The Oakland Raiders have played well on offense and close to horribly on defense this season. So it was rather confusing when it was the defense that kept them in the game against the undefeated Broncos. Through three quarters, the Raiders held Peyton Manning to three field goals, one of which came when Derek Carr fumbled deep in Raiders territory.
The offense started well, with two quick first downs before a holding call killed the Raiders’ first drive. On their next possession, the Raiders moved the ball down to the 20-yard line before stalling. Unfortunately, they didn’t get anything for that as Sebastian Janikowski had his 38-yard field goal attempt blocked. But on their third drive, the Raiders went 80 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-3 halftime lead.
That was pretty much the last we saw from the Raiders offense.
Carr followed a strong first half with two turnovers in the second half: a fumble that was not entirely his fault and an interception where I have no idea what happened since there were two wide open receivers, neither of whom appeared to be expecting a ball to be thrown their way.
Aside from getting within range for a 40-yard field goal that Janikowski missed and a 50-yard field goal that came thanks to a pass interference call, the offense didn’t do very much for the rest of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the defense held the Broncos to nine points on the day with the only touchdown for Denver coming on a pick-six. Peyton Manning threw for 266 yards but had two interceptions to go along with it. Things were even worse in the run game, which only produced 43 yards.
The defense played more than well enough to get the win, but turnovers, missed field goals and poor play on offense sunk the Raiders on Sunday.
On the bright side, this is the kind of game that in years past would have turned into a blowout. Few people believed the Raiders could pull off the upset, but they had opportunity after opportunity to do just that. They clearly have work to do, but aside from a blowout at the hands of the undefeated Bengals, they have been competitive in every game and that’s a step in the right direction.