OAKLAND COLISEUM — The good news for the Raiders is only three games remain in yet another disappointing season. The bad news is they could all be losses.
On the night the Raiders honored their representatives in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it was Payton Manning who reminded everyone that he soon will have his own bust and gold sports coat:
The future Hall of Famer passed for 310 yards, his 30th touchdown of the season and also his 5,000th career completion as the Broncos beat the Raiders 26-13.
Making audibles at the line of scrimmage on nearly every play, Manning was like a conductor of an orchestra. He knows where each player should be on the field and acts as the coach and offensive coordinator.
He proved his football genius on the opening drive when the Broncos quickly scored. Manning’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Joel Dreessen made it a 7-0 Denver lead.
The win was the 10-3 Broncos’ eighth in a row, extending the NFL’s longest win streak. Broncos head coach John Fox said his team has stuck together throughout the streak:
“You need to get on a roll. … To wrap up the division and get into the tournament you’ve got to string some victories together.”
Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno had 32 carries for 119 yards rushing and a score.
Meanwhile, the struggling Raiders have dropped six straight to fall to 3-10.
Some credit goes to the Raiders, whose defense has been mediocre at best. The Silver and Black twice prevented Manning from scoring touchdowns in the red zone as the Broncos settled for a pair of field goals by kicker Matt Prater.
The one Raiders highlight was Darren McFadden’s 6-yd scoring reception from Carson Palmer late in the second quarter to give the Raider Nation some hope of competing in this game. Down 13-7 at the half, that’s as close as Oakland would get.
In the third quarter, Palmer was sacked by Von Miller and in the process, fumbled the ball away. The Broncos recovered the ball at the Raiders 2-yard line setting up Moreno’s one-yard scoring run.
The Raiders got a late touchdown on Darrius Heyward-Bey’s 56-yard reception making the score more respectable. But it was a typical Palmer touchdown in garbage time when the game was already decided.
The Raiders played with a heavy heart and much empathy towards head coach Dennis Allen, who earlier this week had his father Grady die unexpectedly from a heart attack:
Post-Game Audio: Raiders head coach Dennis Allen
“I went home on Sunday and took my father off life support and that’s not easy to do. So, was it hard? Yeah, it was hard. But I know my father would want me to be here with this football team. And I wanted to be here with this football team. I’m sure you can imagine that it wasn’t an easy situation.”
Despite another game where Palmer threw for nearly 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns, the Raiders have been stuck on three wins since October 28.
Palmer acknowledged the team’s struggles after the game:
Post-Game Audio: Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer
“Each week it’s something different. It’s been a handful of different things that have stopped us from being successful on offense and I know we’ve got to keep grinding. We have less than a month left in the season, we’ve got to keep working.”
The rival Chiefs visit Oakland on December 16 in the Raiders’ home finale. The Raiders’ final two games are on the road at the Carolina Panthers and the San Diego Chargers.