The Oakland Raiders are the new leader in the AFC West following their 30-20 win over the Denver Broncos Sunday night. Oakland outplayed Denver from the start of the game, and with the win, the Raiders look like they’re a legitimate contender.
Denver’s offense struggled Sunday, managing just 10 first downs and converting only three of 11 third downs. Denver’s time of possession was abysmal, at 18:32. The Broncos did not trail by an insurmountable score through much of the game, but they couldn’t get it done against Oakland.
Derek Carr finished with just 179 yards and no touchdowns, but he didn’t make any mistakes and let running back Latavius Murray carry the offense. Denver’s defense hasn’t been stout against the run this season, and Murray took advantage with 114 yards and three touchdowns.
It’s been a while since any running back has scored three touchdowns in one game against the Broncos.
.@Raiders RB Latavius Murray is the first player to score 3 rush TD in a game vs Broncos since Ryan Mathews in Week 17, 2010— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) November 7, 2016
The last Raiders running back to score three touchdowns in one game against the Broncos was Darren McFadden, who got into the end zone three times in Week 7 of the 2010 season.
The Broncos came into this game ranked No. 23 against the run, surrendering an average of 117 yards on the ground per game. Against the Raiders, they allowed 218 rushing yards.
Denver also allowed 20 points to Oakland in the first half, which hadn’t happened since 2014, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Penalties surely didn’t help the Broncos, either. Denver finished the game with 12 penalties for 104 yards, many coming from a secondary that appeared to miss Aqib Talib, who sat out with a back injury.
Khalil Mack sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian twice. A late-game fumble by Siemian helped the Raiders put the game away. The momentum very nearly swung away from Oakland to give Denver another opportunity when a Carr pass intended for Jamize Olawale appeared to be picked off by Broncos safety T.J. Ward. However, the call was overturned upon review, returning possession to the Raiders.
As time was ticking toward the end of regulation in the fourth quarter, a touchdown run by running back Kapri Bibbs kept the Broncos within striking distance. Bibbs evaded Raiders defenders, lumbering for 69 yards to the end zone.
At the end of the day, though, it wasn’t enough. With under two minutes left to play, Raiders safety Reggie Nelson picked off Siemian, getting the ball back in Carr’s hands and allowing Oakland’s offense to assume the victory formation.
The Raiders held on for the 10-point win and took control of the AFC West. At 7-2, Oakland is now tied with the Patriots (7-1) and the Cowboys (7-1) for the most wins in the NFL.