DENVER – The Raiders defense entered Sunday’s regular season finale playing its best football. That trend stopped in a 24-6 loss to the Denver Broncos, who had struggled scoring against anyone.
They weren’t awful, with four three-and-outs on the day and just 5-of-15 third-down conversions allowed.
They weren’t great either. They missed several key tackles and had too many penalties. The Broncos ran 40 times for 143 yards and a touchdown and the Raiders gave up some big plays that turned into touchdowns.
“I thought we did some things, showed some grittiness and hung in there for a while,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We got a turnover, but we just didn’t respond.”
Derek Carr’s injury brings forth a new world order, where adequate defense won’t cut it with the offense in a rut.
The Raiders defense didn’t take care of little details required to shut Denver down early, and the team never caught up.
“In the first half, we just weren’t playing assignment football,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said. “They ran everything we went over the whole week and we didn’t execute. They gashed us.”
Run game stalls: The Raiders had just 50 yards in the first half and 221 in the game. They were terrible on third down and only averaged 4.4 yards per offensive play.
The Raiders ran all over the Broncos during a Week 9 meeting, recording a season-high 218 rushing yards. That didn’t happen on Sunday. The Raiders had just 57 yards on 16 carries, with 20 coming on one DeAndre Washington run.
The Raiders run game wanted to carry the team to victory, but never established a good rhythm on the ground.
“We started slow,” Washington said. “We didn’t make plays when we had the opportunity.“
Cooper, Crabtree over 1,000: Receiver Michael Crabtree exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the season in its waning moments. A fourth-quarter catch sealed it, allowing him to join the four-figure club for the first time since 2012.
Amari Cooper also exceeded 1,000 yards, making them the first Raiders receiving tandem with 1,000 yards each since Tim Brown and Jerry Rice accomplished that feat in 2001.
Raiders set franchise low for turnovers: The Raiders lost possession thrice in Sunday’s loss to Denver, but that didn’t erase an excellent season where Raiders held on tight.
They set a franchise record with just 14 turnovers all season. The previous best was 19, a mark set in 2002. The Raiders also lead the NFL with a plus-16 turnover margin.
Bronco better after neck injury: Denver inside linebacker Zaire Anderson is reportedly okay after a scary injury where he was taken by ambulance from the field to a hospital.
According to 9 News in Denver, Anderson’s test came back negative and he was allowed to go home on Sunday night.
This ‘ that: S Bryden Trawick recorded his first career interception against Denver. The veteran typically plays exclusively on special teams, but was needed on defense after Nate Allen suffered a concussion and Keith McGill was ineffective. …The Raiders didn’t record a sack for the second straight game, the only two times that’s happened this season. ... SS Nate Allen suffered a concussion and did not return to the game. LT Donald Penn was helped by trainers after hurting his knee, but he returned to game.