December 17, 2017

Raiders Defeat Broncos 21-14

If you were looking for an article after the Raiders got destroyed by the Patriots, I apologize.  The Patriots won by a score of 33-8 and it wasn’t that close.  Sloppy play, players out of position and more horrendous play calling all were contributing factors to the loss.  I was so disgusted that I turned the game off in the third quarter after Brady connected with Cooks for a long touchdown.  The sickening part about that play was that Cooks was wide open and literally walked into the end zone.  I couldn’t bring myself to write about such a debacle.

Last week, the Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton and he was replaced by John Pagano.  Raider fans had been lobbying for Norton to be fired since last year.  Would it help?  Read on to find out.  On the second play of the game, Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib got into a fight.  Talib ripped off Crabtree’s chain and all hell broke loose.  The fight carried over into the Denver bench and fists were flying.  Just when it looked like everything was about to calm down, Talib went after Crabtree again.  Both players threw punches but none of them landed.  After the madness concluded, Talib and Crabtree were ejected.  Also, guard Gabe Jackson was ejected for making contact with a zebra.  That was a hell of a way to start a game between two AFL rivals!  I wonder if there will be any suspensions.  That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

After they decided to play football again, there wasn’t much to see.  Both offenses couldn’t move the ball and the first quarter ended with the score tied 0-0.  Early in the second quarter, the Broncos recovered a fumble deep in Oakland territory.  Paxton Lynch completed a screen pass to Devontae Booker and he took it into the end zone for an apparent touchdown.  But replay showed he was down at the one-yard line.  I didn’t think that was a big deal as they would just run it up the middle against the weak Raider defense.  On first down, Booker ran up the middle and he was stopped for no gain.  On the next play, a miracle happened.  Lynch tossed a pass intended for Virgil Green.  The ball was tipped and landed in the hands of NaVorro Bowman.  After ten weeks of total ineptness, the Raiders finally had their first interception!  See that?  Miracles do happen!

That interception gave the Raiders a spark and they marched 80 yards on the strength of some good running and receiving by Marshawn Lynch.  A facemask penalty on the Broncos was also a big help.  On second and seven from the nine, Carr found Cooper in the corner of the end zone and the Raiders took a 7-0 lead.  The defense kept playing well and they forced another punt.  The Raiders capitalized again.  This time it was Lynch taking it into the end zone from one yard out.  At the end of the first half, the Raiders led 14-0.  They would add to that lead early in the third quarter as Carr found Jalen Richard in the end zone for another touchdown.

It looked like the Raiders were going to cruise to an easy victory.  But things got different in the fourth quarter.  First, Amari Cooper was the recipient of a vicious hit and left the game with a concussion.  Then, Paxton Lynch left the game with an ankle injury.  He was replaced by Trevor Siemian and he led the Broncos right down the field.  On fourth and seven from the Oakland 25, Cody Latimer got behind T.J. Carrie and hauled the pass in for a touchdown.  After the Raiders recovered an onside kick, they drove down to the Denver 17-yard line.  Tavecchio was brought into the game to hopefully give the Raiders a commanding 24-7 lead.  Right before he kicked the ball, announcer and former Raider Rich Gannon said “Tavecchio has been a solid kicker throughout the year.”  This is also known as the “announcer jinx.”  The kick sailed wide left and I screamed “Shut up, Gannon!”  The Broncos took over and promptly drove down the field for another touchdown.  This time, it was Bennie Fowler catching a 22-yard pass to make the score 21-14.

After what I saw in the first three quarters, I didn’t think I would be nervous about the Raiders losing at all.  After all, they had an interception, five quarterback sacks and totally stuffed the Denver running game.  With 2:24 remaining in the game, the Raiders were facing a third and eight from their 15-yard line.  The Broncos were showing blitz.  Carr took the snap and tossed a high floating pass that was nabbed out of the air by Cordarrelle Patterson.  He got the first down, shook off a couple of defenders and ended up turning it into a gain of 54 yards.  With the Broncos out of timeouts, Carr took a knee three times and that ended the game with the Raiders on top, 21-14.

It wasn’t pretty, but I don’t give a damn.  A win is a win and they beat the team I hate the most in the entire NFL.  The defense played well for three quarters.  I didn’t like what I saw from them late in the fourth quarter, but they showed lots of aggressiveness that has been absent for a long time.  They pressured Lynch and Siemian and forced some bad throws.  I think I counted three dropped interceptions.  Two of them were by safety Karl Joseph.  Denico Autry and Bruce Irvin each had two sacks and Mack added another.

For the Raiders, Marshawn Lynch was clearly the star of the show.  With Crabtree and Cooper out, Lynch carried the ball 26 times for 67 yards and one touchdown.  He also caught three passes for 44 yards.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 104 yards on 37 carries.  Patterson led the team in receiving yards with 72.  Carr had a pretty efficient day as he completed 18 of 24 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

For the Broncos, they couldn’t get out of their own way for most of the game.  Before getting injured, Paxton Lynch completed nine of 14 passes for 41 yards and one interception.  Siemian fared much better as he completed 11 of 21 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns.  The leading receiver for the Broncos was Latimer with three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.  When it came to running the ball, the Broncos had nowhere to run.  Lynch was the leading rusher with 20 yards on two carries.  As a team, the Broncos rushed for 59 yards on 17 carries.

Up next is another home game against the New York Giants.  They have been decimated with injuries and have had a very rough year.  Still, they are not to be taken lightly.  It’s also a fact that even though he is having a down year, Eli Manning is a much better quarterback than Lynch and Siemian combined.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy



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