Broncos, 26, Raiders 13: Raiders fans really do deserve better than this team, and I say that not as someone who lives among many of them but solely as an interested football observer. The Broncos didn't clearly put this game away early on, but whatever hope Oakland may have had of making this a competitive contest in the early going was strictly of the false variety. This wasn't five quick touchdowns and a halftime crowd exodus. This was death by a thousand consistent plays, with a few Raider-ly penalties thrown in for good measure. In the end, the Broncos won by 13 points and it wasn't nearly that close. The Raiders, it can be said, are a dreadful football team, now 3-10 and with many needs and little prospects for the immediate future.
The Broncos, meanwhile, boast a damn scary squad. They thoroughly controlled the play all game long, save for one 13-play, 80-yard drive from the Raiders that ate up six minutes and 33 seconds near the end of the second quarter. It was the longest TD drive (time-wise) for Oakland this entire season, and aside from this lone bright spot, the Denver defense maintained gamelong dominance over Carson Palmer and his receiving corps, disorienting them so much that they could be forgiven for forgetting the direction of their end zone, as Denarius Moore can attest. Peyton Manning, on the other hand, hit tight end Joel Dreessen for a six-yard TD on the game's opening drive, later threw the 5,000th completion of his career (second only to You Know Who), and continued to lead five more scoring drives before the start of the fourth quarter that provided all the points he'd need.
The Raiders scraped out a touchdown with 5:47 to play when Palmer and Darrius Heyward-Bey connected for a 56-yard score, but it was much too little, much too late. Denver recovered the ensuing onside kick and eventually locked up its 10th win of the season. As for the Raiders? Well, they made this guy stand again, so they've got that going for them.
photo via delta__bravo