Last week the Raiders defense created enough stops and turnovers to halt a two-game losing streak and beat the Steelers in the final seconds.
Sunday in Denver, their defense was once again run all over – but this time their offense was dismantled by the Broncos defense in a 37-6 whitewash.
Peyton Manning threw for 338 yards and three touchdown passes in a near-flawless performance, and the Denver Broncos erupted for 27 unanswered points in the second half.
Manning completed a crisp 30-of-38 passes in his most impressive outing of the offseason acquisition’s four-game tenure with the Broncos, while Willis McGahee rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown to help Denver (2-2) halt a two-game losing streak.
“He’s getting more comfortable,” Broncos head coach John Fox said of Manning. “Let’s not forget he didn’t play all season and probably more than a year, and this is a new team, a new coaching staff, a new city, a new field…a new everything for him. The type of guy he is, he’s just going to get better and better.”
The Broncos gained 101 more yards than the Raiders in the first half, but only led 10-6 going into the locker room, thanks in part to a Thomas fumble after a 40-yard reception and kicker Matt Prater‘s misfire on a pass to left guard Zane Beadles on a fake field goal.
Manning drove the Broncos 79 and 63 yards for third-quarter touchdowns, capping one drive with a short pass that Eric Decker took in for a 17-yard touchdown and the other with a similar 14-yard connection with Ball, which brought Manning into the end zone for the celebration. There was also an 18-yard drive thanks to David Bruton‘s deflection of Shane Lechler‘s punt.
By the time the third quarter was over, the Broncos led 31-6. Their 21 points were 14 more than they’d scored in the third quarters of their first three games combined.
Yes, these Broncos looked much different than the Broncos who fell behind by 20 the last two weeks to Atlanta and Houston, then rallied late, but came away with six-point losses.
”Yeah, it’s clicking,” McGahee said. ”We lost to two great teams. It wasn’t like it was an easy walk we were supposed to breeze through.”
The Raiders have now been outscored 55-7 in the third quarter this season. Under new coach Dennis Allen – Denver’s defensive coordinator last year – they have allowed more points over the first four games (125) than in any year except 1961 and 1962, before the late Al Davis took over. This was their most lopsided loss in the series since a 44-7 defeat in 1962.
”It was nothing more than a good, old-fashioned butt-whupping,” said quarterback Carson Palmer, who finished with 202 yards passing.
The Broncos, who had allowed Darren McFadden 508 yards and three touchdowns over the last four meetings, held him to 34 yards on 13 carries.