Denver Broncos Squander Lead, Fall at Home to Raiders, 15-12


The Denver Broncos let a 12-point lead slip away, as quarterback Derek Carr led a furious comeback to lead the Oakland Raiders to a win over the Denver Broncos by a final score of 15-12.

The Denver Broncos led the Oakland Raiders by a 12-0 score at the half. The Broncos defense led the way, limiting the Raiders to -12 offensive yards in the first half (yes, you read that correctly). The second half, on the other hand, was an entirely different story.

-= Related: Ronnie Hillman to Start at RB vs. Raiders =-

The Oakland Raiders defense buckled down on the Denver Broncos, preventing the home team from scoring the entire second half of play. Raider’s defensive end Khalil Mack to matters into his own hands, and sacked Denver Broncos’ quarterback Brock Osweiler a total of five times on Sunday — including a sack of Osweiler in the Denver endzone for a safety in the third quarter, trimming the Denver Broncos lead to 12-9.

Big drops by Denver Broncos receivers did not help matters as the home team tried to rally for a victory. A huge drop by tight end Vernon Davis with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter would have continued a drive, but instead, led to the Broncos demise. Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas also had some big drops, most notably one in the Oakland endzone that would have given the Denver Broncos a touchdown. Thomas dropped another pass late in the game that would have given them a first down. 

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The Broncos offense was not able to find their footing in this game, as their collective 12 points in the first half came from field goals by kicker Brandon McManus. As Broncos fans know, the offense is not the strength of the team, but against a team like the Raiders (whom the Denver Broncos had not lost to since 2011), the defense is usually enough to carry the team to victory.

The Denver Broncos could not sustain their good defensive play from the first half, as Oakland began the third quarter with an 80-yard drive, capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Seth Roberts. The Raiders began the fourth quarter with another drive that resulted in a touchdown from Derek Carr to Mychal Rivera. That fourth quarter touchdown gave the Raiders a lead that they would not relinquish.

The Denver Broncos had every opportunity to retake a lead in the fourth quarter, but squandered key opportunities to pull out an important win. It’s easy to blame a litany of injuries going into the game, but in the end, sloppy play led to a disappointing loss.

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QB Brock Osweiler did not play poorly; but also did not perform exceptionally well. Osweiler threw for 308 yards on 35-51 passing for 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The run game was non-existent as well. Ronnie Hillman, starting in place of the injured C.J. Anderson, carried the ball 12 times for only 20 yards, but did accumulate 41 yards on receptions. Demaryius Thomas recorded 10 receptions for 95 yards on Sunday; but once again, no touchdowns for the Denver Broncos’ receiver.

While Sunday’s loss to the Oakland Raiders does not truly diminish the Denver Broncos’ playoff chances or their chance of clinching the AFC West, they did miss a golden opportunity to take control of one of the top two seeds in the AFC, as the Cincinnati Bengals fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Next: Denver Broncos: Trevathan & Ward Ruled Out vs. Raiders

With the Kansas City Chiefs winning today, they are still two games out of the division lead; but with two important games in the next two weeks against the Bengals and the Steelers, the Denver Broncos loss to the Raiders exposed some glaring flaws in the makeup of this team, and makes us wonder if they are capable of taking out the likes of Cincinnati or even New England again in the playoffs. Stay tuned.