Nothing quite like when the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos meet on primetime television. The AFC West rivals took the field Monday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for the Raiders' final home game of 2018.
The Christmas Eve special had all the makings of an old school game; rainy, muddy, and cold under the bright lights. The evening was filled with jaw-dropping plays, and was a night to remember at the OACC.
Here are the Extra Points from Week 16:
Dwayne "Gucci" Harris goes 99 yards - I wish I knew how to describe this play in a way that would truly capture what transpired, but I'll do my best.
After the Raiders defense forced the Broncos to punt, Harris let the ball fly over his head, and in an attempt to pin the Raiders deep in their own territory, the Broncos special teams unit dove on the ball on the one-yard line, but somehow Harris picked it up and returned it NINETY NINE yards to the house. It was the first time the Raiders have returned a punt for a touchdown since 2008. It put the Raiders in the lead early, and honestly can't be described as anything other than a Christmas miracle.
Gruden throws the red flag - With 1:43 left in the first quarter, Broncos quarterback Case Keenum took a deep shot for rookie wide receiver Courtland Sutton who initially appeared to make an impressive diving catch; however Gruden disagreed with the call, and threw the challenge flag. What would've been a 40-yard reception — putting the Broncos in the red zone — was ruled an incompletion. It was a big play that could've shifted the momentum at the Coliseum, but the drive amounted to nothing.
Martin goes untouched - It was a sluggish start for the Raiders offense, but the team got the ball rolling in the second quarter, moving the chains all the way down the field effectively. The Silver and Black got the ball to start the second quarter, and knocked 5:35 off the clock en route to their second touchdown of the evening. From the 24-yard line, Carr handed the ball off to Doug Martin who scampered outside untouched and walked into the end zone, giving the Raiders a 14-0 lead.
Raiders pitch a shutout in the first half - With 19 seconds left in the first half, Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson kicked off, but the ball bounced out of bounds resulting in a penalty. This placed the Broncos on their 40-yard line, and with two timeouts left, they had plenty of time to get within field goal range. A couple plays later, the Broncos trotted kicker Brandon McManus out to attempt a 58-yarder, but it fell just shy of the goal posts. The Raiders entered the half leading 17-0, and would get the ball back to start the second half.
Keenum is elusive? - On 3rd and 10, with 4:38 left in the third quarter, the Raiders looked like they would force the Broncos to punt once again, but veteran quarterback Case Keenum earned the first down. With the pocket collapsing, Keenum shook off three would-be tacklers, and even made a Raiders defender miss in the open field to dive for the first down. It was a crucial play in the drive that led to a seven-yard touchdown pass, and the Broncos' first points of the game. The score narrowed the Raiders' lead to a 10-point margin.
Richard scores first rushing TD of 2018 - It's amazing that a player as explosive, and versatile, as running back Jalen Richard hadn't found pay dirt until Week 16. "Rocket Richard" bulldozed his way to a three-yard rushing touchdown, and his first of 2018. The score increased the Raiders' lead to 24-7 with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Silver and Black controlled the flow of the game on offense and defense from start to finish, and it couldn't have been a better end to the 2018 home slate of games. There was a special vibe at the Coliseum on Christmas Eve, and the Raiders will hold bragging rights over the Broncos until next season. Final score read 27-14, Raiders.