The matchups certainly did not disappoint Sunday.
It was clear the Oakland Raiders’ clash with the Denver Broncos would be a heated one, due not only to the fact it’s a rivalry game, but also the bad blood between Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.
Entering the game, the Broncos were riding a six-game losing streak, and the Raiders were searching to get back in the win column themselves. After a quality performance from all three phases of the team, the Silver and Black were able to hoist a 21-14 victory over their head, and keep the Broncos at the bottom of the AFC West.
Now that the game is behind us, let’s take a moment to recap the three key matchups we had an eye on, presented by DirecTV.
Raiders Wide Receivers vs Broncos Secondary
Man, that was interesting wasn’t it?
It only took three minutes in the first quarter for things to get chippy, and the fight that ensued resulted in the ejection of Talib, Crabtree, and Raiders guard Gabe Jackson. There’s no love lost between these two teams, but once all the hubbub simmered down it was all business. While Crabtree is notably one of quarterback Derek Carr’s favorite red zone targets, No. 4 found wide receiver Amari Cooper for six, as well as running back Jalen Richard.
Unfortunately, Cooper would suffer a concussion in the second quarter and leave the game, but in the wake of Crabtree and Cooper’s absence, wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson, Seth Roberts, and Johnny Holton stepped up. By games end, the Raiders wide receivers corps combined for 160 yards, with an additional 80 yards coming from the team’s stable of running backs.
This weekend the Raiders will face a New York Giants secondary led by safety Landon Collins and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Raiders Offensive Line vs. Broncos Outside Linebacker Von Miller
Miller is notorious for being able to take over a game, but Sunday the Raiders offensive line limited him to just half a sack. No. 58 would finish the game with six tackles, and one-and-a-half tackles for loss, but ultimately he was rendered ineffective in the pass rush.
Miller’s combined sack with defensive tackle Shelby Harris would be one of two against Carr and the Raiders, as the offensive line allowed No. 4 ample room to operate in the pocket for a majority of the day. As a whole, the Broncos defense has struggled a bit this year, even though the former Defensive Player of the Year has 8.5 sacks. It was a big day for the Raiders offensive line, as they opened up holes for running back Marshawn Lynch, and held the Broncos pass rush at bay Sunday afternoon.
Raiders Pass Rush vs. Broncos Quarterback Paxton Lynch
Well, prior to Lynch leaving the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, the Raiders pass rush sacked the second-year signal-caller four times, and limited him to 61 yards of total offense. Not only was Lynch unable to get anything going offensively, but he also provided the defense its first interception of the 2017 season.
Take a look through the top images from the Raiders' 21-14 win over the Broncos in Week 12 at the Coliseum.
Once quarterback Trevor Siemian entered the game the pace of the offense switched up a bit, as he threw a pair of touchdowns, but by that point the damage was essentially done. The Raiders pass rush saw big days from defensive lineman Denico Autry (two sacks and three tackles), linebacker Bruce Irvin (two sacks and three tackles), and defensive end Khalil Mack (one sack and two tackles).
For their Week 13 bout, the defense will face recently named starter Geno Smith, as he leads the Giants offense on the field at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.