The Broncos were facing 3rd and 8 when Peyton Manning felt the pressure coming from his right. He offloaded the football to his outlet receiver, running back C.J. Anderson, and it looked like the Broncos - who were stumbling and behind 10-6 at that point - would again fall short on 3rd down.
Instead, Anderson rumbled his way through two Raiders tackles, received some downfield blocks, cut across the field, and ran toward the end zone for a game-changing 51-yard touchdown, with nearly every yard coming after the catch.
"I think we did kind of need a spark, a big play," wide receiver Wes Welker said. "It was just what we needed at the time."
"That was as fine a play as I've seen so far this season," said Peyton Manning. "I have to tell you. I thought they had pretty good coverage on the play across the board. It felt like I was trying, I don't know maybe I couldn't tell, but I thought I was feeling somebody was kind of close to me. I didn't want to have a sack certainly in that situation. C.J. caught it. Easily could have been maybe a catch for minus two yards or something. The next thing you know he breaks the tackle. I don't know how many guys he made miss, but it was just an effort play on his part. It looked like he picked up some blocks down field from some guys, which was good to see. Everybody kept playing. Truly an incredible effort play on his part to take, like I said, potentially a catch for a loss and turn in into a 50-something yard touchdown. That really gave us a spark offensively and of course the whole sideline was fired up."
"Peyton looked at me," Anderson recalled, "obviously he was in trouble, because I didn't even get chance to finish my route. And next thing you know he threw it, and I caught it, and when I bumped two tackles, I thought I had a chance for the first down. But when I saw DT (Demaryius Thomas) and Wes (Welker) screaming down the field, I was like, cut back. The rest was in the end zone."
Anderson said he was surprised to see the football coming in his direction.
"Like I said I wasn't even in the middle of my route," said Anderson. "That's 18 though, you know, he expects you to be at a certain spot. And next time if I get there quicker, maybe I catch it cleaner, and hopefully the same results. But at the end of the day, I got us six and got us going."
"C.J. played great today," Manning continued. "He did a heck of a job in the running game. I think he had 4 or 5 catches. He knows this offense well. He's on top of everything back there in the backfield. I have a real comfort with him back there, but that play in particular was very special."