The Denver Broncos helped the Las Vegas Raiders multiple time in the final plays using their timeouts when the Raiders seemed on the verge of delay of game penalties. That is something that will leave fans questioning Head Coach Vic Fangio’s timeout usage and game management abilities heading into the offseason.
The 32-31 defeat means the Broncos finished the season 5-11 and will hold a top ten pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. At least the 2020 season is finally over, Broncos Country.
The Broncos are Raiders traded field goals early in the first quarter, but it was Denver’s offense that wasn’t being stopped much early. Their second drive went for 75 yards and the game’s first touchdown with time waning in the first quarter.
Lock hits a wide open Fumagalli and the Broncos lead 10 to 3. pic.twitter.com/sv89EKoohC— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 3, 2021
Both of the Broncos drives in the first quarter drove the length of the field, which was a good sign against a very bad Raiders defense. Denver would take a 10-3 lead into the second quarter.
The Broncos headed into the second quarter with all of the momentum, especially after this forced fumble by Michael Ojemudia. Darren Waller had the first down there, but instead it would be Broncos ball in position for a potential field goal at least.
O.J. forces a fumble! Broncos ball! pic.twitter.com/2OoQeihrYO— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 3, 2021
Instead, Brandon McManus would slightly miss on a 56 yard field goal attempt and all of that momentum would be lost. Derek Carr would give Waller a chance at redemption and he would take it for this 28 yard touchdown reception to tie the game up at 10.
Raiders score a touchdown as Darren Waller catches an endzone shot from the 30. Will Parks in coverage. pic.twitter.com/YrIbpL4JQz— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 3, 2021
The Raiders would keep the momentum going late as they drove down the field in less than two minutes to score a touchdown at the end of the half to take a 17-10 lead into the break.
Denver’s defense reared its ugly head in the third quarter with multiple turnovers. The biggest came on this interception by Justin Simmons, which would lead to a field goal.
Justin Simmons with an interception! pic.twitter.com/q4nEsQRB20— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 3, 2021
The two field goals in the quarter cut the lead to 17-16, but Denver was driving deep into Raiders territory after a fumble by Henry Ruggs.
Melvin Gordon would open up the fourth quarter with a touchdown to get the Broncos first lead since the second quarter.
Melvin Gordon for 6 and the Broncos have the lead! pic.twitter.com/1vcE23BDXc— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 4, 2021
The two-point conversion to a wide open Jerry Jeudy was too easy for the Broncos 24-17 lead.
The Raiders looked like they might get things going early in the fourth as well, but Kareem Jackson got in the way of that dream with an interception. He would jump on a deep in route and return it to the Raider 31 yard line.
Unfortunately for Denver, Drew Lock took a bad sack that knocked them out of field goal range on that drive. That would be the second time in the game that the Broncos had a turnover in field goal range and came away with zero points.
The miscues on offense added up to a breakdown on the defensive side of the ball as the Raiders drove right down the field to score a touchdown to tie things up 24-24 midway through the fourth quarter.
Things were not going well for the Broncos on their next drive backed up on their own eight yard line facing a third and 10. Drew Lock found a wide open Jerry Jeudy who took off and outran the entire field for a 92 yard game-breaking touchdown.
You didn't worry about Jerry Jeudy, right? pic.twitter.com/MHbZuu7PuL— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 4, 2021
The 31-24 lead put the pressure on the Raiders offense with four minutes to go in the game. The Broncos defense had other plans with a third down sack. The Raiders punted away with 2:46 left in the game.
From their own 10 yard line, Melvin Gordon began running hard to close out the game. Poor clock management with multiple runs out of bounds, the Broncos were only able to take the clock down to 1:54 before having to punt it back to the Raiders.
On their first play, Carr hit Zay Jones for a 37 yard gain to the Broncos 40. Two plays later, Carr hit Darren Waller down to the 9 yard line for a first and goal.
Three plays later on fourth down and goal from the one yard line with 23 seconds left in the game. Josh Jacobs would power his way through for the touchdown. Like last year’s season finale, Jon Gruden called for a two point conversion to win the game. They would convert it this time and win the game 32-31.
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