2 at the quarter mark of the season. After two off games that had the critics questioning his arm strength, Peyton Manning had a remarkable day, torching the Raider secondary for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns. After throwing a career high 26 incompletions last week, Manning was much more efficient and accurate, letting only 8 of his passes hit the turf yesterday.
Manning and the offense got off to a hot start, as they started the game with a touchdown on their opening drive of the game, which included a 4th down conversion, and ended with a 22 yard Manning touchdown pass to Joel Dressen. After the Raiders responded with a field goal, Manning led the Broncos into the red zone once again, only this time, they were unable to convert a 1st and goal at the 4 into 7 points, and had to settle for a short Matt Prater field goal to extend their lead to 10-3.
After forcing an Oakland punt, Manning hit Demaryius Thomas for a 40 yard gain on 3rd down, but it was all for naught, as Thomas coughed up the ball and Oakland was there to recover. After another Raider punt, Denver once again drove into Oakland territory only to come away with no points. Facing a 4th and 1 at the Raider 36, the Bronco’s lined up for a 53 yard field goal attempt, but in an attempt at trickery, failed to convert after Matt Prater’s pass fell incomplete. I don’t mind trying to fake out the opposition, but when you only have to gain one yard, I don’t understand why you’d have your kicker attempt a pass. Poor play call in that situation. The Raiders ended the first half with another Janikowski field goal, and Denver went into the half with a slim 10-6 advantage.
From the second half kickoff on, it was all Denver. After the Raiders went three and out, the Denver offense went to work, capping off a 79 yard drive with Manning’s second TD pass of the day, this time to Eric Decker, to extend the Bronco lead to 11 points. After the defense forced another Oakland three and out, the David Bruton got a hand on Shane Lechlers punt, giving the Broncos a very short field to work with. Denver took full advantage, as Willis McGahee punched it in from 2 yards out to give the Broncos a 24-6 lead. The Broncos defense didn’t let up on the next drive, forcing the Oakland to punt again. The offense kept up the pace as well, as Manning finished off another touchdown drive with his 3rd TD of the game, this one to Lance Ball, as Denver finished off a dominating 3rd quarter with a 31-6 lead. Matt Prater added two field goals in the 4th, and the defense did the rest to close out a convincing 37-6 win over their divisional rivals.
For some perspective on how badly Denver outplayed Oakland in the 2nd half, just check out some of the numbers from the carnage. The Raiders got outscored 27-0, went 0-7 on third down compared to Denver’s exquisite 6-8, and were outgained 239-74 in yardage. My game ball for this week has to go to who else, but Mr. Manning, who was simply unstoppable yesterday, and was merciless in the 3rd quarter. The Raiders simply had no answer for Manning yesterday, and if he continues to play like that, the Broncos will be difficult to beat. My shout outs also go out to McGahee, who had a solid game, chipping in with over 130 total yards and a touchdown; and the Denver defense, who completely suffocated the Raider offense all day, making Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden total non factors.
Manning just might have to keep up the pace next week, as he faces lifetime rival Tom Brady for the 13th time in his career as the Broncos head up to New England for what should be an incredible game featuring endless hype
About the Author
Written by Alex Summers
Lifelong sports fan, love the NFL, and big fan of a basketball and baseball