NFL Nation: 2013 Week 17 DEN at OAK Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Oakland Raiders

December, 29, 2013
12/29/13
7:32
PM ET

OAKLAND -- A few thoughts on the Oakland Raiders' 34-14 loss to the Denver Broncos.

What it means: The Raiders, for the second straight season under coach Dennis Allen, ended the year by losing eight of their final nine games. In that morass, a six-game losing streak to end the season. It was the Raiders’ most uninspired effort of the season, and they were in danger of being shut out for the first time since Oct. 23, 2011, a 28-0 drubbing by the Kansas City Chiefs in Carson Palmer’s first game with Oakland. Not a good look for a coach whose platform is built on progress and discipline. The Raiders allowed four touchdown passes by Peyton Manning (he finished the regular season with a record 55 TD passes) while also allowing him to set a new single-season record for passing yards (5,477). Plus, the Broncos, who earned home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs with the blowout victory, also established a new mark for points scored in a season (606). Manning did not play in the second half, which was won by the Raiders, 14-3.

Stock watch: Falling -- Terrelle Pryor. Rust was to be expected, what with Pryor having last started a game on Nov. 10. But his regression was shocking. He did not appear to play with much confidence, his accuracy was worse than off and, as former Raiders coach-turned-radio analyst Tom Flores said, “He looks like a quarterback that’s hesitant to throw.” Indeed, Pryor was not stepping into his throws and the ball wobbled. He finished 21-of-38 for 207 yards with touchdown passes of 14 yards and nine yards to Rod Streater and Nick Kasa, respectively -- Pryor’s first touchdown passes since Oct. 13. Pryor did, however, rush for 49 yards and set a franchise mark for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback (576 yards), eclipsing Rich Gannon’s mark of 529 yards in 2000. Pryor did play better in the second half.

A silver and black lining: It was not all bad. Oakland honored the 1983 Super Bowl champions in a halftime ceremony, giving fans a glimpse of the last Raiders team to win a Super Bowl, albeit when the franchise was located in Los Angeles. Jim Plunkett addressed the crowd, and it was truly the liveliest O.co Coliseum was all day, especially since the Raiders were trailing, 31-0, at the time.

SeaBass sleeps with the fishes?: Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, the Raiders’ first-round draft pick in 2000 and all-time leading scorer, missed his ninth field goal of the season, more than he missed the previous two seasons combined. Radio broadcaster Greg Papa said Janikowski was nursing a sore left quad, though Janikowski was not listed on the injury report this week. “Kind of a reflection of the whole season,” Flores offered.

What's next: The Raiders (4-12) must now play the waiting game to see if head coach Dennis Allen and/or his staff are retained after a second consecutive 12-loss season, and the 11th straight year without a winning record.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos

December, 29, 2013
12/29/13
7:28
PM ET

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A few thoughts on the Denver Broncos' 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders:

What it means: The win means quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense closed out the regular season with every significant scoring and passing record in their possession. Manning finished the regular season with 5,477 passing yards to go with 55 touchdowns while the Broncos had broken the league scoring record by halftime. Denver also earned home-field advantage throughout the AFC postseason.

Stock watch: This past week Manning was asked about the records the Broncos were poised to break and he quickly said winning was most important. Perhaps in the big picture that is certainly true, but Manning's season, at age 37 and after four neck surgeries, was nothing short of remarkable. It was his first 5,000-yard season in his storied career and, with four more touchdown passes against the Raiders, it was his ninth game of the season with at least four scores thrown.

A tad worrisome: Broncos punter Britton Colquitt had a punt blocked for the first time of his career in the third quarter Sunday. That play kept a rather disturbing trend going on special teams, with poor ball security, some big returns allowed and now a block over the past two months. The Broncos will practice several days during their postseason bye week and it's a sure bet special teams will be a big part of those sessions.

Two-man show: The Broncos tried to get Ronnie Hillman involved in the running game Sunday -- he had 12 carries for 30 yards -- but the Broncos' running game is largely a two-man affair headed into the postseason. Rookie Montee Ball had 72 yards on 10 carries as Knowshon Moreno was largely given the day off (six carries, 23 yards). But Ball and Moreno have turned it into split duty because of their work in the passing game. Manning's first four completions of the game went to Moreno and Ball. And by the time the Broncos had finished their first two scoring drives, Moreno had five catches to go with one for Ball.

What's next: The Broncos will get a weekend off with their bye through the wild-card round. They will try to balance enough work to keep their edge with the idea of getting a fairly battered team a little rest. But after last season's double-overtime loss at home in the divisional round, there will be a big push from the team's veterans to make sure everybody stays on track.

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