Notes from the final quarter of a Sunday-night duel in Denver played in front of 75,707 onlookers:
8:23 p.m. MDT: Stats heading into the fourth quarter:
- First downs: Denver 10, Oakland 9.
- Total yardage: Denver 177, Oakland 158.
- Rushing yardage: Denver 105, Oakland 49.
- Passing yardage: Oakland 109, Denver 72.
- Average per play: Denver 5.1 yards, Oakland 3.5.
8:25 p.m. MDT: Rod Smith extends his streak of consecutive games with a catch with a 12-yard reception to open the period.
8:29 p.m. MDT: After Chris Carr loses a yard returning Paul Ernster’s 41-yard punt, the second-year punter’s net average tonight is actually better than his gross — 36.3 for the net, 36.0 for the gross. Two of Ernster’s three punts have dropped inside the 20-yard-line; he had three of four last week and four of eight at New England.
8:30 p.m. MDT: Chad Slaughter committed a false-start penalty to open Oakland’s first fourth-quarter drive. It is the Raiders’ eighth false-start infraction tonight.
8:36 p.m. MDT: Oakland opts to go for it on a fourth-and-6 from the Denver 43 — but not before first utilziing its first timeout.
8:38 p.m. MDT: Post-timeout, crowd cresting to its highest decibel count of the evening, and Andrew Walter’s throw sails harmlessly into open space, giving the Broncos possession at their 43 with 8:40 left.
8:42 p.m. MDT: Denver goes three-and-out, and Paul Ernster’s punt bounces out of bounds after sailing 43 yards. “The kick wasn’t very good,” Al Michaels intones, but a net of 43 (before a five-yard penalty for an illegal formation brings it five yards forward) is solid indeed.
8:47 p.m. MDT: With 6:02 left, a 10-point deficit and possession at their 46, Oakland seems to be at the point where punting is no longer an option. But a 25-yard pass from Walter to Courtney Anderson takes care of that, moving the Raiders into field-goal range with 5:45 remaining.
8:49 p.m. MDT: The timely tunrover trend of last week continues when Ian Gold strips LaMont Jordan of the football, allowing Michael Myers to recover and scoot upfield, giving the Broncos possession with 4:24 remaining. The turnover margin now? Plus-1 for the Broncos, just like it was six days ago when the score was also 13-3.
8:54 p.m. MDT: Madden and Michaels on a Chad Mustard downfield block:
Madden: “Chad Mustard just did that.”
Michaels: “With relish.”
Cue the laugh track — although Michaels immediately joked that someone else must have temporarily grabbed the microphone to offer that pun-believable comment. (I think that someone else just got a hold of my laptop, for the record.)
10:00 p.m. MDT: Back upstairs from the locker room. The Broncos have become the first team since the 1934 Lions to go through five games and permit just one touchdown. Average points per game so far this year: 12.4, but allowing just 7.4 points a game — and a miserly 4.75 an outing in the last four contests — has the Broncos sitting atop the AFC West along with San Diego, and trailing only Indianapolis in the conference race.
Tags: Oakland Raiders