AFC West: 2013 Week 3 OAK at DEN Rapid Reaction
September, 23, 2013
By Paul Gutierrez | ESPN.com
DENVER – A few thoughts on the Oakland Raiders' 37-21 loss to the Denver Broncos:
What it means: Under the brightest lights a regular-season game can provide, the Raiders showed they are not yet ready for prime time. Not when Peyton Manning is at his peak. Manning carved the Raiders up Monday, at one time completing 15 consecutive passes en route to throwing for 374 yards on 32-of-37 passing with three touchdowns. The defense was simply worn down, and the offense did not come to life until it was too late. And Terrelle Pryor took a nasty blow on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Wesley Woodyard late in the fourth quarter. Though Pryor stayed in the game for another play, he left for the locker room and was replaced by Matt Flynn.
Stock watch: Falling -- Darren McFadden. A week after rushing for 129 yards on 19 carries, McFadden was stopped time and again by the Broncos, who stuffed the box and dared the Raiders to beat them with the pass. Through three quarters, McFadden had just 8 yards on 10 carries; he finished with 9 yards on 12 attempts. He finished with more yards passing.
Why not try the FG?: Sebastian Janikowski kicked a record-tying 63-yard field goal in the Mile High air here two years ago, so what about 15 more feet into the closed end of the stadium to close the first half? Instead, coach Dennis Allen had Pryor drop back for a Hail Mary and the play, and half, ended with a dispiriting sack.
Trickery: No, McFadden could not get it going on the ground. So he went to the air. Taking a pitch from Pryor, McFadden rolled to the right, stepped up and fired a perfect spiral to fullback Marcel Reece for a 16-yard touchdown pass that got the Raiders (1-2) within 30-14 late in the third quarter. It was the eighth TD pass by a Raiders running back, along with Marcus Allen (4), Harvey Williams (2) and Tony Teresa (1), the first since Williams in 1996.
What's next: The Raiders (1-2) host Washington on a short work week. Washington is 0-3 for the first time since 2001. The teams have traded victories in their past four meetings, Oakland winning in 1995 and 2005, Washington winning in 1998 and 2009.
September, 23, 2013
By Jeff Legwold | ESPN.com
DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Denver Broncos' 37-21 win over the Oakland Raiders:
What it means: The Broncos opened up division play with a rather tidy message to their AFC West brethren. The Broncos showed offensive versatility, playing with both power and speed, to go with a defensive edge despite Von Miller and Champ Bailey missing their third consecutive game. Beating the Broncos on their home field -- at altitude -- looks like a daunting task.
Stock watch: Wide receiver Eric Decker had a tough season opener when he dropped a touchdown as well as another pass that would have been a certain third-down conversion in the win over the Ravens. He had another drop in the win over the Giants in Week 2. Despite those drops, Manning had targeted him more than any other player in the Broncos’ first two games. It all came together for Decker on Monday. He had six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown in the first half finished with eight catches for 133 yards.
Mission impossible: There are NFL defensive coordinators who say defending Manning under any circumstance is a tall order, but give Manning four receivers who can consistently win one-on-one matchups and it's a long night waiting to happen for a defense. Of Manning’s first 21 completions on Monday, six went to Decker, five to Demaryius Thomas, six to Wes Welker and two to Julius Thomas.
Before the third quarter ended, Manning had completed passes to eight different players.
Webster steps up: Throughout training camp and the preseason, Champ Bailey talked about rookie cornerback Kayvon Webster's instincts, confidence and ability to bounce back from the inevitable tough play. And when Tony Carter left the game in the first quarter with a right ankle injury, Webster stepped in and chipped in with two big hits and steady work the rest of the way in the team’s nickel and dime packages.
What’s next: Break out the stopwatches with the pedal-to-the-metal Eagles set to come to Denver on Sunday. Philadelphia, however, may need all of its thrill-packed offense since the Philadelphia defense is 26th in the league in points allowed per game (28.7) and 30th in yards per game allowed (438.3).