Pregame Notes -
Chad Mustard, who's been on and off the Broncos roster four times in the past month, is officially back on board, re-signing with the team late Saturday afternoon. To make room for the tight end turned offensive tackle, the team released injured tight end Stephan Alexander.
Ben Hamilton will sit for the second straight week - other inactives include rookie DE Tim Crowder, RB Andre Hall, OT Ryan Harris, WR Brian Clark, DL Alvin McKinley LB Jamie Winborn and CB Domonique Foxworth
Still no word on whether or not Culpepper will get the start - Josh McCown is curretly listed as active on the roster.
After catching the Saints - Tampa Bay, Cincy - Cleveland and Indy - Titans score, I decided it might be better for my mental health NOT to check and see how I'm doing on this week's picks - this is gonna hurt...
Kickoff is is just around the corner - stay tuned for the madness....
1st Quarter -
Raiders take the kick five yards deep and take it at the twenty. McCown starts at QB - sweet rush by Lamont Jordan - good for 19-yards - from that point the drive fizzles out and Oakland is forced to punt from their own 39 - Broncos take it at the 19.
Travis Henry picks up 11 on the ground - Cutler hits Brandon Marshall for another first down - picks up 16-yards. Henry again - hits midfield Cutler goes long to Selvin Young - just out of reach - 3rd and four and Cutler fumbles it - bad snap from Nalen and Sauerbrun is set to punt -BEAUTIFUL 53-yarder traps the Raiders at their own 3.
Raiders are going nowhere - Broncos stuff the line - third and ten and McCown puts it up for grabs - picked by Champ Bailey - Denver takes over on the Oakland thirty.
Cutler finds Brandon Stokley for nineteen yards and the Broncos move it inside the twenty. Broncos keep banging it with Henry on the ground picks up a few - Cutler threads it between to defenders - ball slips through Javon Walkers fingers - Cutler to Marshall moves it to the six and it's first and goal.
QB scramble to the one - brought back on an illegal formation penalty - moves it back to the nine and it‘s second and goal - Cutler finds Stokley in the end zone for an easy six points - Stokley's first TD as a Bronco - Passing game is coming together - credit the defense for the short field - Broncos take a 7-0 lead with about five minutes left in the first.
McCown's out for his third series - it's not pretty but the Raiders are slowly moving it into Broncos territory - first quarter comes to a close.
2nd Quarter -
McCown keeps it rolling - not bad for a guy that's got a busted bone in his hand... maybe I spoke too soon Broncos get a pick
Wow - Denver grabs a turnover and the Gods intervene - lighting forces both teams off the field and we take a break due to weather - can't honestly remember the last time this has happened at Invesco if ever - then again my mind is pretty fried from tanking on my picks this week - so what do I know…
Back after the break…
Ok kids - recess is over - 24 minutes later the Broncos take it - Cutler hits Stokley again and moves it to the 47 - Cutler airs it out again - perfect pass to a guy wearing the wrong uniform - Raiders Kirk Morrison snags the pick and return it near midfield - Cutler completely misread the play.
Raiders continue to move the ball - McCown scrambles for twenty - Oakland moves it to the 28 where Sebastian Janikowski split's the uprights with 10:26 left in the quarter - Broncos lead 7-3.
Broncos return to the ground game - Selvin Young busts loose for 40 - this kid exploded - it's first and ten from the 39 - Cutler to Walker is good for 22-yards - Cutler follows up with another shot to Walker - incomplete but the Raiders get tagged with interference - ball is down at the four - it's Sapp to the rescue - Cecil takes it in for his first career touchdown during the regular season - Beautiful drive after the INT - nice composure for Cutler. Broncos lead 14-3.
Sauerbrun's a rock - kick sails close to the county line - Raiders take it at the twenty and go nowhere fast - three and out and the punting unit takes the field.
Denver takes the kick and continues the dance - Henry carries for 23-yards it to the Raiders 13 - Wicked stiff-arm to the face of Stuart Schweigert - drive stalls short of a TD and Mr. Automatic (except for last week) splits it down the middle for his first field goal of the day - Broncos stretch the lead 17-3 with twenty-one seconds on the clock.
