The Denver Broncos head home with more questions after being dominated on Monday Night Football by the Oakland Raiders. The final score 24-16 was a lot closer than it should have been as Denver had no answers to Jon Gruden and the Raiders offense. They now head home to take on a strong Chicago Bears defense.
Here is a recap of the 0-1 start for Denver.
Oakland came out with the intensity of a playoff game with the fans chanting, “F*ck AB!” right out of the gate. That intensity carried right through the first drive where the Raiders marched down the field in a methodical manner to score the games first points.
The Broncos offense couldn’t get things going early and their defense seemed to just give up every play they could. Somehow, they kept the Raiders from scoring again in the quarter as it sure felt like the score should have been much more than 7-0 after the first 15 minutes.
However, the Raiders got things rolling again with another big drive that ate up 8:35 on the clock as they marched 98 yards on 13 plays for an emphatic touchdown to go up 14-0 late in the first half.
With three and half minutes to go, Joe Flacco and the Broncos tried to get something going. The drive almost ended on a slant to Courtland Sutton who tipped it, but DaeSean Hamilton snagged it for the first down reception.
A series of unfortunate miscues pushed Denver out of field goal range - but just barely - as Brandon McManus missed by mere feet the 64-yard field goal attempt.
Desperately in need of a momentum shift, the Broncos got a minor one in the third quarter. They opened the quarter with a 12-play 67 yard drive, but came up short on the end zone to settle for a field goal. Then, after a three and out by Oakland, the Broncos put together a 10 play 54 yard drive that also ended in a field goal.
Down 14-6 entering the fourth quarter, the biggest thing the Broncos did was eat up over 10 minutes of possession in the quarter.
All momentum was lost as the Raiders came out in the fourth quarter and punched the victory through for good. While the score changed, you could just feel all hope was lost once the Raiders scored that third touchdown to put Denver in an insurmountable hole.
There were bright spots in the fourth quarter as both Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders made some big plays to make the score closer.
The Broncos will head home to Denver with plenty more questions than answers now and with arguably the toughest part of the schedule coming up fast.
The ‘Death by Inches’ mantra that we all thought Vic Fangio was going to fix was on full display in this first game of the season. What a lackadaisical effort on offense, on defense, on special teams, and from the coaches.