Full game stats here.Well, it was very close to being a nice upset game, a chance for a young team on their way up to show that they could run with the bigger (if somewhat older) dogs. And for the first half, as well as Denver’s first possession of the second half, the Raiders did just that.
After that, not so much. From Austin Howard’s completely whiffed chip block that left Derek Carr wide open for a sack-fumble, to Seth Roberts misreading a Carr pass late in the 4th quarter, leaving Chris Harris to take the pick-six to the house, the offense choked on a very winnable game. Throw in a pair of missed field goals by Sebastian Janikowski, in a game that ended up being lost by six points, and it was that kind of day for the Raiders as they head into the bye week.
But Oakland also showed that they could run with the big dogs, holding Peyton Manning to zero touchdowns and two interceptions, both by the ageless wonder Charles Woodson, who amazingly had never intercepted Manning in the 18 years the two have been in the NFL. Denver’s defense is probably the best overall in the league, a veritable buzzsaw that gives grief to every team they face. And for a couple of missed field goal attempts and a bad throw on a bad route, the Raiders might actually have pulled off a huge upset.
So even with a 2-3 record going into the bye, there is cause for real optimism. Aside from the season opener debacle against a Bengals team that is still undefeated, the Raiders have been in every game, are playing competitively and with confidence. They look focused and prepared, and are executing well for the most part. This is just a bump on a long road, they will continue to improve at this rate, with just a few minor tweaks.