Raiders jump on Broncos early, win title

The Oakland Raiders won the AFC West title Sunday with their 28-16 win over the Broncos, who fell into a quick 21 point deficit and were unable to close the gap despite a second half comeback.

Starting quarterback Brian Griese threw a couple of first half interceptions which led to Raiders scores. Griese left the game late in the first half after re-injuring his leg on a sack by Bill Romanowski. Griese was replaced by Steve Beuerlein, who led the Broncos on an eight play 91 yard drive late in the first half which culminated in a 25 yard Jason Elam field goal.

Beuerlein led the Broncos back with two second-half touchdown drives, including Clinton Portis' 2-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 21-16. The Broncos failed on a two point conversion.

Denver failed to capitalize on a couple of second half Raider fumbles as well as a dropped interception attempt which could have put them in the lead.

Oakland expanded its lead to 28-16 when Zack Crockett scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run to make the score 28-16. The Raiders drove 57 yards in six plays.

Denver turned the ball over again when Beuerlein threw an interception to the Raiders' Eric Barton with 5:38 left. The Broncos had one more possession with 2:20 left in the game, but were unable to mount a drive and turned the ball over on downs.

The Broncos record now stands at 8-7 with a chance at a wild-card playoff spot still a possibility if they prevail over the Arizona Cardinals next weekend.

Click on the links below to read game recaps and stats.

Struggles at Start Painted Broncos Into Corner - - Andrew Mason
Dec. 22, 2002 - OAKLAND -- Early in the quarter, Brian Griese completed a 7-yard, second-down pass to wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. It was a toss that allowed Denver to cross midfield for the first time. Unfortunately, it was the second quarter when this first foray into Oakland territory took place. By that time, Oakland had scored three touchdowns on four possessions, had grabbed a 21-0 lead, had amassed a 9-2 edge in first downs and a 125-37 edge in total yardage and had seen quarterback Rich Gannon complete nine of 12 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Game Center -

Raiders top Broncos, win AFC West again-
OAKLAND, Calif. (Dec. 22, 2002) -- The Oakland Raiders affirmed their dominance of the AFC West by staying just as cool and confident as their record-setting quarterback.

Oakland 28, Denver 16- USA
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Al Davis is probably delighted that the Oakland Raiders clinched their third straight AFC West title at the expense of Mike Shanahan. After losing 12 of 14 games against their former coach over the previous seven years, the Raiders completed a sweep of the Denver Broncos with a 28-16 victory.

Click here to view a photo gallery from the game.

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