But even the primetime lights of Monday Night Football couldn't invigorate this Week 3 game into anything of interest, outside the fans of Denver and Oakland. The Broncos thoroughly dominated the Raiders, as expected, from start to finish.
And in a career full of NFL records, Peyton Manning set another prestigious one Monday Night.
Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns and 374 yards on 32 of 37 passing to lead the Broncos to a 37-21 victory in Week 3. Running back Ronnie Hillman emerged late in the game as Denver's most dangerous back, rushing for 66 yards on only nine carries (7.3 average) and a touchdown. Julius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker hauled in Manning TD passes.
Decker, who led Broncos receivers for the second straight week, had 133 yards on eight receptions, several of them on first downs. Many of his yards were hard fought and after the catch.
"Deckers' play was really big," said Manning.
Defensively, the Broncos were stout, as the league's top rushing offense (Oakland) squared off against the league's top rushing defense heading into Week 2. The Broncos clearly got the better of this battle, holding Darren McFadden to a measly three rushing yards late in the third quarter before the Raiders started breaking out when the game was out of hand.
The Raiders were more thoroughly beaten than the score suggests - a few turnovers late, including a lost fumble by Montee Ball and a strip sack on Peyton Manning, made things mildly interesting late in the game (just enough to keep Brock Osweiler seated on the sideline). Terrelle Pryor also had some shining moments, but they weren't bright enough to make the Broncos pay for their turnovers. The Broncos must look to shore up those mistakes as they continue this season; teams are gunning for them, and some upcoming teams like the Indianapolis Colts will take better advantage of those Denver miscues than the Raiders were able to.
"If we're executing and not making mistakes, we can go the distance," Manning said after the game. "But you still see some mistakes."
Despite those mistakes, the Broncos dismantled their division rival so well, it's hard to call them a "rival" at all anymore.