Raiders

Broncos beat Panthers as NFL opens with Super Bowl rematch

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Broncos beat Panthers as NFL opens with Super Bowl rematch

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DENVER -- Denver's dominant defense came up big against Cam Newton again and the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers Thursday night when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.

Newton was sacked three times and clobbered all night long but appeared to have done just enough to get a measure of revenge for that bludgeoning seven months earlier in Super Bowl 50, when Von Miller stripped the ball and the Lombardi Trophy from his grasp.

Newton put the Panthers on the cusp of victory with a 21-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin at the Denver 32 in the closing seconds, and another short pass to Ted Ginn Jr. put Gano well within his range.

But Gano was wide left, and Trevor Siemian trotted out to take a knee in victory formation after his successful first NFL start. Peyton Manning's successor finished 18 of 26 for 178 yards, one TD and two interceptions.

Newton, the NFL's reigning MVP, was 18 of 33 for 194 yard with one TD and one interception.Just as he did over and over in the Super Bowl, Miller made a big play, sweeping past right tackle Mike Remmers and sacking Newton. That set up fourth-and-21 from the Carolina 29 at the 2-minute warning and Newton threw incomplete but got a reprieve.

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Cornerback Chris Harris Jr., whose interception led to Denver's go-ahead score minutes earlier, was called for illegal use of the hands, giving Carolina fresh hope.

The Panthers took a 17-7 led into the fourth quarter of the first Super Bowl rematch to start a season since 1970 but Siemian hit running back C.J. Anderson for a 25-yard touchdown on the next snap.

Newton's next pass was intercepted by Harris at the Carolina 23 and 10 plays later, Anderson bulled his way in from the 1 to give Denver its first lead at 21-14 with 9:26 remaining.

That came after the Broncos went for it on fourth-and-18 inches from the 1 1-2 and Anderson gained just enough for a new set of downs, then punched it in three plays later.

After Gano's 36-yard field goal brought the Panthers to 21-20, Carolina forced a three-and-out and Newton & Co. got the ball back at their 40 with 3:06 remaining.

TAKE A KNEE: Broncos ILB Brandon Marshall, a college teammate of Colin Kaepernick, took to a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernickrefused to stand for the anthem during San Francisco's preseason games, explaining it was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States. It opened a wide debate and put the microscope on a pregame tradition that has, for decades, been routine. Marshall went out in the second quarter for a concussion evaluation but was cleared to return.

OLD TIMES: Manning made his first appearance at Mile High as a retiree, walking through the tunnel with the Lombardi Trophy. Earlier, he attended NFL Kickoff festivities in his role as pitchman for DirecTV, which sent out a video interview in which he was asked about the Broncos QB situation. "It's the most overanalyzed subject in the city," Manning said. "I'm proud to say I have not added to that analysis." He did say he spoke with Siemian on the eve of the opener and told him he was in his corner.

FIELD FLIP: Punter Andy Lee, who surrendered a Super Bowl record 61-yard punt return to Jordan Norwood, pinned the Broncos back with a franchise record 76-yard punt in the third quarter. His next punt traveled 61 yards.

New Raiders receiver Trevor Davis working hard to be ready vs. Vikings

New Raiders receiver Trevor Davis working hard to be ready vs. Vikings

ALAMEDA – Trevor Davis went to Cal and is from Martinez, but hasn’t spent time at home since the Raiders traded for him Wednesday afternoon.

He went straight from Green Bay to the Silver and Black’s training complex, immediately immersing himself in the Raiders' schemes.

He doesn’t have much time, after all, to get ready for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. That’s why this trade isn’t a homecoming quite yet.

“I’m locked in at the hotel, in my playbook the whole time,” Davis said. “Going back and forth [to Martinez] is too far for me.”

The Raiders need Davis to get adjusted quickly, with return man/reserve receiver Dwayne Harris likely out a stretch with an ankle injury. He could take on Harris’ role on the team right away.

Harris is a return man first. While getting up to speed offensively by Sunday may be tough, it’s realistic to think Davis could return right away.

“It’s much more simplistic when comparing special teams to offense, so it’s easier to plug yourself into that,” Davis said. “That’s why I might be more ready to hop in there on special teams. Hopefully I’m involved in both soon, but I’m preparing to be ready for anything.”

Return help is a given for Davis, but the Raiders need receiving depth pretty badly. Ryan Grant hasn’t produced early on, J.J. Nelson has dealt with an ankle injury and Keelan Doss is a work in progress.

Davis can certainly help stretch the field with pure speed, something sorely needed in the pattern. He’s trying to use each moment to overcome the challenges of integrating to a new team during the season, including enlisting former Packer and current Raiders backup quarterback DeShone Kizer to tutor him in this scheme.

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Davis admitted he never saw the move coming, but hopes to make the most of his time back home.

“You have to come in and be ready for anything,” Davis said. “The NFL is like that. Everything can change in a blink of an eye. I was all the way across the country 24 hours ago. Now I’m here, and I need to put my best foot forward and show these coaches what I can do.”

Raiders plan to expand Josh Jacobs' role in passing game moving forward

Raiders plan to expand Josh Jacobs' role in passing game moving forward

ALAMEDA -- Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is off to a strong start. His snap counts suggest he’s the Silver and Black’s clear-cut feature back, taking most of the carries through two games.

He’s worthy of them, having churned out 184 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries. A total of 11 carries have resulted in first downs, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, with four rushes of 10-plus yards. That includes a 51-yarder through the right side and down the boundary on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jacobs has done everything well thus far, though there’s one thing he hasn’t been asked to do much.

Jacobs has only been targeted once in the passing game despite 22 total snaps as a receiver, and he caught it and ran for a 28-yard pickup. The Alabama product simply hasn't been out on obvious passing downs, either.

Secondary backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington have only been targeted five times for 28 yards on four receptions.

Jacobs has played 68 snaps from the backfield while Washington and Richard have 43 combined, with a significant portion of those snaps given while Jacobs was getting an IV versus Kansas City.

Jacobs' light receiving load has raised some eyebrows, considering his prowess catching passes out of the backfield.

[RELATED: Raiders' Jacobs reveals he's lost 10 pounds due to illness]

There’s some thought that the team might be saving that option for an important moment down the line. The Raiders, however, clearly want to unleash their first-round draft pick’s full potential.

“It’s still early in the season, early in the process,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “We’re happy with Josh Jacobs and the way he’s running the football. When we have put the ball in his hands, he has produced. We’ll look to expand his role as well.”