|Date of game: 9/30/2012
Recap: Denver vs. Oakland
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Peyton Manning threw for 338 yards and three touchdown passes in a near-flawless performance, and the Denver Broncos erupted for 27 unanswered points in the second half to record a 37-6 rout over the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Manning completed a crisp 30-of-38 passes in his most impressive outing of the offseason acquisition's four-game tenure with the Broncos, while Willis McGahee rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown to help Denver (2-2) halt a two-game losing streak.
"He's getting more comfortable," Broncos head coach John Fox said of Manning. "Let's not forget he didn't play all season and probably more than a year, and this is a new team, a new coaching staff, a new city, a new field...a new everything for him. The type of guy he is, he's just going to get better and better."
Demaryius Thomas added 103 receiving yards on five catches and Eric Decker had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos, who piled up 503 total yards and also ended a string of four straight Raider victories in Denver in the series.
Oakland (1-3), which was coming off a 34-31 come-from-behind triumph over Pittsburgh last week for former Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen's first win as head coach, managed just 237 total yards and 12 first downs, with star running back Darren McFadden held to 34 yards on 13 carries by a swarming Broncos' stop unit.
Carson Palmer finished with 202 yards on 19-of-34 passing for the Raiders in their final contest before a Week 5 bye.
"They outcoached us, they outplayed us, they beat us in every phase of the game," said Allen. "There's not a lot positive we can take from it. We've got to go back and go to work, we've got the bye week coming up, so we've got to evaluate what we're doing schematically, what we're doing personnel-wise, and we've got to come up with a way to play better."
Manning was on point right from the outset, completing 6-of-8 passes on an 11- play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the game's initial possession that the four- time league MVP capped with a 22-yard bullet to Joel Dreessen. Just prior to the strike, Manning connected with Jacob Tamme for an 8-yard gain on a 4th- and-1 from the Oakland 30.
The Raiders answered with a 9-play, 60-yard march that culminated in Sebastian Janikowski's 38-yard field goal with 6:47 left in the first quarter. A 31-yard completion from Palmer to fullback Marcel Reece led to the kick.
Manning would march the Broncos downfield on the ensuing drive, however, hitting Thomas for a 23-yard gain into Oakland territory two plays before Andre Caldwell scampered 14 yards on an end around to put Denver at the Raiders' 21-yard line.
The Broncos eventually had a 1st-and-goal inside the 5-yard line, but Oakland's defense forced a pair of Manning incompletions and the Broncos settled for a Matt Prater 21-yard field goal and a 10-3 advantage after one quarter.
Denver had two other chances to increase the margin in the first half, but Thomas fumbled deep in Oakland territory on a 40-yard catch-and-run and Prater overthrew offensive lineman Zane Beadles on a fake field goal attempt with just over three minutes left before intermission.
Following that stop, Palmer hit Denarius Moore for 37 yards on a deep pass to set up Janikowski's 24-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 10-6 at the break.
That would be as close as the Raiders would get, however. The Broncos would score touchdowns on their first three drives of the second half to pull away and spoil Allen's return to Denver, where he served as defensive coordinator for the Broncos' 2011 run to an AFC West title.
Manning went 5-for-5 for 60 yards on a 9-play, 79-yard sequence that ended with a 17-yard delivery to Decker that increased Denver's margin to 11 points early in the third quarter. Following David Bruton's partial block of a Shane Lechler punt that resulted in a 2-yard gain at the Oakland 18, McGahee carried four times and punched it in from two yards out on the last attempt for a 24-6 Broncos' lead.
The Denver defense forced another three-and-out on the subsequent series, and a 25-yard Thomas catch and 24-yard McGahee run set the stage for Manning's 14- yard touchdown pass to Lance Ball with 3:46 left in the third quarter.
"I thought we got off to a good start today for the first time," said Manning. "A good start to the first quarter and the third quarter. That's something we really emphasized all week in practice was coming out of the blocks early and having good execution."
Oakland's offense continued to stall over the remainder of the contest, and Prater hit on field goals of 43 and 53 yards in the final 13 minutes to close out the scoring.Game Notes
Oakland had won five of the six most recent meetings between the longtime
rivals and hadn't lost in Denver since the 2007 season ... McFadden had rushed
for over 100 yards in each of his last three matchups with Denver ... The
Broncos improved to 17-4 in home games in September since 2002 ... The Raiders
played without wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who sustained a concussion
in last week's win over Pittsburgh, as well as cornerback Shawntae Spencer
(foot) and offensive tackle Khalif Barnes (groin) ... Oakland has now been
outscored 55-7 in the third quarter this season.