The biggest AFC West game of the year to this point is this matchup between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.
The Broncos lost the opening coin toss and the Raiders immediately deferred, hoping to send Khalil Mack after Trevor Siemian early and often.
On first down, Siemian threw incomplete to Virgil Green who was triple covered on the play. The second down pass had Siemian hesitate before he threw and the pass was tipped to another incompletion. On third down, Siemian threw two yards over the middle to Demaryius Thomas who dropped the pass. It would not have converted anything anyway.
The three straight passes to open the game was pretty stupid in this bloggers opinion.
The Raiders took over at the Broncos 48-yard line. A quick pass over the middle that was nearly broken up by Todd Davis was caught for a first down. Derek Wolfe stuffed the runner on the very next play to setup a second a long for Derek Carr and the Raiders.
Amari Cooper beat Bradley Roby on a short pass for a big gain of 21 yards down inside the red zone.
COOOOP!@AmariCooper9 slips a tackler and gets the @Raiders First Down! #DENvsOAK https://t.co/pBV7mzDuJz— NFL (@NFL) November 7, 2016
Brandon Marshall broke up what looked like a touchdown pass over the middle. On second down, Carr handed off to Latavius Murray who took it down to the six yard line to setup a third down and two. Seth Roberts slipped on third down short of the sticks, but Jack Del Rio decided not to go for the fourth down.
Raiders 3, Broncos 0.
For the Broncos next drive, Rick Dennison should rethink the throw-first strategy he has implemented in games this season.
He wouldn’t as Siemian would rollout to throw into very tight coverage at the sticks that was incomplete. Finally, with Siemian 0/4 to start the game the Broncos ran the ball with Devontae Booker.
However, the offense was called for a false start.
On second and 15, Booker got the ball again for a short three yard gain. On third and 12, Siemian threw the ball a bit short and Green was unable to haul it in. In fact, the ball was tipped in the air and nearly intercepted on the play.
Instead, it is the Broncos second straight three and out.
T.J. Ward came up on the Raiders first play to stop Murray for a short gain. Carr, on second down, would hit Roberts over the middle for 21 yards. After a short run and an incomplete pass, Carr would hit Andre Holmes for a first down down inside the red zone.
On first down from the 12 yard line, Carr was nearly sacked and then nearly hit Michael Crabtree in the back corner of the end zone. Cooper got free in the flat, but Roby was able to stop him for a short four yard gain. On third down at the 8 yard line, Von Miller made his presence known with a sack to end the Raiders drive.
Raiders 6, Broncos 0.
Kapri Bibbs showed everyone that he should not be returning kicks anymore by catching the ball six yards deep and hesitating before bringing it out for a predictably short return and poor field position.
On first down, Booker finally got the ball to start a drive and took it for a long three. Siemian would make another terrible throw that hit the Raiders defender who was trying to cover Emmanuel Sanders. On third and seven, Siemian hit Bennie Fowler well short of the first down marker to end the drive. Siemian was 1/7 for four yards at this point in the game.
That would be the third consecutive three and out for the Broncos and it would set the Raiders up with great field position yet again.
After a quick first down throw, the Raiders were stuffed on a first down run play just across midfield. Cooper beat Roby again on a pass over the middle for a first down to move the Raiders into field goal range.
The running game started to pick up to close out the quarter as the Raiders moved into the red zone, ending the quarter with a short pass to setup a first and goal.
The Raiders outgained the Broncos 137-9 in that first quarter.