They limited Lynch to 12 yards on nine carries and sent Carr to the locker room with a back injury in their grind-it-out 16-10 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Safety Justin Simmons’ interception of EJ Manuel at the Denver 8 in the closing minutes sealed Denver’s hard-fought win that sent them into their bye week at 3-1.
“It wasn’t really that ugly. It was a football game,” Denver defensive end Derek Wolfe said. “Don’t fans want to come see a good game? The fans want to come see a good, close game and this one came down to the defense having to make a stop at the end.”
Despite adding Lynch to their list of running backs they’ve stuffed this season , the Broncos found themselves in danger of frittering away an AFC West slugfest they had dominated when Riley Dixon’s punt traveled just 37 yards to the Oakland 42 with 4:16 remaining.
Manuel heaved a high toss to Amari Cooper just after the 2-minute warning but Simmons, who beat out three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward this summer, came down with the ball just shy of the goal line and took it out to 8. The Broncos then ran out the clock.
“What I like about our football team right now,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said, is Denver’s run defense and the Broncos’ offensive ground game, which outgained Oakland’s 142 yards to 24. “My issue with our football team right now is we make a lot of critical errors.”
Like the ones that forced them to them stall four times in the red zone, miss a chip-shot field goal and the half-dozen penalties, including one that negated a 64-yard punt return.
“That has to stop,” Joseph said.
Oakland (2-2) had cut its deficit to six on Giorgio Tavecchio’s 38-yard field goal with 5:23 remaining. That came after Brandon McManus hit the left upright from 29 yards out after nailing kicks from 28, 36 and 46 yards.
Denver’s only touchdown was a doozy, a one-handed grab of Trevor Siemian’s 22-yard pass by tight end A.J. Derby.
The Raiders couldn’t do much against Denver’s fortified front seven that also stuffed Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Eliott and LeSean McCoy.
Add in Lynch and that foursome managed a measly 96 yards on 49 carries and zero touchdowns.
Carr left the game in the third quarter with a back injury after he was pin-balled by Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis in the third quarter.
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio said Carr suffered back spasms.
“I’m glad he knows,” Carr said. “That’s awesome. That sounds good to me.”
Carr said he’ll get an MRI on Monday to be sure but noted he was in plenty of pain and not looking forward to the flight home.
“I tried to get down. As soon as I got down, I don’t know what happened,” said Carr, who grabbed for his lower back. “It happens so fast out there. I got blasted pretty good.”
Carr, noting he’s eternally optimistic, predicted he’ll return next week. But he was unable to loosen up in the locker room and throw without pain, so he watched his backup try to engineer a comeback.
“I thought EJ did a great job coming in in a tough situation,” Carr said.
FAKE FAIL: Four plays after Carr got hurt, the Broncos sniffed out a fake punt on fourth-and-11 from the Raiders 33 and wide receiver Jordan Taylor stuffed punter Marquette King, who was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing the football at fullback Andy Janovich as he got up.
The Broncos took over at the Oakland 15 but McManus missed from 29 yards out.
GIVE HIM A HAND: Derby’s one-handed touchdown grab came when he lined up from the fullback position and raced past rookie middle linebacker Marquel Lee, then reached with his right arm to snare the slightly overthrown pass from Trevor Siemian. He never broke stride – nor did he gather the ball with his other hand – on his last couple of steps into the end zone.
“I felt like it was three fingers,” on the ball, Derby said.
LONG TIME COMING: The Broncos looked like they were in prime shape late in the first half when Bennie Fowler downed a punt at the Oakland 1, but Carr instead produced Oakland’s first 99-yard touchdown drive since Oct. 2, 2011, against New England. He found Johnny Holton racing past safety Darian Stewart and hit him in stride for a 64-yard scoring strike .
MACK ATTACK: Khalil Mack had two of Oakland’s four sacks. His previous seven sacks in six games against Denver had all come in wins over the Broncos. He and former teammate, Denver right tackle Menelik Watson, embraced after the game.
Raiders: Return home to host the Baltimore Ravens.
Broncos: After a bye week, host the New York Giants for fourth home game, a stretch that will be followed by three consecutive road games.
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