Raiders’ Offense Dominates to Defeat Division Rivals the Denver Broncos

  • October 17, 2021, 05:39 PM
  • Jordan Anders-McClain
Raiders’ Offense Dominates to Defeat Division Rivals the Denver Broncos Courtesy: Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake (23) rushes for an 18-yard touchdown during the regular season away game against the Denver Broncos.
The Las Vegas Raiders traveled to the Mile High City to face division rivals, the Denver Broncos, escaping with a 34-24 win. The Raiders would end a two-game losing streak to advance to 4-2 for the season.

Raiders went into the game facing adversity as news hit last week of head coach Jon Gruden resigning. Raiders assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia was named interim head coach earlier this week. This would mark the first time in his 38 seasons as a coach, including the past 20 years in the NFL, he would work as a head coach.

 

“The best part for me was to be able to get on the grass,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said in a press conference. “The worst part for me was figuring out the headset.”

 

Minutes into the game, on third-and-2, Derek Carr connected with Henry Ruggs III for a 48-yard touchdown pass. This marked the first time since week 11 of last year the Raiders scored on their opening drive. This also marked Ruggs’ fourth touchdown of the season, all of which were over 40 yard receptions.

 

On the Broncos opening drive, Teddy Bridgewater threw a short pass to receiver Tim Patrick for his tenth career touchdown. The Broncos had not scored on an opening drive since week 13 of the 2019 season.

 

The Raiders’ next drive would end short as Carr was unable to find any open targets.  Kicker Daniel Carlson added a 50-yard field goal to put Las Vegas up 10-7.

 

As the Broncos' attempted to go for it on fourth down at their own 38-yard line, Raiders’ Brandon Facyson recorded his first career interception in just his second game with Las Vegas.

 

Starting off the second quarter, Carlson missed a 43-yard field goal attempt that hit the crossbar, Raiders still holding a three point lead as they moved back to defense.

 

Back on offense, fans at Empower Field called out their infamous “IN-COM-PLETE” chant. Carr was unable to move his offense down the field, handing the ball back to Bridgwater mid-way through the second quarter.

 

To end the Broncos’ drive, Raiders’ defensive end Maxx Crosby sacked Bridgewater on third down. With that sack, Crosby became just the eighth player in franchise history with at least 20 sacks in his first three seasons in the NFL. 

 

Back on offense, Raiders are shut down by the Broncos’ defense, going three and out. Raiders A.J Cole would go on to punt a career high 71-yarder touchback, Broncos unable to score would set the Raiders offense up with a minute left in the second quarter.

 

With thirty seconds left in the first half, Carr led an 82-yard drive, ending in a 31-yard touchdown pass to Kenyan Drake for his first touchdown as a Raider. Las Vegas would go into halftime with a 17-7 lead. 

 

With the momentum still on the Raiders side after halftime, Carr handed the ball off to Drake who ran the ball 18-yards for his second touchdown of the game, creating a 17-point lead for Las Vegas. 

 

On the Broncos next drive, they were able to make it to the redzone for the first time in the game. However, they were unable to score after an unsuccessful challenge trying to overrule an incomplete touchdown pass to Noah Fant. Shortly after, Broncos kicker Brandon McManus made a 32-yard field goal making it a two-score game.

 

The Raiders’ defense continued to add pressure as defensive tackle Soloman Thomas punched the ball from Bridgewater’s grip, causing a fumble and Bridgewater’s second turnover of the game. 

 

The Raiders' offense utilized the turnover by turning it into yet another touchdown. At the start of the drive, Carr launched a 40-yard pass to Ruggs setting the offense up at the 3-yard line. On the next play, Josh Jacobs would run it in for his first touchdown of the game, putting Las Vegas up 31-10 going into the final 15 minutes. 

 

The Broncos answered back with a touchdown of their own to start the final quarter, after 12 plays and a 75-yard drive, Bridgewater threw a short pass to Courtland Sutton to put them behind by only two scores.

 

On third-and-5, Raiders’ receiver Bryan Edwards would make a career-long 51-yard one handed catch from Derek Carr on the next drive, setting up the Raiders in the red zone. A failed play fake by the Raiders would send Carlson to kick a 30-yard field goal, Las Vegas would go up 34-17.
 

In the final five minutes, the Broncos offense finds no luck as Raiders 43rd pick of the 2021 draft Trevon Moehrig gets his first career interception off a deep pass from Bridgewater intended for receiver Kendall Hinton.

 

The Raiders offense was unable to extend their lead.  The Broncos offense took the field and went on a 86-yard drive resulting in a touchdown by Fant to put them behind 10 points with less than two minutes of the game.

 

Denver’s special team ran an onside kick, and successfully recovered it. Their attempted comeback was stopped as Bridewater’s intended pass to Tim Patrick was intercepted by Raiders safety Johnathan Abram, sealing the victory for Las Vegas 34-24.

 

Raiders have now won 5 of the last 6 games vs Denver extending their all -time series record against the Broncos to 68-54-2. This was the first time a Raiders head coach won their first game on the job since former Raiders’ head coach Hue Jackson in week 1 of the 2011 season.

 

“We haven’t had a problem with effort at all,” Bisaccia states after Sunday’s win. “They just came together today and put it all together. We were plus four on turnovers, we had good field position...thought we did a good job on drives, first drive of the first half and first drive of the second half.”

 

The Raiders will return home next Sunday to host Jalen Hurts and the 2-4 Philadelphia Eagles at Allegiant Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. Catch the game on FOX.

Jordan Anders-McClain

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