The Las Vegas Raiders continued to pick up yardage on first and second downs, making their third downs very manageable. Early in the second quarter they converted their fourth third down on the day to get just into the fringe of field goal range.
When the Denver Broncos defense did force the Raiders into a third and seven or more, they had a stop, but the second time they had them in that situation Shelby Harris committed a roughing the passer penalty to set the Raiders up inside the Broncos 30 yard line. One play later a completion to Zay Jones setup the Raiders up with a first and goal.
Jonas Griffith had a nice two yard tackle for a loss on first and goal to push the Raiders back to their own ten yard line. However, Derek Carr found Hunter Renfrow for the pitch and catch to put Las Vegas up by a touchdown.
Derek Carr finds Hunter Renfrow on a corner route vs. Kareem Jackson.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 26, 2021
Broncos down 7-0 to the Raiders. pic.twitter.com/OCWZLjojkU
Raiders 7, Broncos 0.
On the Broncos first second quarter possession, Drew Lock found a wide open Jerry Jeudy who turned it upfield for a huge 40 yard gain to the Raiders 45-yard line.
Drew Lock finds a wide open Jerry Jeudy on a deep over. pic.twitter.com/sSZPmm20oX— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 26, 2021
A quick toss outside to Javonte Williams gained 11 yards after he broke two more tackles, but a hands to the face penalty by Garett Bolles negated the positive play and forced a first and 20.
One first and 20, Pat Shurmur went back to his well of inside handoffs that gain a yard. Then on second and 19, a false start penalty made it 2nd and 24. Shurmur again went back to his well of short outside passes on second and really long that gains a couple of yards. Then on 3rd and 20, Lock kept his eyes downfield and found Jeudy for a 14-yard gain to give Brandon McManus a try at a 49-yard field goal.
Raiders 7, Broncos 3.
One area the Broncos defense had struggled to start this game was on third downs. A big play on second down from Jonas Griffith forced a third and 15 that Denver was able to shut down well short of the first down marker to bring out the punt unit for Las Vegas. Denver would take over at their own eight yard line.
Denver would go three and out and the field stayed flipped in the Raiders favor.
The Raiders started their next drive with a quick pass outside to Zay Jones for seven yards, then on second down a completion to Josh Jacobs lost the football at the Raiders 40 yard line where the Mike Purcell was able to recover to give Denver the ball with excellent field position at the two minute warning.
Gotta appreciate @astronaut's hustle here. #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/Kc15jomL8t— Ryan Greene (@RyanCBS4) December 26, 2021
Drew Lock, who has look good in the first half, found Courtland Sutton for a quick eight yards on first down, but then Melvin Gordon was completely annihilated in the backfield for a four yard loss. Jeudy then had a terrible drop on third down to bring Brandon McManus back out for a rather long 55-yard field goal attempt.
Raiders 7, Broncos 6.
The Broncos were 7-0 when leading at halftime and 0-7 when losing at halftime, so things were looking bleak on that front. Bradley Chubb then leaped in the air to tip and intercept a Carr pass returning it all the way to the one yard line with less than 20 seconds left in the half.
Bradley Chubb almost scores after picking off Derek Carr!!! pic.twitter.com/XMace9qMuH— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 26, 2021
Javonte Williams will carry the ball in from the one yard line for the touchdown and the halftime lead.
Broncos 13, Raiders 7.