We were there…watching. Hell, the whole world was watching…
It was loud. REALLY REALLY LOUD. If you were there, there was a feeling of confidence and swagger that began in the parking lots, poured into the stadium, and spilled all over the field. The decibel level was palpable from the opening kickoff to the final kneel down. Not only did the Oakland Raiders show, but their devoted Nation of plundering piratic zealots did too. What ensued was nothing short of a demonstration of violence and strength that left their opponents ragged and sitting alone in 3rd place in the toughest division in football. The pirate ship is back, and the crew is pissed off.
The defense (yes, the defense) set the tone early, swabbing the deck of Broncos players and forcing Denver into 4 straight 3 and outs on their first 4 drives. The offensive line went straight to work and began “talk[ing] with their pads” as they paved the way for a 218 yard rushing performance against the highly touted “Cocky Mountain” defense.
Carr’s performance was modest by previous standards as he chucked 31 passes netting a mere 184 yards on 20 completions. Carr’s most important stat, however, was the absence any interceptions for the third week in a row. Carr has now thrown 127 consecutive passes without a single pick.
It was all Tay-Train all night long. With the help of a couple long runs from fellow swashbucklers Richard and Washington, Murray logged 114 yards on 20 rushes while crashing the end zone 3 times in the win (a franchise record). Murray is now the 3rd player in NFL history to log 100+ rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs in a game against the defending Super Bowl champs.
We said earlier this week that a major key to securing this win would be the run game (ok, which one of you is JDR?). Musgrave and his crew exposed the middle of Denver’s 30th ranked run defense early and kept pushing. After the game, Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn revealed that they ran the same play up the middle 20 times throughout the course of the nationally televised game. The run game kept the ball safe and and won the Silver and Black the TOP game as they held the ball a full 23 minutes longer than the donkey show from Denver.
The final score (20-30), showed a much closer game than it really was. Subtracting Bibbs 69-yard screen play late in the game, the Raiders had only allowed 233 yards of total offense (only 5 yards in the first quarter). In short, Oakland committed to stopping what we knew was a subpar offense and provided a formula for circumventing the top-rated pass defense in the league. The Broncos’ trash talking was quieted. The defending champs sulked off the field. Having robbed Denver of their gold, the marauders in black laughed as they conquered and won.
This week’s prediction results:
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I see you “diff”