Sep 23, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) catches a pass as Oakland Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins (21) defends during the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 37-21. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos 37 Oakland Raiders 21: Raiders play well, but not good enough on Monday night

The Oakland Raiders brought what was close to a full effort on Monday night in Denver, sadly it was very clear that wouldn’t be enough at Mile High as Peyton Manning continued his tear through the NFL in the opening month of 2013 to beat the Oakland Raiders 37-21.

Manning went 32 for 37 for 374 yards on Monday night, putting the Broncos up 27-7 before halftime. In the second half the Oakland defense would do a better job of keeping Manning out of the end zone, but despite Terrelle Pryor’s best efforts it was not to be for the Raiders in their first showcase under the national spotlight under their new quarterback.

Denver was already up to a 17-0 lead before the Raiders could blink, scoring 10 points before Oakland could even muster a first down in what was a momentum stifling performance from the Broncos.

At the end of the day the Broncos blend of talented receivers was simply too much for the Raiders defense to handle. Whenever Denver needed a first down it appeared to be there for Manning as Jason Tarver had what appeared to be no choice but to leave space for Manning to work with.

In the second half the defense would tighten up, forcing two turnovers and even getting a sack on Peyton Manning from Lamarr Houston for the first of two fumble recoveries after halftime. Denver would only score 10 points in the second half, allowing Oakland to claim the least amount of points allowed against the Peyton Manning offense this season.

The offense also stepped up considerably in the second half, refusing to allow the game to get out of hand and preventing an embarrassing blowout. Darren McFadden hit Marcel Reece on a running back pass for a touchdown and Terrelle Pryor drove the Raiders all the way to the one yard line before seeing the drive stall short on a 4th and goal drop from Denarius Moore that once again exposed Moore’s penchant for dropping huge catches.

Pryor went 9 for 28 for 281 yards, over 70 of which came by the way of a Denarius Moore touchdown pass that was the lone highlight of the first half, while contributing 36 yards and most importantly zero turnovers in the loss. Still it was a big hit to the head suffered on the drive that stopped short on the Broncos goal line that turned the attention from another impressive night of growth from the Raiders quarterback.

Pryor was crushed by two Broncos tacklers on the one yard line after receiving a direct quarterback draw, the hit was to the head and was not a penalty under the NFL’s rules. After the game he was assessed as having a concussion by’s Scott Bair.

Pryor was replaced by Matt Flynn, who led the Raiders to a touchdown prior to the end of the game after  Montee Ball fumble, but the Raiders will be hoping that Pryor can return before a crucial home game against the Washington Redskins that could determine the fate of the Raiders 2013 season with Oakland trying to hover around the .500 mark for as long as possible. If they want to keep the playoff dream alive, they will need their field general to have a speedy recovery this week and pass the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Despite the expected loss at the hands of the rival Broncos, Raider fans should be able to sleep well at night knowing that they have a team that can stick with Denver and at least make things look respectable. If Moore doesn’t drop a sure touchdown pass from Pryor in the fourth quarter it is a nine point loss for the Raiders, an effort that would likely beat 80% of teams in the NFL. They just happened to play the best team in the AFC on a national stage on the road in Terrelle Pryor’s fourth NFL game. A scenario that was always going to be a tough ask for the Raiders and they gave an effort and got a result that was quite frankly to be expected.

Next are a string of winnable games that will define the Raiders season. Four of five games at home will see the Raiders play the Redskins, Chargers, Steelers and Eagles at the Coliseum with a tough Oct. 13 date at Arrowhead with the Chiefs the only daunting task over the next month for Dennis Allen. If Oakland can manage a 3-2 or 4-1 record (which is possible) the Raiders can enter the month of November at around .500 going into games with the Giants/Texans/Titans/Cowboys to finish the month, there is a chance that Oakland can still turn things around and realize the potential around a hard working squad. To do so they will first have to hope Terrelle Pryor is healthy and put a tough loss to the Broncos behind them. A lesson that should serve as a motivating tool that the Raiders still have to work to get to the Broncos level. Tonight we learned that they may not be as far off as we thought before the start of the season.

Game Notes 

  • Denarius Moore was the Raiders best receiver on Monday night, but another batch of unfortunate drops tell the story of what Moore’s career is destined to be defined as. He is a player that will get you some big plays, but they will come at the cost of him letting you down on a few makable catches here and there. When he gets 73 yard touchdown catches it easy to forgive him for making a few drops.
  • Sio Moore couldn’t pass the NFL’s concussion protocol one day after being added to the Raiders injury list. Moore tweeted that he would play, but a reported pre-flight car accident kept him out of his first MNF game in one of the weirder injury stories on the weekend.
  • Speaking of concussions, Tracy Porter was also confirmed to have one after leaving the game at the end of the third quarter. He is another player that Jason Tarver will hope can recover quick as Moore and Porter will be crucial players against the Redskins if they can return.


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