The Broncos were supposed to have the most dominant defense in the league; as such, it was a bit of a surprise when they lost so resoundingly to the Raiders. Of course, people care more about Donald Penn’s tantrum than they do the NFL odds and analysis of the game.
Yet, it was quite the impressive showdown; and you would have expected the Raiders to celebrate their pending success. But, with 7:09 on the clock, Penn’s tantrum manifested the creative differences swirling behind the scenes.
Penn lost his mind after Broncos safety T.J Ward gave his team new life and made a diving interception at the 30. This was after Bruce Irvin dislodged the ball from Trevor Siemian, and Khalil Mack recovered at Denver’s 39-yard line.
Penn thought Raiders’ offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave had overcomplicated the issue. Penn wanted the team to focus on ramming the ball down the Broncos’ throats, and that wasn’t exactly what they were doing.
A replay review ensured that the interception was overturned, and order was restored. The game-winning touchdown came soon after that. Penn and Musgrave didn’t look like they had any grudges to settle because they were hugging it out in the locker room.
Derek Carr admitted that the team performed far better than he could have hoped, and this was despite the impressive offense the Raiders obviously have. The Broncos’ defense has managed to stop most other opponents in their tracks.
The fact that the Raiders scored 30 on them says volumes about the quality of their players. The Raiders do not even think they played as well as they could have. Though, Carr had a stress-free Sunday night, absorbing a sack from Miller in the first quarter.
He also absorbed a quarterback hit in the fourth quarter. Running Backs Murray, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington did not do anything new.
They simply manifested the Raiders’ methodology as most people knew it. The Raiders simply wore the Broncos down by repeating the same two plays.
The Raiders have assembled a very imposing team, both on the field and behind the scenes. Head Coach Jack Del Rio came onboard before the 2015 season; he hired people like coach Mike Tice who used the draft to craft a highly dominant unit.
Kelechi Osmele left the Baltimore Ravens because he knew the Raiders had a very good offensive line, one that would only get better with time. With players like Austin Howard, Matt McCants, and Vadal Alexender, the Raiders’ offensive line has been something to behold all season.
The offensive unit knew how to keep pounding the ball against the Broncos. More importantly, they understood the importance of protecting their quarterback above all else.
Carr has enjoyed the season because of the support his team has given him. The victory over the Broncos pushed the Raiders ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs by half a game; the Raiders also lead the Broncos in the division by a full game.
Tice thinks his team is winning because they accept criticism and are willing to work hard to improve, regardless of the sacrifices. While everyone will probably remember Penn’s outburst above all else, one cannot deny the fact that the Raiders played very well.