Winding it down - it's time to fight for a spot in the Press Box buffet line - if I'm not back in 15 min. please notify authorities (remember this is a Raiders game).
3rd Quarter -
Broncos take it at the twenty and continue to roll - Cutler moves it nine-yards hitting Walker - Cecil Sapp adds 16 and moves it out to the 45. A couple of short passes amount to nothing then Cutler finds Marshall down to the 36 - Travis Henry moves it to the twenty - holding penalty moves it back five and on third and fourteen from the 24 Cutler hits Marshall for the score - unfortunately an offensive interference penalty calls it off - Mr. Automatic comes out and makes me swear to never ever use that nickname again - Elam shanks it and the Broncos come up empty. Oakland takes over trailing 17-3.
These guys are actually playing like they want it - Raiders take control at the 35 - McCown engineers a seven play 65-yard drive hitting Jerry Porter on a 46-yard score - momentum sure is fickle… Raider close the gap 17-10.
OUCH… on-side kick for the Raiders couldn't have played out any better - Oakland takes it at the 42-yard line. Back to back penalties and an eight yard sack by Elvis Dumerville put an end to pain - Raiders are forced to punt.
Broncos are floundering - Hixon takes a fair catch at the seven - Cutler to Marshall is good for seventeen but it's brought back by offensive holding - this is getting ugly. Third quarter comes to a close.
4th. Quarter -
There's 75,000 people praying for another lightening delay - Broncos are getting pounded on both sides - Cutler gets sacked in the end zone for a safety - Shanahan challenges but it doesn't work - Raiders cut the lead 17-12 and Sauerbrun gets set to punt.
Raiders take it at the 31 - seven plays later they've only advanced it to the 47 and Shane Lechler is set to punt - Broncos take it at their own seven - I think my kidneys are starting to swell.
Cutler to Walker is good for nineteen - Cutler to Marshall moves it up seventeen - Henry carries for a couple - pass to Sapp incomplete bringing up third and eight from the 45. Cutler drops back and fires off his second interception of the game - Thomas Howard returns it 44-yards for a Raider touchdown - two point conversion caps it and Oakland takes the lead 20-17.
If Shanahan gets smacked by Lane Kiffin I swear I'll cut my jugular.
Broncos fight back - this drive is taking forever - but at least it's progress. Fifteen plays takes it to the two yard line where Elam redeems himself with a chip shot to tie it up at 20-20. How the odds makers could have this one tagged at 9 ½ in Denver's favor is beyond me… why I picked the Broncos and gave up the 9 ½ is beyond me. I'm looking for a shard of glass as I type...
Raiders take it at the 26 McCown moves it to the 41 and airs it out for Porter - INCOMPLETE - he had Bly beat by an easy five yards. Back to the same play - INT by Bly and the Broncos take over with fourteen seconds and no chance in the world for a score. Game heads to overtime.
Broncos take first posession - drive shows about as much enthusiasm as Britney's last performance - it's three and out at the 28 and Sauerbrun's set to kick.
What… me worry?
Lamont Jordan breaks it for 33 quick ones - moves it to the 40-yard line - INCOMPLETE to Porter - 2nd and ten - back to back runs moves it down to the Broncos 38 where Janikowski is set to end it all - 50+ yarder is straight down the middle - WAIT - the Mastermind calls a time out seconds before the snap and it's brought back for a second shot… kick BOUNCES OFF THE UPRIGHT - NO GOOD…
Cutler takes over at the 42 with a short field and a shot at the highlight reel - Henry up the middle for one - short pass to Mike Bell brings down seven - Henry busts it for 13 - Henry tags on another 7 - Bell up the middle for three - Henry takes a step back - Cutler to Marshall ignites the crowd - twenty-two yard pick up moves it to the Raiders six-yard line - 5:52 left on the clock and Jason Elam once again proves he's one of the best in the business - chip shot field goal and the Broncos escape with a 23-20 win over the Raiders in overtime…
I guess I can start breathing.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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