After clinching the AFC West against the Bucs, the Broncos had a short week to celebrate and rest, as they had to travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders on Thursday night. But just like the previous 7 games, the result was the same, Denver walked off the field with a victory. The Broncos beat Oakland 26-13 to win their 10th game of the year and their 8th game in a row. Now, depending on the outcome of the Monday Nighter between New England and the Texans, the Broncos could find themselves in position for a first round bye.
Denver made quick work of taking their inferior opponent out of the game early, as on their opening possession of the game, the Broncos hit paydirt. Manning and the offense converted 3 3rd downs and Peyton finished off the drive with a 6 yard strike to Joel Dressen, giving Denver an early 7-0 advantage. The defense forced a Raider third and out, giving the Broncos the ball right back. Denver drove inside the Raider 20 on the ensuing possession, but a sack on third down forced the Broncos to settle for a Matt Prater field goal to extend the lead to 10. The Raiders nearly struck back, as Carson Palmer hit Rod Streader on a 58 yard hook up, setting Oakland up at the Denver 20. On the next play however, Palmer would get picked by Champ Bailey at the goal line, snuffing out the Raiders scoring chance, preserving Denver’s lead at 10 after one.
The Bronco offense was still in a grove in the 2nd, as Denver once again marched inside the Raider 20, but once again would have to settle for another field goal, extending their lead to 13. Denver’s D forced another Oakland 3 and out, and Manning had the offense on the move once again. Just when it looked like the Broncos were going to really break the game open, Manning’s pass in the end zone was picked off, preventing Denver from putting a real stranglehold on the game. The Raiders finally put a consistent drive together, putting together an epic 14 play, 80 yard drive that Darren McFadden concluded with a 6 yard reception, turning what at one point looked like a blow out into a 13-7 ballgame at intermission.
Oakland got the ball to start the second half, but the Bronco D forced another Raider punt, this time pinning Denver inside their own 10. After two long strikes to each of Manning’s two favorite targets, Demaryious Thomas and Eric Decker, a Raider pass interference call brought the ball all the way to the one. However, Denver could not punch it in, and they had to settle for a short field goal, giving themselves a 9 point lead but keeping Oakland in the game. The Raiders next possession is where the game would effectively be decided. On 3rd down Palmer was sacked and stripped by who else but Von Miller, and Denver recovered at the Oakland 2. This time the Broncos would not be denied, as Knowshon Moreno ran it in from a yard out, putting Denver up 23-7. The Raiders were once again forced to to go 3 and out, and the offense would be on the move once again on their ensuing possession. The Broncos went inside the Raider 20 yet again, but were forced to settle for another field goal, this one Matt Praters 4th, to push their lead to 19.
The 4th quarter didn’t see anything too significant, only Palmer’s deep bomb to Darrius Heyward-Bey providing anything of note. After a failed two point conversion, the lead would be cut to 13, where it would remain at games end. For my player of the game, it goes to possible DPOY candidate Von Miller, who had that game changing sack and strip in the 3rd to ensure a Bronco victory. The Broncos face a huge test next week, as they head to Baltimore with a possible first round bye on the line against the Ravens.
About the Author
Written by Alex Summers
Lifelong sports fan, love the NFL, and big fan of a basketball and baseball