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Broncos embarrassed by Raiders on Christmas Eve

Henry Chisholm Avatar
December 25, 2018

The streak is over.

For 46 years, the Denver Broncos hadn’t ended consecutive seasons with losing records. Following their loss on Monday, the Broncos sit at 6-9 with no chance of salvaging a .500 record.

The Broncos lost 27-14 to the 4-11 Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. The game was potentially the final one at the Oakland Coliseum—the Raiders’ home for 39 seasons—as the team prepares to move to Las Vegas.

While the final score was lopsided, much of the reason was just a few mistakes made by Denver.

The Broncos got absolutely nothing going on their first possession but things got worse when they punted the ball away. Dwayne Harris, the Raiders’ veteran punt returner, picked the ball up as it sat near the goal-line and returned it 99 yards for a score.

Late in the game, when the Broncos needed a miracle to overcome their own incompetence in the first 50 minutes of the game, Case Keenum threw two interceptions. One set up a field goal, the next left the Raiders a first down away from kneeling out the clock.

But even if you ignore the 10 points the Broncos gift-wrapped for Oakland, Denver was still outplayed by a team that, prior to Monday’s game, was a favorite for the first pick in the draft.

Early in the game, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden essentially mocked the Broncos’ inability to cover the flat by repeatedly checking down to tight ends and running backs. Jared Cook and Doug Martin. Both players kept scoring drives alive by catching short passes and running to pick up third-and-longs.

The Broncos, on the other hand, only managed 128 yards on six first-half series and never passed the Raiders’ 40-yard line.

At halftime, the Raiders led 17-0 on the back of a 24-yard touchdown form Martin and a 43-yard field goal as time wound down in the second quarter.

After trading punts early in the third quarter, the Broncos finally found some rhythm. Quarterback Case Keenum hit Tim Patrick for 26 yards to open a 10-play, 82-yard scoring drive that was capped by a short touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton.

But the Raiders responded with a long drive of their own, working their way down the field by pounding the ball and throwing more short passes. It ended early in the fourth quarter when Martin found his way into the end zone from three yards out to take a 24-7 lead.

The Broncos sucked five minutes off the clock with their next series, which was capped by a 19-yard touchdown catch from Courtland Sutton, leaving the Broncos facing a 10-point deficit with 7:30 left on the clock.

The game essentially ended two minutes later when Case Keenum threw an interception to Michael Gilchrist. Then, on the next series, he threw another.

Keenum completed 23 of 37 pass attempts for 202 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Sutton was the Broncos’ leading receiver with 65 yards and a touchdown on six receptions.

Phil Lindsay led the Broncos with 46 rushing yards on 10 attempts but left the game early due to a wrist injury.

Derek Carr completed 19 of 26 passes for 167 yards. He was sacked once, by Adam Gotsis.

Jordy Nelson was the Raiders’ leading receiver with 75 yards on seven catches.


Doug Martin carried the ball 21 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. He also had a relentless run at the end of the game to put Oakland in a position to kneel the ball and run the clock out.


The Broncos buried themselves early in the game, spotting a quick seven o the Raiders who rank in the bottom five in the NFL in scoring.

Following a game-opening three-and-out, Broncos punter Colby Wadman stood at his own 25-yard line and dropped a ball deep in Raiders territory. It bounced at the 10 and nestled up against the goal line.

But nobody jumped on the ball, so the Raiders’ returner—Dwayne Harris—picked it up and found a crease along the sideline. 99 yards later, the Raiders led 7-0.


“That was a tough one. Story of our season.” — Von Miller on the Broncos’ loss


-2 — The Broncos’ turnover differential

4.8 — Yards per play earned by both teams

11 — Broncos’ penalties, totaling 91 yards


The Broncos will host the (11-4) Los Angeles Chargers at Broncos Stadium for the final game of the 2018 season. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:25 p.m.


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