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Broncos 3rd & Long - It's Always Fun to Dominate the Raiders

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Reminiscent of 2012 game in Oakland, the Broncos started slowly and crushed the Raiders with completely dominant 2nd and 3rd quarters. For those who don't remember the 2012 game, it was 13-7 at the half, but we dominated the second half on the way to a 26-13 win (Jokeland scored a garbage time TD in that game as well).

I've got some Pot Roast for ya
I've got some Pot Roast for ya
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Doesn't a thorough beat-down of the Raiders (Faiders) do wonders for removing the sour taste left in your mouth from that flop in Foxboro? I know it does for me. I know that beating a winless Oakland (Jokeland) team, does not hold the joy that it might have once held when this was a "true" rivalry, but this Jokeland team appears to be better than the horrible teams of the past decade, even if their record doesn't reflect that. They did keep the game close and had a lead on us until late in the second quarter. OK, enough with the faint praise for our over-matched opponent. It's nice to see that the commitment to excrement still is in place in Jokeland. The Broncos domination of this game started with the amazing 51-yard TD catch and run by C.J. Anderson and lasted for the rest of the game. Anderson made 4 Raiders miss on that play.

How dominant were we from that point on? Offensively our drives went like this - including that first TD

Drive Start Plays Yards Result
DEN 47 3 53 Touchdown
DEN 38 4 62 Touchdown
OAK 18 3 18 Touchdown
DEN 19 8 81 Touchdown
OAK 34 6 34 Touchdown

Touchdowns on five straight drives. We've come to expect brilliance out of this offense, but let's take a minute to realize just how awesome this is. 35 unanswered points in 10 minutes and 36 seconds of possession. We are witnessing greatness and we should never take that for granted.

Defensively, we were just as dominant. Prior to the garbage time 97-yard TD drive against our second string (Q. Smith, McCray, Unrein and Webster all got extended playing time on that drive), we had allowed 125 yards on 58 plays - 2.3 yards per play. Between the Faiders TD drives, here are the results of their drives:

Drive Start Plays Yards Result
OAK 10 3 6 Punt
OAK 20 6 20 Interception
OAK 20 3 5 Punt
OAK 20 3 4 Punt
OAK 10 3 3 Fumble
OAK 25 3 5 Punt
OAK 18 7 24 Interception
OAK 20 3 0 Punt
OAK 37 3 4 Punt
OAK 6 3 9 Punt

That's 10 straight drives ending with a punt or a turnover where every drive that didn't end in a turnover was a 3-and-out. During that stretch, the Faiders ran 37 plays and gained a total of 80 yards - 2.2 yards per play. You can try to lessen the performance here by saying that we were facing a rookie QB, but you would be fighting an uphill battle with that justification. Derek Carr has been playing well this season, arguably the best of any rookie QB. His ability to avoid sacks was quite amazing considering how much pressure we put on him on Sunday. That being said, we shut both him and his offense down until garbage time a week after he nearly led his team to victory in Seattle.

3rd & Long Defense

The Raiders did a good job of staying out of 3rd and Long. Of their 19 3rd down situations only five were situations where they needed to gain 7 or more yards.

Situation Detail Result
3rd and 7 at DEN 22 (10:14) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass short middle to J.Jones to DEN 23 for -1 yards (B.Marshall). Catch but short
3rd and 13 at OAK 17 (13:36) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass short left to M.Rivera to OAK 24 for 7 yards (B.Marshall, A.Talib). Catch but short
3rd and 8 at OAK 12 (14:22) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass short right to K.Barnes to OAK 13 for 1 yard (M.Jackson). FUMBLES (M.Jackson), RECOVERED by DEN-C.Harris at OAK 18. C.Harris to OAK 18 for no gain (A.Howard). Penalty on OAK-K.Barnes, Illegal Touch Pass, declined. Fumble Recovery
3rd and 7 at OAK 21 (6:01) (No Huddle, Shotgun) D.Carr sacked at OAK 14 for -7 yards (V.Miller). PENALTY on DEN-B.Roby, Illegal Use of Hands, 5 yards, enforced at OAK 21 - No Play. Conversion by penalty
3rd and 10 at OAK 20 (:53) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass incomplete deep right to B.Butler. Incomplete

Their only conversion occurred via penalty - Roby's hands-to-the-face penalty that negated what would have been our only sack of the day. The Faiders were 1 of 5 on 3rd & long so our D has allowed 31.3% conversion in those situations so far this year. They converted one long situation (7 needed by penalty), one medium situation (6 yard catch by Butler with Marshall covering) and four short yardage situations (3- TD, 2, 1 and 1 yards to gain). Despite getting into 3rd and short six times, they did not attempt to run the ball on any of those 3rd down tries.  The Raiders have a horrible running game this season and we are the best in the league against the run (see more about that below). Overall we have allowed 55 conversions on 141 3rd downs this year (40.0%). I count 3rd down conversions by penalty while many stat reporting sites do not so my numbers look worse than you might see elsewhere.

