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Broncos Raiders final score 41-17: Peyton Manning, C.J. Anderson throttle Raiders in Oakland

Broncos 41, Raiders 17: In which C.J. Anderson burned his home state to the ground.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 108th meeting between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders was one of its weirdest.

The first 20 minutes of the game inflicted a decent panic within Broncos Country. Peyton Manning was off.

Yet despite two interceptions, five passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, and a number of head-scratching throws by Manning - all in the first half - the Denver Broncos dominated the Oakland Raiders in Week 10 to a final score of 41-17. They even dominated the Raiders by the end of the first half, which was probably why the game felt so weird, considering the absolute utter panic that was consuming Broncos Country early on.

It was a sloppy start for the Broncos quarterback. Manning overthrew Emmanuel Sanders on his second play from scrimmage, which was intercepted by D.J. Hayden at the Broncos' 49-yard line. The Raiders were able to convert a few first downs and take an early 3-0 lead.

On two subsequent drives, the Broncos' offense stalled in the red zone as the shuffled o-line succumbed to a few penalties and Manning continued to struggle. He missed a wide open Ronnie Hillman on 1st and Goal from the 4 with a simply bad pass, failing to step into his throw and floating it short of Hillman. His next pass was caught by Julius Thomas, but the throw was so inaccurate it caused Thomas' momentum to take him out of bounds.

Those struggles were atypical of Manning's season, but typical of Manning's first half. A few series later, Manning threw into the hands of Justin Tuck, who deflected the pass into the air and dove for the interception. Soon, the Broncos were down 10-6 behind two Manning picks.

It wasn't anything on which you could really blame the shuffled o-line or any miscommunications between Manning and his receivers - the Broncos' quarterback was just off.

Enter C.J. Anderson.

C.J. Anderson 51-yard run vs. Raiders


Anderson took control of the game late in the second quarter, catching a quick Peyton Manning pass on third down that should have gotten him crushed well short of the sticks. Instead, Anderson burned a Raider. Then another. And another. Before you knew it, the second-year undrafted back out of Cal was taking Manning's pass 51 yards to the house, the catalyst to what would quickly become a Broncos rout in his home state.

Anderson's runs were just as impressive as his runs-after-the-catch, taking control of the Broncos' ground game with a 10-plus-yard average through the third quarter.

Denver's defense did its part in the rout, hustling Derek Carr and giving his receivers no room. Bradley Roby had a leaping interception that set up the Broncos for a touchdown, and Chris Harris Jr. recovered a wacky fumble that netted the Broncos another seven points. The Broncos went on a 35-0 run thanks to Manning's recovery and a stifling defense that forced three turnovers (T.J. Ward had a third quarter interception). By the fourth quarter, up 41-10, it was Brock Osweiler time.

The early struggles from Manning were completely erased by his elite performance over the next 20 minutes of football.  Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas each caught two Peyton Manning touchdowns. Manning finished 31 of 44 for 340 yards (7.7 avg.), five touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 111.9 rating.

With a tip of his hat to Anderson, Manning performance reminds us: don't ever count out The Sheriff.