Key takeaways from season finale loss against the Raiders

The Broncos lost their final game of a roller coaster 2023-24 season against the Raiders on the road. What did we learn from the game?

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos 2023-2024 regular season is over. Denver lost its week 18 matchup, the final game of the season, on the road against their AFC West rival, the Las Vegas Raiders by a score of 27-14, making this their seventh-straight season with a losing record.

The Broncos had the opportunity to end their 7-game losing streak against the Raiders and finish their season with an over .500 win-loss record for the first time since the Super Bowl 50 season, but Denver was not able to finish the season with a dub, and Vegas dominated in the trenches.

With that being said, here are my main takeaways from the game.

1. No Josh Jacobs, no problem ... Zamir White destroyed the defense on the ground:

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who did not play against the Broncos on Week 18, has been Denver's kryptonite over his career, as he has had insane stats against Denver. On average, he has 96.1 rushing yards, 1.1 rushing touchdowns, and 22.6 receiving yards. His absence did not matter, as backup running back Zamir White had a wild running game.

To be specific, White finished with the following stats against the Broncos in Week 18 ...

  • 25 carries
  • 112 rushing yards
  • 4.5 yards/carry
  • 1 reception - 9 yards
  • 121 all-purpose yards

It was White's second game of the season with over 100 rushing yards, as he had 145 against the Chiefs on Christmas day, and once again the Broncos' defense struggled against the run and was not able to stop it.

2. Offensive line and running backs struggled badly:

The Broncos' offense could not find a good rhythm during most of the game thanks to the poor offensive line play, which in the end, led to a struggling run game. Jarrett Stidham was pressured all game by Maxx Crosby and company.

Denver's big free agent signing Mike McGlinchey was inactive, as he suffered a rib injury during the Week 17 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, and his replacement, Cam Fleming who was re-signed in free agency to a one-year deal after a good 2022-23 season struggled badly. Maxx Crosby destroyed him. Stidham was sacked five times, three of those sacks were in the first half.

Running back Javonte Williams had another awful game, despite his touchdown. He finished with 32 rushing yards on nine carries (3.6 yards/carry), the first time since Week 14 at the Chargers with more than 3.0 yards per carry in a game (3.9). Simply awful. Denver finished the game with 48 combined rushing yards on 20 carries, for an average of 2.4 yards per run.

3. Defense quit the game, making a win impossible:

Vance Joseph's defense has had a season with lots of ups and downs, and Sunday the season finished as it started ... defensively bad.

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Two big problems this defense had over the season, happened again in the regular season finale against the Raiders: Run game and missed tackles. They allowed 244 passing yards and 129 rushing yards ... 373 total yards. They allowed big conversions on third down, which allowed the Raiders offense to eat the clock.