For the first time since the Atlanta Falcons game in week six, the Oakland Raiders defense put together an inspired performance. Head coach Dennis Allen, who coached the game despite his father Grady passing away this week, and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver put together a solid game plan to slow down Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense on Thursday night. However, the Raiders offense stalled and the result was a 26-13 home loss to an AFC West rival.
Defensively, the Raiders statistics were not great, but the effort was on full display and encouraging from a now 3-10 team. Oakland was able to sack Manning three times and cornerback Phillip Adams made a fantastic diving interception in the redzone. They forced the Broncos to settle for field goals deep in their own territory three times. Denver was still able racked up 428 yards and ran a staggering 78 plays, but much of that falls on the offense being unable to sustain drive and turning the ball over.
Manning's brilliance was apparent on the first drive of the game. After Denver received the opening kickoff, the future Hall of Famer drove the team 68 yards on 11 plays, converting all three of the third downs he faced. Manning finished the game completing 26 of 36 for 310 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The Raiders went three and out of their first offensive possession and quarterback Carson Palmer threw a bad red zone interception to Champ Bailey on their second possession. Both times the Broncos capitalized with Matt Prater field goals giving Denver a quick 13-0 lead.
Denver was going in for another score after the Raiders punted in the second quarter, but Adams made a tremendous play to intercept the Manning pass and provide a big play for the Oakland defense. On first and ten from the Raiders 28 yard line, Manning went deep down the sideline to Matt Willis, who looked to have a step on Adams. Adams used his speed to recover and made a diving interception in the endzone. The turnover would lead to a Palmer to running back Darren McFadden touchdown from six yards out to cut the lead to 13-7.
The Raiders drove 80 yards on 14 plays eating up six minutes and 33 seconds off the clock. It was the team's longest drive of the year in regards to time of the drive and they never faced a third down. The play call for the touchdown to McFadden, who missed the last four games, was terrific. Palmer faked a screen to Darrius Heyward-Bey while McFadden went to the other side with an escort of blockers for the score.
Oakland was forced to punt of the first possession of the second half. Denver took over and started to march down the field. A pass interference call on free safety Matt Giordano set the Broncos up with a first and goal at the one yard line. On three straight plays the Raiders defense stood tall and forced a Prater field goal. Now trailing 16-7 with all the momentum of the goal line success, the Raiders needed their offense to take advantage. However, Palmer was sacked and stripped by linebacker Von Miller and the Broncos recovered at the two yards line. Two plays later Knowshon Moreno, who carried a career high 32 times for 119 yards, punch in for the touchdown and put the game away. Raiders' right tackle Khalif Barnes had all kinds of problems with Miller throughout the game and was torched of the strip sack.
The Raiders were able to put another touchdown on the board when Palmer found Heyward-Bey from 56 yards out. Heyward-Bey made a nice cut after the catch to spring himself for the long score. Palmer finished with 273 yards two touchdowns and the interception. His best receiving option in the game was rookie Rod Streater who made four catches for 100 yards. Denver ran out the clock on the next possession with a heavy dose of Moreno to ensure the Raiders would get no closer than the final score of 26-13.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Champ Bailey, Darrius Heyward Bey, Dennis Allen, Denver Broncos, Football, Khalif Barnes, Knowshon Moreno, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Phillip Adams, Rod Streater, Von Miller