Review of 3 things to watch
1. OAKLAND WILL TRY TO LEG OUT A VICTORY
A couple of decent scrambles by JaMarcus Russell in the fourth quarter made Oakland’s running stats look better. But through three quarters the Raiders had only 63 yards rushing on 18 carries in what was another good performance for the Broncos’ defense.
2. IN SEARCH OF PROTECTION
The Broncos’ offensive line continues to show it is one of the best in the league. Denver pounded Oakland at the line of scrimmage. Denver gained 4.8 yards per rush and Oakland registered zero quarterback hits on Kyle Orton. Denver hasn’t allowed a sack in two weeks.
3. RUSSELL CAN’T CROW AFTER PERFORMANCE
The Broncos made JaMarcus Russell look bad. He completed 12-of-21 passes, which is respectable, but he had only 61 yards because he rarely took shots downfield. His longest completion was 18 yards. Only two of his completions were to receivers.
Player of the game Broncos OT Ryan Clady
Oakland defensive end Richard Seymour got plenty of attention for rejuvenating the Raiders’ defensive line. He was almost shut out by Clady, who has not given up a full sack in 19 career games. Seymour had three tackles.
Play of the game
After the Raiders had a great goal-line stand, quarterback JaMarcus Russell turned the ball over. He threw deep to Darrius Heyward-Bey, whose feet got tangled with Broncos safety Renaldo Hill. Hill kept his feet and intercepted the pass, leading to a Brandon Marshall touchdown.
The Raiders had a bit of hope after Correll Buckhalter fumbled deep in Denver territory. But two plays later, linebacker D.J. Williams stripped Raiders running back Darren McFadden and safety Brian Dawkins recovered to stop Oakland’s momentum.
The Broncos have respect for the Raiders’ cornerbacks. So they focused their passing attack to the middle of the field, to either Brandon Marshall or Jabar Gaffney. They combined for nine of Denver’s 13 receptions. Three other catches went to tight ends. That plan meant another quiet day for Eddie Royal, who had one catch for four yards.
Key coaching call
After getting down to the 1-yard line in the first quarter, Josh McDaniels wasn’t going to kick a field goal on fourth down. LaMont Jordan was stuffed for no gain, but McDaniels didn’t regret the call. “You want to give your football team an opportunity to get it in,” McDaniels said. “If we have the same opportunity come up next week, we’d do it again.”
In a pinch
The Broncos finished the game with no healthy backup linemen. Left guard Ben Hamilton (hamstring) was replaced by Russ Hochstein and Tyler Polumbus filled in for right tackle Ryan Harris (shoulder). Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said one of the tight ends would have had to play offensive line if there was another injury.
Quote to note
“These fans deserve a better football team than what we showed today.” – Oakland coach Tom Cable on fans booing his team.