The Oakland Raiders make their 2016 primetime debut Sunday night, playing host to the 6-2 Denver Broncos at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The lights always shine a little brighter on Sunday Night Football, and that sentiment will hold true again tonight as the winner of the Week 9 clash will own the outright lead in the AFC West.
Following the team's Fast Friday session, Head Coach Jack Del Rio officially ruled defensive tackle Stacy McGee out of the primetime clash with the Broncos; however, maybe a little more intrigue surrounded cornerback Sean Smith's "questionable" designation.
After injuring his shoulder on the first defensive series of last week's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Smith missed Wednesday's practice, but returned in a limited capacity both Thursday and Friday; however, No. 21 will be inactive for tonight's game against the Broncos.
The other inactive players are as follows:
Quarterback Connor Cook
Cornerback Dexter McDonald
Tackle Matt McCants
Guard Vadal Alexander
Tight end Ryan O'Malley
The Raiders captains for today's game are quarterback Derek Carr, running back Taiwan Jones, safety Reggie Nelson, center Reggie Nelson, defensive end Khalil Mack, and linebacker Bruce Irvin.
The Silver and Black won the coin toss and have elected to defer.
The Raiders defense came quickly out of the gates, forcing three consecutive incomplete passes by Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian resulting in an early punt.
Carr and the offense were able to take advantage of the early opportunity, driving deep into Denver territory before settling for a 24-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski to give the Silver and Black an early 3-0 lead with 10:21 left in the opening frame.
The Raiders defense has come quickly out of the gates, and after forcing its second consecutive three-and-out, the Silver and Black's offense once again drove deep into Broncos territory.
Similarly to the first drive, the Raiders couldn't find the end zone, but a 29-yard field goal by Janikowski extended the team's lead to 6-0 with 4:52 remaining in the first quarter.
We've reached the end of the first quarter, and the Raiders are once again on the move, as they've driven to the Broncos nine yard line, and will face a 1st and Goal once play resumes.
The Silver and Black have now found the end zone on the back of a one-yard touchdown by Latavius Murray. Janikowski added the PAT, and with 14:07 left in the second quarter, the Raiders now lead the Broncos 13-0.
Trevor Siemian and the Broncos have now gotten on the board following a 36-yard touchdown pass from Siemian to wide receiver Jordan Norwood. Brandon McManus added the PAT, so with 8:22 until halftime, the Raiders now lead 13-7.
The Silver and Black had a chance to add to their lead, but a 48-yard attempt by Janikowski hooked wide right, keeping the score at 13-7 with 4:33 left in the first half.
Brandon McManus was able to get three of those points back for the Broncos on the final play of the first half, connecting on a 55-yard field goal as time expired to bring the score to 20-10 at the half.
As it stands now, the Raiders have outgained the Broncos 241-145.
The Raiders will receive the ball to start the second half.
With 7:46 left in the third quarter, no points have been scored in the second half, but the Raiders defense has been stout thus far, not allowing Siemian and the Broncos to get anything going offensively.
After forcing a Denver punt, Derek Carr and the offense will go to work at their own 36-yard line.
The third quarter has come to a close, with the score still standing at 20-10 in favor of the Silver and Black.
While the Broncos have been able to move the ball into Raiders territory, they'll be facing a 4th and 12 at the Raiders 26-yard line when play resumes.
The Broncos have added three points on the first play of the fourth quarter, as McManus connected from 44 yards out to bring the score to 20-13 with 14:56 left in regulation.
The seven-point lead was short lived though, as Janikowski connected on a 35-yard field goal with 8:19 left in the fourth quarter.
After the successful field goal, the Raiders now lead 23-13.
The Slash Brothers have made their presence felt in the fourth quarter, as Khalil Mack just recovered a fumble caused by Bruce Irvin.
After the fumble recovery, the Raiders have taken over at their own 39-yard line with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders have struck yet again, this time on yet another touchdown run by Latavius Murray.
Murray's one-yard touchdown was not only his third score of the day, it has also ballooned the Silver and Black's lead to 30-13 with 6:09 left in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos have made it interesting, responding to the Raiders score in short order with a 69-yard touchdown by Kapri Bibbs.
Following the touchdown, the Raiders now lead 30-20 with 5:08 left in regulation.
A Reggie Nelson interception with 1:57 left in the fourth quarter put the icing on the Raiders seventh win of the season, as they have beaten the Broncos 30-20.