A game the Raiders hoped would cause skeptics to take notice instead turned into a showcase for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Monday night at Sports Authority Field.
The final score was 37-21, but the game was essentially over after a nearly perfect first half by Manning against a helpless Oakland defense, much to the delight of a crowd of 76,978.
Manning directed the Broncos to a 27-7 halftime lead, completing 21 of 24 passes for 264 yards and touchdown passes of 2 yards to Eric Decker, 12 yards to Wes Welker and 13 yards to Julius Thomas to go along with field goals of 53 and 41 yards by Matt Prater.
In the second half, Prater kicked a 40-yard field goal and running back Darren McFadden took a pitch and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Marcel Reece on a rollout. The 70-yard scoring drive was set up by Oakland’s first takeaway of the season, a Manning fumble that was recovered by Jason Hunter.
Ronnie Hillman put the Broncos up 37-14 with a 1-yard run with 11:27 left in the game as the Broncos were able to run on the Oakland defense most of the night, making Manning that much tougher.
Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor was the most consistent thing the Raiders had going for them on offense, completing 19 of 28 passes for 281 yards and a 73-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore.
Pryor left the game after taking a hit from Wesley Woodyard while throwing a pass on the Raiders final drive, with Matt Flynn coming in to finish the game.
Following a fumble recovered by the Raiders, Flynn completed a pass to Marcel Reece to the 1-yard line, with McFadden scoring on a 1-yared run with 1:15 remaining.
Pryor’s touchdown pass to Moore, who ran 53 yards after the catch after catching a 20-yard pass, got the Raiders within 17-7 in the first However, the Broncos restored order with an 80-yard drive that took only 2:17 and ended in the Manning-to-Thomas touchdown pass.
On the first play of that drive, Manning found Decker for a 61-yard pass, with Mike Jenkins narrowly missing getting a hand on the ball. Decker, who had six catches for 113 yards in the first half, turned upfield after Jenkins hit the ground and ran to the 19-yard line.
The Raiders failed to get a first down until Pryor raced around left end for 23 yards on a keeper after a play-fake to McFadden. Only 47 seconds remained in the half and Denver had taken a 10-0 lead.
McFadden, who has three games of 100 or more yards against the Broncos in his career, found little or no running room, with 7 carries for 9 yards with a long gain of 4 yards.
It was the Raiders’ fourth consecutive loss to the Broncos, who have won their last 14 regular-season games, including wins by three touchdowns or more against the last two Super Bowl champions to start the season.