With a spectacular display of defense, the Oakland Raiders earn a precious win against division rival Broncos, snapping an eight- game losing streak to Denver along the way.
Each week, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak poses five questions heading into the next matchup. In the wake of the Oakland Raiders 15-12 win over the Denver Broncos, here are the answers to this week's queries.
1. Just how different is the Broncos offense with Brock Osweiler at quarterback?
The Denver Broncos' offense didn't look much different than it looked back in Week 5. Osweiler took one shot downfield, a pass intended for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders that was overthrown by several yards, and dinked and dunked much of the game. He was accurate and efficient in the first half, but the Raiders defense was able to keep the Broncos out of the end zone. In fact, in two games against the Broncos this season, the Raiders did not allow an offensive touchdown. With Osweiler at quarterback, Denver has made an effort to get the running game going. The Raiders shut it down and forced Denver to be one-dimensional. The zone stretch run was ineffective which limited any bootleg opportunities.
- Will the altitude or weather be a factor?**
The altitude didn't seem to be a factor. The Raiders got stronger as the game went on. The defense most assuredly was able to keep their energy up for all four quarters which was something considering the first half disparity in time of possession as the Raiders were held to -12 yards of total offense. The ball did seem a little slick at times as Denver muffed a couple of punts, both teams dropped a few passes, and tight end Mychal Rivera had a little trouble securing the game-winning touchdown catch.
3. How will the Raiders respond after last week?
If the first half was any indication, the answer to this question had the potential to turn out much different. After the Chiefs scored 20 unanswered points in the 4th quarter of their 34-20 win in Oakland, the Raiders allowed 12 points and were held to -12 yards in the first half at Denver. The Raiders took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched right down the field. A Derek Carr to Seth Roberts touchdown connection got the Silver and Black on the board. Then, Khalil Mack and the defense took over as Mack recorded five sacks, including a strip-sack in the end zone that resulted in a safety. Special teams chipped in too as punter Marquette King routinely pinned the Broncos deep in their end, and long snapper Jon Condo recovered a muffed punt that set up the go-ahead score.
- Will Khalil Mack record a multi-sack game?**
Did he ever. His five sacks tied a single-game franchise record held by Hall of Famer Howie Long. Mack terrorized Osweiler throughout the second half. Each sack was impressive, but the strip-sack for a safety was phenomenal. He now has four games this season in which he's recorded two or more sacks. His 14 sacks lead the NFL through Week 14. Mack is the first Raiders player to record double-digit sacks since 2006 (Derrick Burgess 11, Warren Sapp 10). He is two away from tying the franchise single-season record, 16, held by Burgess since 2005. The Raiders have 34 sacks this season, after recording just 22 last season, and Mack has 14 of them.
5. Will rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper surpass 1,000 yards receiving this week?
Cooper did not. In fact, he was shut out for the first time this season. His previous low was 1 catch for 4 yards in Week 11 at Detroit. He was targeted 8 times against the Broncos but was unable to haul in a reception. The Broncos combination of Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, Jr., made a concerted effort to keep the rookie in check. Cooper still sits at 920 yards receiving this season.