12:58 P.M. PST: The infamous Raiders theme — and a recitation of The Autumn Wind over the music — plays over the public-address stadium as the Broncos stroll across the field to their prech on the far sideline. Seconds later, the bells from AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells toll over the sound system.
1:01 P.M. PST: Oakland’s Tyler Brayton just received what could well be the loudest ovation of his career to date.
1:04 P.M. PST: Much of the music here is straight from the somewhat distant past, and hearing 2Unlimited’s Get Ready For This as kickoff approaches takes me back about 11 years to the then-Orlando Arena and the pregame introductions. (“Dennis Scott!” … “Sha-quiiiiiiiiile O’Neal!” … “Niiiiick Annnnnnnnderson!” (Well, they stopped the last one of those after he missed all those free throws against the Rockets in the ’95 Finals.)
1:05 P.M. PST: We’re under way. Adam Meadows starts at right tackle for George Foster. It is Meadows’ first start since Dec. 14, 2003 — when he started at right guard against the Atlanta Falcons. A two-tight end, no-fullback formation places Chad Mustard in the starting lineup for the second straight week.
1:08 P.M. PST: David Kircus trudges to the sideline knowing he should have had an easy catch that he dropped. Paul Ernster then shanked a 25-yard punt that gives the Raiders good field position for their opening drive at their 41.
1:15 P.M. PST: Early field-position advantage goes to Oakland after Shane Lechler drops a 32-yard punt down at the Denver 8.
1:17 P.M. PST: The one thing you can’t do against Oakland is turn the football over; that’s how the Raiders have seized their two wins this year. That makes the Broncos’ fourth offensive play so costly — a Nnamdi Asomugha interception after Jake Plummer looked for Javon Walker and threw it short of the receiver. Oakland takes over at the Denver 15.
1:19 P.M. PST: Andrew Walter had time to throw, and when given time, he found Randal Williams for a first down — and only a solid Champ Bailey tackle saved a touchdown.
1:21 P.M. PST: A killer penalty against D.J. Williams; he was flagged for holding Courtney Anderson after John Engelberger had hurried Walter into an incompletion. One play later, LaMont Jordan sprints in for an early 7-0 Raiders lead.
1:25 P.M. PST: Some fortuitous field position coming to the Broncos after Sebastian Janikowski sends the ensuing kickoff flying out of bounds.
1:29 P.M. PST: Third-and-1, and Cecil Sapp looks as though he trips upon receiving the handoff. The fall leaves him a football length short, and the Broncos opt to go for it.
1:30 P.M. PST: The only positive of Fabian Washington’s interception is that it means the Raiders start nine yards back of where they would have if Plummer’s hurried throw had merely fallen incomplete.
1:32 P.M. PST: Oakland has a fourth-and-1 at its 49 of its own now, but chooses to send its punt team on the field. Lechler’s punt just barely drops into the end zone for a touchback.
1:37 P.M. PST: Broncos still without a first down after going three and out.
1:39 P.M. PST: Raiders go three-and-out, and David Kircus explodes with his best return as a Bronco — a 42-yarder that gets the Broncos on the Oakland side of the field for the first time today.
1:41 P.M. PST: Damien Nash makes his Broncos debut on a second-and-8 play.
1:43 P.M. PST: Plummer snaps out of his funk by finding Javon Walker. Walker snaps the Broncos from their collective offensive funk by eluding a diving Stuart Schweigert and sprinting for the end zone. Denver’s first touchdown and first down of the afternoon are one and the same, and the game is deadlocked.
Tags: Oakland Raiders