Raiders pick up statement win
OAKLAND, Calif. — Latavius Murray ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and the Raiders showed they were ready for prime time by beating the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos.
In what was being billed as Oakland's biggest game since the team lost the Super Bowl to the Bucs after the 2002 season, the Raiders put together a complete effort to overpower Denver and take over sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 184 yards and did not turn the ball over; defensive end Khalil Mack had two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and the Raiders outrushed Denver 218-33 behind a dominant performance in the trenches.
The performance was to the delight of an energetic crowd at the Coliseum, excited to host a prime-time Sunday night game for the first time in more than a decade. After 13 straight seasons without a playoff berth or a winning record, the Raiders have shown they are ready to contend in the AFC in the second season under coach Jack Del Rio.
The win over the Broncos showed the progress the franchise has made since starting 0-10 two years ago.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian looked shaky at times for Denver but did throw two touchdown passes, including a pass behind the line that running back Kapri Bibbs turned into a 69-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter. But Oakland still led by 10 despite that defensive breakdown and held on.
Carr played a smart game for the most part but did get bailed out after one potentially big mistake. On the play after Mack recovered a fumble at the Denver 39-yard line after his strip sack, Carr threw down the right sideline for fullback Jamize Olawale. But the ball went right to T.J. Ward for an apparent interception. A replay review showed the ball hit the ground and Oakland kept the ball, setting up Murray's third score.