The Denver Broncos reclaimed their home field with a vengeance Sunday in a 37-6 win over the Raiders before 76,013 fans at Sports Authority Field.
Quarterback Peyton Manning, who had nothing to do with the previous four losses to Oakland in Denver, orchestrated the win operating mostly out of a no-huddle offense the Raiders expected but could do nothing to stop.
Manning completed 30 of 38 passes for 338 yards and touchdown passes of 22 yards to Joel Dreessen, 17 yards to Eric Decker and 14 yards to Lance Ball.
Running back Willis McGahee gained 122 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, and Matt Prater added field goals of 21 and 53 yards as the Broncos improved to 2-2.
Oakland managed field goals of 38 and 24 yards by Sebastian Janikowski, both drives which would have required touchdowns to have any meaningful chance at staying in the game.
The Raiders fall to 1-3, tied with Kansas City for last place in the AFC West, heading into their bye week. Denver is a game back of the first-place San Diego Chargers (3-1).
Coach Dennis Allen and his staff will have an additional week to figure out how to shore up a defense that has been shredded in each of the last three games against Miami, Pittsburgh and Denver.
Coming up after the bye is a difficult road assignment against the Atlanta Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan, one of the NFL’s top home quarterbacks, throwing to receivers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.
The Broncos gave the Raiders some false hope late in the first half with a fake field goal attempt went awry, with place kicker Matt Prater throwing hopelessly incomplete on fourth-and-1 and giving the Raiders at the 36-yard line.
A 37-yard pass from quarterback Carson Palmer to Denarius Moore got the ball to the 13-yard line and Oakland eventually reached the 6. Palmer, however, threw incomplete on third-and-3 from the 6 and Janikowski came in to kick his second ifeld goal, this one from 24 yards out.
Any spark the Raiders had from that play quickly dissipated as Denver scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, a period Oakland has been outscored 55-7 this season.
Oakland’s plan going into the Denver game was simply enough in theory.
– Get Darren McFadden off and running against the Broncos, a team which he had gutted for 508 yards in their last four meetings.
– Get a lead, controlling the ball in the process, in hopes of keeping Manning from getting into a rhythm with the Denver no-huddle offense and keeping the Broncos pass rush in check.
The Raiders failed miserably on both counts.
McFadden had 15 yards on his first three carries but did little thereafter, finishing with 34 yards on 13 carries.
The Broncos established the tempo in the first quarter even if they hadn’t yet taken control of the game, controlling the ball for 11:15 with Manning-directed drives of 80 and 77 yards, the first ending in the 22-yard strike to Dreessen and the second on a 21-yard Prater field goal.
In between those two possessions, the Raiders managed a 60-yard drive of their own, but stalled at the 20-yard line, with Janikowski converting a 38-yard field goal.