The Denver Broncos just keep on rolling and it doesn’t look like anybody can slow them down. They took care of the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football 26-13 and won their 8th game in a row. Peyton Manning’s spectacular play continued as he racked up 310 yards, 1 touchdown, and a quarterback rating of 95.8 in front of a national TV audience.
Denver sits at 5-0 in divisional play after last night’s win. If they can beat Kansas City in the regular season finale they will sweep the AFC West for the first time since 1998. The Broncos now have a long week to rest up and prepare for the stretch run. If they can find a way to win out, and get a little help, they could earn a first round playoff bye which would go a long way towards a deep a playoff run.
Here are some thoughts on the Denver Broncos victory over the lowly Oakland Raiders:
- Denver outgained the Raiders by more than 100 yards and won the time of possession battle by an astonishing 37:19 to 22:41. It was a miracle that Oakland was within 2 scores at the end because the game should have been over at halftime. Manning was pressured into an interception in the second quarter that resulted in at least a 10 point swing, and the offense kept settling for field goals despite dominating the worst defense in the league. Even though it wasn’t pretty, Denver showed just how dangerous they can be. Imagine the result had they finished drives and not made any big mistakes.
- Knowshon Moreno had a monster game and finished with 119-yards rushing and a score. He also tacked on 4 catches for 48 yards. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter Moreno had 69 yards after contact, good for second-most by a Broncos running back over the past 4 seasons. He provided the running threat that makes the Broncos almost unstoppable. Hopefully he continues his impressive comeback throughout the playoffs.
- The Raiders game plan against Denver was reminiscent of the Chiefs game plan earlier this season. They tried to run the ball and threw quick passing routes to negate the Broncos rush. But as soon as they had to play from behind Denver was able to impose their will. A team has to play almost perfect football against the Broncos to even have a chance. During this winning streak it hasn’t been about if Denver will win, it’s about by how much.
- Surprise, surprise. Von Miller had a sack and a forced fumble. His stat line would have been even better had he not been held several times. Miller is only a sack away from the single season franchise record and continues his pursuit of the Defensive Player of the Year award.
- The Broncos defense held the Raiders to 61-yards rushing and most of those came on a single big run by Darren McFadden to start the third quarter. What followed after that run was a pivotal moment in the game. Oakland had the ball on Denver’s side of the field and was only down by 6 points. The Denver defense forced an Oakland punt and the Broncos scored the next 13 points to essentially end the game. The defense continues to come up big in key moments.
- Denver was 7 of 14 on third downs and Oakland was 2 of 8. That’s all you need to know right there. The best quarterbacks get the job done on third downs, and the others don’t.
- Joel Dreessen had only 30-yards receiving but he registered the lone touchdown reception of the game. Manning went to the tight ends early and often and they made a big difference in the passing game.
- It looked like the Broncos really missed guard Chris Kuper who sat out the game with a minor ankle injury. Denver gave up 3 sacks to one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to rushing the quarterback. They should be able to clean that up when Kuper returns next week.
- Matt Prater nailed all 4 of his field goal attempts and also added 2 extra points. If anyone needed a bounce back game it was Prater, and he had a great night especially considering the offensive struggles in the red zone.
- The Raiders yesterday reminded me of Raider teams from years past. Tons of penalties, 2 turnovers, dropped passes, dancing around like morons even though they’re getting beat, etc. But best of all, they lost to the Broncos, just like they should.
- Up next the Broncos get a mini-bye week and then they have a big road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. It’s a must win if Denver wants a bye during the first round of the playoffs. Go Broncos!