By JL Herrera
The Oakland Raiders failed to stop the high-powered Denver Broncos offense at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Monday night. Everything that was supposed to happen in this game happened in favor of the Broncos. Denver was predicted to win big over the Raiders and that is exactly what happened! The final score was 37-21 in favor of Denver.
In the end, the Oakland Raiders failed in every aspect against their AFC West rivals, who remain undefeated after the Monday night showdown. The Raiders overall performance was well below average, earning them a pedestrian C- grade.
Offense Grade: C-
The Silver and Black offense had a rough first half against the Broncos. It was so bad that if it would have continued that way, they probably would have earned an F. In the first half, the offense only amounted to 140 total yards (45 rushing and 95 passing). Also, the Raiders only managed three first downs in the first half compared to the Broncos 16 first downs.
The second half saw a slight wake up call for the Raiders. Oakland’s offense put up a better fight, catching passes and making small progress on the ground, but they couldn’t catch up to Denver’s lead. Thanks to a strong Broncos performance in the first half, the Raiders were never able to compete, even though they outscored Denver after halftime by a score of 14 to 10.
All three Oakland touchdowns were pretty impressive. The first was a 73-yard catch and run by WR Denarius Moore. The second was a tricky touchdown pass by running back Darren McFadden to fullback Marcel Reece. And Darren McFadden represented on the ground with the team’s final TD. Alas, their efforts did not amount to a win, but at least the Raiders were able to salvage some pride against their Denver foes.
Defense Grade: D
Oakland’s defense might not have shown up for Monday night’s match against the Denver Broncos (we still have reporters on the scene to find out). The Silver and Black allowed Peyton Manning to throw for 373 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders secondary is supposed to be the best unit, but did not act like it against Manning and the Broncos. They played so far back that Manning was enticed to hand the ball off to one of his three running backs. And run they did.
The Broncos ran for 166 yards with Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball getting over 60 yards each.
The defense caused a couple of fumbles in the second half, but only one was capitalized with a drive that ended in a touchdown (McFadden’s pass to Reese). That was the best that the defense could produce the entire game. Mostly, the Raiders D had no solution to stop Manning and company.
Quarterback Grade: B+
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor had a decent performance. Like the rest of his Raider teammates, not much can be said about his first half performance, and he earned most of his high mark in the second half. Pryor did have one long pass for a touchdown, connecting with Moore in the first half. The Broncos D came fierce at Pryor and at one point they gave him a hit so hard, it was questionable whether he’d get up. He would later exit the game early and Matt Flynn took over.
The kid fought hard though and earned his B+. Pryor threw for 281 yards with a touchdown. He had no turnovers. For a younger QB he played well against a dangerous defense.
Special Teams Grade: C
Oakland’s special teams did not really show any face. The punting team held their ground and the longest return was a 20-yarder by Trindon Holliday.
The returns for the Raiders were just average. The longest was a 28-yarder by Jacoby Ford that resulted in no points. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski made all three of his extra points but was not called on for any field goals.
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J.L. Herrera is a huge fan of football and has been following the Raiders since the 1980s during the LA era. J.L. is also a freelance writer and copywriter on the web. He taught English for a little more than a decade in Los Angeles at the secondary level. While writing for web based news outlets, J.L. enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching sports. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.