Broncos beat Raiders in "tale of two halves"

Despite being winless this year and having lost 14 games in a row dating back to last season, the Oakland Raiders have played well against some tough teams as of late.

That trend continued in the first half as they took on the Denver Broncos on Sunday, but in what head coach Tony Sparano called another "tale of two halves," they ultimately lost 41-17 to drop to 0-9 on the season.

After winning the coin toss and deferring to Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense, the Raiders defense set the tone first when second-year cornerback D.J. Hayden picked off the likely future Hall of Fame quarterback.

On second down, Manning looked for his wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders but threw it high and Hayden tipped it to himself and came away with the pick.

Rookie quarterback Derek Carr and the offense were able to get down the field a little bit, but ultimately had to settle for a 41-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski for the early 3-0 lead.

Manning would get the Broncos into the Raiders red zone on the next drive, largely by picking on Raiders cornerback Tarell Brown. But on third down, Manning found Demaryius Thomas for a short screen where the Raiders tackled him short, forcing them to settle for a field goal.

The Raiders would retake the lead following another Denver field goal that put them up on 6-3. Once again, it was the defense that set the tone for the Raiders offense. Defensive end Justin Tuck made an amazing play when he tipped a ball from Peyton Manning and dove to make the interception, giving the Raiders offense the ball on Denver’s 12-yard line.

Just three plays later, Carr found his young wide receiver Brice Butler with a beautiful pass and catch for the touchdown in the back of the end zone to put the Raiders back up 10-6.

But the Broncos would quickly change that around, thanks to an interception from Carr and some horrendous tackling from the Raiders defense. Carr’s pick gave the ball to the Broncos near midfield, and Manning found running back C.J. Anderson on a swing pass and Miles Burris, Khalil Mack and Charles Woodson all missed tackles before the first-down stck allowing Anderson to go 51 yards for the touchdown.

But the Broncos still weren’t done for the first half after a Raiders three-and-out gave Manning and company the ball back with 1:40 to play in the second quarter.

Manning used that time to drive 62 yards in four plays, which resulted in a 32-yard touchdown pass to Sanders over Hayden.

The Broncos would capitalize on another Raiders turnover early in the third quarter. Carr was pressured and had his pass end up in offensive lineman’s Khalif Barnes’ hands, who took it up field and fumbled the ball over to the Broncos. Manning needed just three plays to find his tight end Julius Thomas for another touchdown, taking the 27-10 lead.

With Carr and the Raiders offense struggling to get anything going, Manning found his rhythm when they faced a fourth and one. Charles Woodson bit on a play-fake and The Sheriff found Thomas who took it 32 yards for another touchdown.

The Raiders rookie quarterback’s struggles would continue late in the third quarter, when he threw a ball right to Broncos safety T.J. Ward who intercepted him at the Raiders 32-yard line.

Manning would once again take advantage of the Raiders miscue with his second touchdown strike to Sanders, this time from 15 yards out.

Carr and the Raiders offense would get a late touchdown score on an 18-yard strike to tight end Mychal Rivera, to bring the final score to 41-17.

The Raiders head out back on the road to take on the San Diego Chargers next week, still looking for their first win of the season.

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