After losing to New England last week, the Denver Broncos were a dangerous team. Oddsmakers made the Broncos 11½-point favorites early in the week, which actually seemed generous against an Oakland Raiders team that was 0-8 and – on paper – didn’t seem any kind of a possible threat to the defending AFC champions.
The Broncos, after all, have lost consecutive games only once since Peyton Manning became their quarterback, and that was early in 2012. After losing to the Patriots, they wanted to get back into rhythm.
So what happened on Sunday?
The Broncos and Raiders played up and down to expectations.
The Raiders fell to 0-9 by a 41-17 score and looked ugly in the process.
After teasing the home crowd with a 10-6 lead in the second quarter – built on a Sebastian Janikowski field goal and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Brice Butler after defensive end Justin Tuck pulled in an interception at the Broncos 12 – the rest of the afternoon at O.co Coliseum was nothing but heartache for Oakland.
Two quick TD passes by Manning to C.J. Anderson and Emmanuel Sanders gave Denver the 20-10 halftime lead. Then the Broncos put the game away with a 21-0 spree in the third quarter.
The third quarter began with a bizarre play, on which Derek Carr shoveled a short (and illegal) pass under a heavy rush to offensive lineman Khalif Barnes – who then fumbled it away to Denver on the Oakland 18. Denver refused the penalty, and three plays later it was 27-10 Denver.
The rout was on.
The Raiders once again had no running game, with Darren McFadden carrying seven times for 14 yards and Maurice Jones-Drew with three rushes for 10 yards.
The passing game, too, was largely ineffective as well. Carr completed 30 of 47 passes, but for just 192 yards – just 6.4 yards per completion -- with two interceptions. Wideout James Jones had eight catches, but for just 20 yards.
Oakland’s defense, meanwhile, allowed Manning to throw for 340 yards and five TDs, while running back Anderson had 163 yards from scrimmage (90 rushing, 73 in catches) – almost as many total yards passing as Oakland.
The Raiders now go looking for their first victory in San Diego next Sunday against the Chargers. Oakland is on a 15-game losing streak over two seasons and is 8-33 since Hue Jackson was fired as head coach and Reggie McKenzie was installed as general manager.