In depth 3rd down analysis - one bad play

Down by 3 but following a turnover and with a really short field (they got the ball on our 12), the Raiders faced 3rd and 3 at the 5 (I know it's not 7 or more needed, but I didn't want to review Roby's penalty conversion play). They came out in 3-wide shotgun with Rivera in-line on the left and McFadden in the backfield. We countered with a 3-2-6 look (or 4-1-6 if you count Von as a DE). Ware is in a two-point stance on the defensive left. Knighton is over the interior shoulder of the RG. Wolfe is in a 5-technique over the outside shoulder of the LG. Von Miller is in a two point stance outside of the TE on the defensive right. Marshall and Ward in playing LB, both are stacked behind their respective defensive lineman. Talib is in single coverage on Holmes on the defensive left. Chris Harris Jr is lined up over Brown ready to press him while Roby is on the far right over Butler giving him a 4 yard cushion. Q. Carter is in at safety on the defensive left while Moore is the other safety on the right. Both safeties are lined up 6 yards off the ball and one yard deep in the endzone. At the snap, we rush 4. Knighton gets a good push up the middle which keeps Carr from stepping into the throw - Carr throws off of his back foot. Ware quickly beats their LT and is close to hitting Carr when he releases the ball (Ware gets flagged for roughing which they declined). Roby gets beat by a false step (faking the corner fade) and Butler gets across his face while he is flat-footed. Carr is looking left the whole way and makes a nice throw under pressure putting the ball up high enough so that Moore has no play on it and Roby can't do much from his trailing position besides trying to push Butler out so the he lands out of bounds.

kjo

One Good Play

On their first drive of the second half, the Raiders were facing 3rd and 8 at their own 12. They run 3-wide shotgun with twins left, the TE in slot on the left, a single WR on the right and McFadden in the backfield on the right. We start with 9 in the box. We are in our 3-2-6 our 4-1-6 look (depends on what you call Von and TJ really). Jackson and Wolfe are the two down lineman. Wolfe is in a 2-tech, perfectly over the A gap on the defensive right. Jackson is in a 7-technique over the interior shoulder of the RT.  Von is wide left in a two-point and Ware is in a 9-tech two-point stance over the outside shoulder of the TE. Marshall is walked up over the RG's interior shoulder and Ward is walked up over the LG's outside shoulder; both are showing blitz. Roby is on the defensive right showing press coverage of Butler. CHJ is over the slot giving him a 5-6 yard cushion. Talib is on the defensive far left over Brown. Q. Carter and Moore are deep (greater than 10 yards back) at safety so that neither shows up in the picture at the snap. We bring 6 with Marshall and Ward both blitzing.  Carr gets pressured almost immediately and almost tries to throw it to the left before pulling it down and moving in the completely destroyed pocket. Right before he is sacked he flips the ball to his LG, Khalif Barnes. Barnes actually makes Ware miss on a tackle, but Jackson hits him forcing the fumble which CHJ eventually recovers. This was a "rookie mistake" by Carr who should have just taken the sack and a bone-headed play by the veteran, Barnes, who should have just batted the ball down.


First and 10 run Defense

Another game in the books and another dominant performance by our front 7 against the run. The Faiders ran the ball 8 times on first down against us for 9 total yards - 1.1 ypc. That included two TFLs (Ware's stop on the end-around and VonWare stuffing McFadden for a loss of 3). For the season we have now allowed 279 yards on 99 first down carries (2.8 ypc) with 12 TFLs and 12 stops for no gain.  We now have 5 games on the season where we have allowed less than 25 yards rushing on first down (IND, AZ, NYJ, SF and @OAK). We now have two games where we held our opponent to less than 10 yards rushing on first down (SF and OAK). Jokeland is now dead last in total rushing yards with 559 in 9 games (62 yards per game) and only 3.4 ypc.

For the season we have allowed the fewest rushing yards (603) and we are first (by the slimmest of margins) in yards allowed per carry (3.190, SEA and DET are allowing 3.194). Like the Orange Crush of old our run D is elite.

Concluding thoughts

Top-tier teams don't lose to winless teams, or at least they don't very often in the modern NFL. So the Broncos did what they were supposed to do - win - even if it was on the road against a division rival who despises us. After sputtering some in the first half - two INTs and two red-zone trips where we only got FGs - the offense came alive in a big way and took control. The defense played as well as they did against AZ or NY, again flashing the dominant form that was not at all in evidence the week before. Our offense and our defense have played like the best offense and defense in the league at times during this season. We need to play at that elite level in all three phases from here on out to have a shot at the #1 seed.

We now continue our longest road trip of the season in St. Louis next week facing a Rams team that is coming off of their longest road trip of the year. The Rams are 1-2 in their last three games with a hard-fought win, 13-10, in SF sandwiched between two bad losses @KC and @AZ (7-34 and 14-31). Their undrafted rookie QB, who looked great in their wins over SEA and closs loss to DAL, has looked like an undrafted rookie QB in the past 3 weeks (45/79 passing for 481 yards, 3 TDs, 5 INTs). I look for our defense to make life miserable for him next Sunday. The Rams D, which was great at rushing the passer in 2013, was shut out of the sack department for the first 4 games of the season. They have gotten back on track somewhat with 17 sacks in their last 5 games, but they are not playing anywhere close to as well as they did in 2013. In 2013 they finished the season by allowing 30 or fewer points to their final 8 opponents - dominating two playoff offenses in the process (IND and NO). So far this season, their D has been poor - allowing 34 to the Vikings, Cowboys, Eagles and Chiefs while giving up 31 to the 49ers and Cardinals. They have only held three teams to under 30 in 9 games so far. So which Broncos unit will have more success against their counterpart next week (see the poll)?