When the Denver Broncos came out after halftime against the Oakland Raiders, it looked like they had put their wet fingers in a wall socket. They were completely charged up to beat their division foe.
The Broncos’ 37-6 win was the largest margin of victory against the Raiders in 50 years and the second largest in 104 regular season games played between the two teams.
A lot of credit has to be given to the Orange Crush defense. The Broncos got a quick three and out to open the second half, and within 1 minute, 1 second, Peyton Manning was back out on the field, and eventually threw Eric Decker his first touchdown pass of the season.
In fact, the Broncos defense got three and outs on each of its four series in the third quarter. They held the Raiders to just 1-for-12 on third downs the entire game.
“That is always a great point of emphasis but I think when you play well on first and second down, it gives you a better chance to get off the field,” Champ Bailey said of getting third down stops. “These guys were great up front and you have to give them credit because they stopped the run.”
The Broncos held the Raiders to just 56 yards on the ground, and they held the ticking time bomb, Darren McFadden, to just 13 carries for 34 yards. He’s also a big receiving threat out of the backfield and he was limited to one catch for 4 yards.
“We felt like he was one of their bigger weapons on offense,” linebacker Keith Brooking said (filling in for suspended Joe Mays). “He has the ability to take it the distance if he gets into the open field. He’s a game-changer, and he got on the edge of our defense a couple times there early, but we kept the edge of our defense there at the end of the first half and through the second half and didn’t allow him to sneak out for any big gains.”
Because the Broncos stopped the run, they controlled the clock. The Raiders had the ball for just 22 minutes, 35 seconds.
“The game right there is hard to swallow,” McFadden said in disappointment.
The Broncos put a lot of pressure on quarterback Carson Palmer who went 19-for-34 for 202 yards with a 55.9% completion rate. Jack Del Rio called all kinds of blitz packages, even calling a safety blitz and a cornerback blitz on back-to-back plays early in that game. That allowed Chris Harris to swoop in for a sack and an 11-yard loss.
Elvis Dumervil was sack-less prior to last week, but he came through with 1.5 sacks against the Raiders. With Von Miller, Dumervil was constantly in Palmer’s face.
Even though we don’t like to see the Broncos defense on the field, they kept their appearances brief. Just 237 total yards from the Raiders proves that.
The Broncos put a defense out there that could control the pace of the game and maintain a lead. This is the type of defense that thrives when they play with a lead because actions and reactions become much more instinctual, just like the game was meant to be played.