(Same amount of work, but it does allow a little extra drinking time during the time outs).
For those keeping track here's the Broncos gameday inactives – Tom Brandstater, QB (3rd QB), Kenny McKinley, WR, Spencer Larsen, ILB/FB, Seth Olsen, OL, Chris Baker, DL, Brandon Gorin, T, Brandon Lloyd, WR and Jarvis Moss, OLB/DE…
Kickoff is set – security's in place and the Black Hole's ready to Shake it Up…
1st Half News and Notes
After watching the Raiders opening drive – its no wonder the game was blacked out. After watching the Broncos opening drive – Oakland should be thankful it was blacked out… Raiders "D" has more gaps than Michael Strahan's teeth – but they did manage to stuff the run on 4th and goal at the one – even Hillis couldn't push it in on this one – its another red zone melt down on the Broncos side.
Raiders take over at the one and Russell lets it fly from the end zone – end result is a Broncos INT thanks to Renaldo Hill – Six plays later Brandon Marshall makes his presence known hauling in a 2-yard strike from KO. Broncos take an early 7-0 lead.
Most improved aspect of the McDaniels regime – Denver's revitalized "D" – forces a second turnover on the Raiders third possession – this one results in a 48-yard field goal Prater drills down the center… Quarter comes to a close with the Broncos holding a 10-0 lead… I can't imagine the pain of being a Raiders fan right now – then again, from the looks of it - most Raiders fans aren't feeling any pain at this stage.
Raiders finally start the engines… 12-plays, 56-yards and it's Sebastian Janikowski kicking it from the dirt – 48-yards straight down the middle – Raiders light up the scoreboard with a whopping 3 points… Crowd goes crazy – from the looks on their faces you'd think they were giving away free beer.
Orton counters – nice mix of ground and air attack – Correll Buckhalter breaks a big one godd for 34-yards into Raiders territory. Gaffney grabs some of the spotlight with a sweet 15-yard grab moving it into the red zone at the two minute warning… On paper the Broncos are killing – but can you really judge stats when you're playing against what's widely considered one of the worst teams in the league?
Then again, how much confidence can you have when you can't push it through from the five on two first half possessions – settling for a pair of field goals… 13-3 Broncos lead and I'm actually disappointed they couldn't pull the trigger twice in the red zone… that dance won't work next week against Dallas… Props to the Broncos "D" and Ed Hoculi for spoiling any chance of making it an easy halftime – Russell to Miller deep ball, which would have put the Raiders within field goal range, is ruled incomplete – officials replay shows one foot our of bounds. – Okland can't buy a break today… Broncos hold it 13-3 as the first half comes to a close…
2nd Half News and Notes
Wouldn't you love to see an entire episode of Cops dedicated to all the excitement in the Black Hole?
Typical Raiders mentality – Richard Seymour draws the flag for attempting to rip out Ryan Clady's hair… doesn't really matter – Broncos bust out strong on their first drive of the second half – 8 plays, 80-yards and Knowshon Moreno graqabs his first career NFL touchdown… You can almost hear the handcuffs tighten as Denver pulls out a 20-3 lead with just under eleven minutes to go in the third… Raiders subsequent drive fizzles after they move it out to the 50 - but catch a huge break when the Broncos cough it up deep in their own territory off a Buckhalter fumble – Denver's first fumble of the season. Raiders ball on the Broncos 16…. Let's see what they've got – ok, not much - two plays later the Raiders gift-wrap it for Brian Dawkins who picks it up on the six. You almost feel sorry for Oakland at this point –keep in mind – I said ‘almost.'
Denver's winding it down in the third and they're making a move – Moreno and Buckhalter are tearing it up on the ground – team marches 88-yards with seemingly no resistance but still can't knock it in once they get within the ten – Prater drills his third FG of the game to start off the 4th and the Broncos open up a 23-3 lead in the Raiders' own backyard… that's gotta hurt…
I'll be honest – the rest of the game was an exercise in futility for the Silver and Black – For the third game in a row Denver improved on both sides of the ball – but it remains to be seen what they can do against teams like Dallas, New England and the Giants. It's kind of like the big brother who kicks the crap out of his little brother - then gets thoroughly pummeled when he tackles someone his own size… Key Stats: The Broncos' defense has allowed just 16 points (1 TD, 3 FG) in its first three games to record the lowest total points allowed through the first three games of a season in club history.
Denver has posted eight takeaways (5 interceptions, 3 fumbles) in three games to register a +6 turnover margin and is only allowing 214.7 yards per game (78.3 rushing, 136.3 passing).
Correll Buckhalter led the club with 14 rushes for 108 yards (7.7 avg.). He entered today's game ranked second in the NFL in yards per rush (7.2). His 34-yard run in the second quarter was the fifth-longest rush of his career and his 23-yarder in the third quarter was his 20th career rush of 20 or more yards. Buckhalter leads the team with 230 rushing yards on the season (31-230, 7.4 avg.)
Enough for the stats – sweet win for the Broncos – but I'll actually start to be impressed when they slap up these type of number over the next ten games of 2009…
Still – it's always nice to stick it to Al Davis and the inmates on their own turf…. especially after the last few seasons. You may now commence the drinking in Lodo…
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-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 and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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