Raiders set team scoring mark, rout Broncos 59-14
AP Pro Football Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado – Snowball effect? This was more of an avalanche.
The Oakland Raiders scored touchdowns 8 seconds apart to kick-start a rout of the Denver Broncos that recalled so many of the lopsided scores between these former AFL teams in the 1960s.
Behind Darren McFadden’s four touchdowns, the Raiders scored the most points in their 50-year history Sunday with a 59-14 thrashing of the demoralized Broncos.
The Raiders (3-4) won for the third straight time at Invesco Field, fueled by a 38-point outburst in the first 22 minutes that staggered the Broncos, who allowed 328 yards rushing.
“I expected this to be a street fight,” Raiders coach Tom Cable said. “It started like that and we made sure it didn’t go any further.”
This one was decided in the opening minutes.
“You blinked and looked up and it was out of hand,” said Denver defensive back Nate Jones.
The Broncos (2-5) had no answers for backup quarterback Jason Campbell, who started despite a sore knee in place of Bruce Gradkowski (sore shoulder), or McFadden, who showed no ill effects of a recent hamstring injury. He scored on a pair of 4-yard runs and a 19-yard reception in the first half and on a 57-yard run in the second.
Michael Bush’s 1-yard TD run with 27 seconds left in the third quarter made it 59-14 and broke the Raiders’ franchise scoring record of 52 points. The fifth TD rushing tied a team record and their eight TDs established another mark.
The Broncos, also born in 1960, allowed this many points only one other time, in the 1963 season opener, which they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 59-7.
“It’s total shock. Total shock,” Jabar Gaffney said. “All week if you would told me that we’d come out here and get beat 59-14, I mean, I’d have just laughed at you.”
The Raiders were the only ones smiling Sunday.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said this blowout of the Broncos could turn around the Raiders’ season.
“When you win a game, it’s like, ‘OK, we won, let’s go onto the next one.’ Now, this one, it’s like, ‘We won and we won convincingly. Let’s let this build into a momentum swing for us,'” he said.
Only a smattering of die-hards were left when the game was over. Many of the fans who rushed the exits early must have been wondering, “Can the NFL also crack down on beatdowns?”
Two of the last three times the Broncos lost at home to Oakland by three or more touchdowns, there was a coaching change after the season. Wade Phillips left following a 48-16 whipping in 1994, and his successor, Mike Shanahan, was fired not long after a 31-10 loss to Oakland in 2008.
Shanahan was replaced by Josh McDaniels, who is 4-13 since starting his first season with six wins.
McDaniels apologized to Broncos fans and team owner Pat Bowlen for Sunday’s embarrassing display.
“We get one chance a week to put our name on something for the three hours we play and coach on Sunday and our name is going to be forever put on this game,” McDaniels said. “None of us are proud of it, but we’re a part of it and those of us who are a part of the problem are also going to have to be a part of the solution.”
McDaniels took full responsibility for the rout, which left him 0-4 at home against division opponents.
“It was awful,” he said.
The Broncos talked all week about a quick start being the key. Instead, it was the Raiders who jumped out and never let up.
Campbell found tight end Zach Miller uncovered for a 43-yard walk-in touchdown for a 7-0 lead. Then, cornerback Chris Johnson stepped in front of Gaffney and picked off Kyle Orton’s pass on Denver’s first snap, returning it for a touchdown that made it 14-0.
On Denver’s next snap, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas coughed up Tim Tebow’s pitch and defensive end Lamarr Houston recovered. Three plays later, McFadden trotted in untouched from 4 yards out.
“It was definitely a snowball effect today,” Gaffney said.
“Even though it’s 21-0, you’ve still got plenty of time,” Orton said, “but we just kept on hurting ourselves, turning it over and not executing.”
Orton completed just a dozen of his 29 passes, only one of them to Brandon Lloyd, the NFL’s leader in yards receiving, and Denver fumbled five times, losing two.
The Broncos – who were without their emotional leader, safety Brian Dawkins (knee), for the second straight week – showed little passion on their silent sideline as they were getting pummeled.
“You love to go out there and have a big game and coming against a rival it’s even better,” said McFadden, who finished with 165 yards on 16 carries.
The Broncos finally reached the end zone when Orton hit running back Knowshon Moreno from 7 yards out. Moreno skipped across the end zone, then motioned for his teammates to come celebrate with chest bumps, and rookie right tackle Zane Beadles complied.
Moreno was equally demonstrative when he scored on a 27-yard pass to open the third quarter, but the Broncos’ remaining possessions ended in four punts and a turnover on downs and left the team apologizing and soul-searching afterward.
Notes: The Raiders ran for more yards only twice in their history. … Broncos CB Perrish Cox suffered a head injury in a collision with WR Louis Murphy.