NFL Wire News

Raiders come close again, but still lose


The Sports Xchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders go into their bye smarting from the realization that they held Peyton Manning without a touchdown, finally figured out how to cover a tight end and went toe-to-toe with a team that has beaten them soundly for the past three years, only to come up short.

A pair of failed field-goal attempts by Sebastian Janikowski and a 74-yard interception return by Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. enabled the Broncos to beat the Raiders 16-10 at Coliseum.

Denver is in charge of the AFC West at 5-0 and the Raiders well back at 2-3, although the two teams seemed much closer than that competitively for a change.

“There’s no consolation in this league for playing hard and playing well enough to keep it close and have opportunities,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I’m disappointed for the men in that room and how hard they’ve worked, but we will continue to attack these games and look for better results.”

Denver’s eighth straight win is its most in the history of the series against the Raiders, but bore no resemblance to the previous six blowouts authored by Manning since he joined the Broncos.

In those games, Manning completed 75 percent of his passes, had a passer rating of 119.4 and threw 16 touchdown passes with three interceptions.

This time, Manning was 22 of 35 for 266 yards, but never got the Broncos into the end zone and was twice intercepted by safety Charles Woodson. Other than Harris’ interception return against quarterback Derek Carr, the lone points came on field-goal attempts of 25, 20 and 52 yards by kicker Brandon McManus.

Three of those points were of the short-field variety after linebacker Von Miller had a strip-sack and recovery to set up a 20-yard field goal. In all, the Broncos gained 297 yards, which in the past few years was usually a number they approached by halftime.

Denver converted only 2 of 13 third-down opportunities.

“We won’t get into pointing fingers. That’s not what we do,” Woodson said. “As a team, all three phases have to do their jobs. That’s the name of the game. We win as a team, we lose as a team.”


–PASSING OFFENSE: D. A couple of nice drives, but mostly a lot of nothing, plus the back-breaking mistake — a 74-yard interception return by Chris Harris Jr. against Derek Carr. Carr’s best work came in an 80-yard, eight-play drive that included a 14-yard completion to Latavius Murray, a 21-yard pass to Amari Cooper, a 33-yard strike to Clive Walford and a 3-yard TD to Marcel Reece. Cooper was a non-factor in the second half until drawing a late pass interference. Carr was strip-sacked by Von Miller to set up a Broncos field goal.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: D. The Raiders averaged a paltry 2.6 yards per carry, with Murray getting 39 yards on 13 carries before leaving in the third quarter because of a shoulder injury. Roy Helu Jr., Jamize Olawale, Marcel Reece and a lateral to Cooper accounted for 17 yards on seven tries the rest of the way. The Raiders had only three first downs rushing.

–PASS DEFENSE: B. Manning passed for 266 yards and Emmanuel Sanders caught nine passes in 12 targets for 111 yards, but the Broncos never made it into the end zone. Manning has owned the Raiders in six previous games as a Bronco with 16 touchdown passes. Safety Charles Woodson had a pair of interceptions, one in the end zone, and the Raiders at least temporarily solved their problems of covering tight ends as Owen Daniels was targeted five times but did not catch a pass.

–RUN DEFENSE: A. The Broncos made no headway against the Raiders defense, averaging 2.4 yards per carry and finishing with 43 yards on 18 attempts with a long gain of 10 yards. C.J. Anderson, who shredded the Raiders last season, had 22 yards on 11 carries including that 10-yard run. Ronnie Hillman had 21 yards on seven attempts. Denver had just two rushing first downs.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus. Sebastian Janikowski had a 38-yard field-goal attempt blocked (it was kicked so low it may not have made it anyway) and also missed from 40 yards — two huge mistakes. Janikowski did connect from 50 yards to pull the Raiders within 16-10 late in the game. Marquette King had a 51.8-yard gross punting average, 50.8 net and placed three kicks inside the 20-yard line. Returns were of little consequence on either side, although the Raiders did surrender a 33-yard kickoff return.

–COACHING: C-plus – The defensive plan led to the best defense the Raiders have played this season. The decision to increase the work of rookies Mario Edwards Jr. and Neiron Ball paid dividends, as Ball was effective in defending the tight end. On offense, the Raiders, other than one early drive, too often failed to take shots downfield even after Denver had lost linebacker DeMarcus Ware to a bad back and cornerback Aqib Talib was in and out with an ankle issue. The Raiders overall performed like a team that had prepared well and thought it would win — a departure from the last three seasons of games against Denver.

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