COIN TOSS: The captains are at midfield for the coin toss. The Broncos call heads, and it’s tails. Oakland elects to defer, however, and Denver will receive to start the game.
Q1 15:00: Eric Decker is back deep to receive the opening kickoff from Sebastian Janikowski. He takes it out to the 26-yard line, and the starting offense is on the field, led by Tim Tebow at quarterback, making his first career start in the NFL. The offensive line is Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris. Knowshon Moreno and Spencer Larsen are in the backfield, and Daniel Graham and Richard Quinn are at tight end. Eddie Royal is the lone receiver.
Q1 14:20: After a 6-yard run by Moreno on first down, the running back takes a direct snap on second down. He’s taken down for a loss of 1 by Rolando McClain. Now third-and-5, Tebow lines up in the shotgun. He takes the snap and throws a pass intended for Brandon Lloyd, but it falls incomplete. Britton Colquitt is in to punt, with Nick Miller back to receive at his own 20-yard line. The punt takes a Raiders bounce, however, before being fielded at the Oakland 39-yard line. The Raiders are charged with a hold, pushing the ball back 10 yards to the 29.
Q1 13:26: The starting defense is on the field — Justin Bannan, Jamal Williams and Kevin Vickerson on the line, Robert Ayers, D.J. Williams, Mario Haggan and Jason Hunter at linebacker, and Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman, Renaldo Hill and Darcel McBath in the secondary. On Oakland’s first play from scrimmage, Jacoby Ford takes a pitch on an end-around and races 71 yards downfield for a touchdown. Janikowski’s extra point is good and the Raiders have an early lead.
RAIDERS 7, BRONCOS 0
Q1 13:14: Decker is deep to receive the ensuing kickoff. He fields a bouncing kick and spins through a hole to take the ball to the 37-yard line. The offense is back on the field, and on the first play, Tebow hands off to Moreno, who is stopped immediately. On second-and-9, Tebow fakes a handoff before throwing a screen pass toward Royal, who drops it. On third down, Tebow is in the shotgun and lofts a pass deep down the sideline as he is hit hard on a blitz. The pass falls incomplete, and Colquitt is in to punt yet again. The crowd is chanting at Tebow as Colquitt’s kick is fielded at the 25. Wesley Woodyard is there to make the stop at the Oakland 38-yard line.
Q1 12:15: After a false start penalty, Darren McFadden takes a carry for 1 yard, setting up second-and-14 at the 30-yard line. Jason Campbell drops back and throws the ball directly to Kevin Vickerson, who snares the leaping interception at the 25-yard line. The Broncos offense takes over there.
Q1 11:29: On first down, Moreno takes a carry and it appears Tyvon Branch rips him down by his facemask. It turns out it was Moreno who facemasked Branch, and the back is charged with a personal foul. The ball moves back to the Oakland 41-yard line, where it is first-and-25. Tebow dumps a pass off to Moreno out of the backfield, and the back is taken down after a gain of a yard. On second down, Tebow takes the snap from under center. He drops back and avoids pressure before trying to scramble — but he’s dropped at the line of scrimmage. On third-and-24, Tebow is in the shotgun. He takes the snap and fakes to his left before sprinting down the middle of the field for a touchdown. The crowd is silent as the rest of the offense sprints to congratulate the rookie after his 40-yard score on a quarterback draw. Steven Hauschka’s extra point is good to tie the game.
BRONCOS 7, RAIDERS 7
Q1 9:40: Tebow and Kyle Orton, who is listed as the emergency third quarterback, are talking on the sideline after the scoring drive. Hauschka kicks off to Jacoby Ford, who fields it at about the 5-yard line before being taken down by Daniel Coats at the 24-yard line.
Q1 9:35: McFadden takes a carry on first down, and he’s taken down by Haggan and D.J. Williams after a gain of 8. On second-and-2, it’s the back again on a pitch that picks up 11 more yards down the sideline. On the ensuing first down, Campbell buys time in the pocket before throwing a pass high to Zach Miller that the tight end can’t bring in. Second-and-10 brings another run by McFadden, who tries to pitch the ball back on a reverse, but it’s not a great effort as the ball is fumbled and picked up by Jason Hunter. The linebacker holds the ball up for the crowd as the Broncos offense runs back on the field to take over at the 32-yard line.
Q1 8:12: On first down, Moreno tries to reverse field after a hole closes up, and Tebow is there to block for him. The play is stopped for a loss of 2, however, by a swarming Oakland defense. Going back to Tebow’s touchdown, his 40-yard sprint was the longest scoring run by a quarterback in Broncos history. Before second down, Denver calls its first timeout of the half.
Q1 7:46: On second-and-12, Tebow takes the snap from under center after sending Jabar Gaffney in motion. He fakes a handoff to Lance Ball before firing deep to Brandon Lloyd, who looks to haul in the pass in the corner of the end zone between two defenders. The refs call it incomplete however, before Interim Head Coach Eric Studesville throws the red challenge flag.
Q1 7:38: The ruling on the field is overturned, and Lloyd sprints onto the field in celebration. The Broncos have now scored on their previous two possessions — Tebow’s 40-yard run and 33-yard arc to Lloyd, who made an acrobatic touchdown catch laying down in the back of the end zone. Hauschka’s extra point is good, and the Broncos lead by seven.
BRONCOS 14, RAIDERS 7
Q1 7:37: Hauschka sends the kickoff to about the 15-yard line, and Jacoby Ford is tripped up by Coats at the 31-yard line. McFadden takes a carry on first down, spinning his way forward for a 19-yard pickup to midfield. On the ensuing first down, Campbell pump fakes before firing to Marcel Reece for a 6-yard gain. Second-and-4 brings a carry by Reece, who is stopped short of the first-down marker by Marcus Thomas. Now third-and-1, Reece takes another carry for a first down.
Q1 5:02: After a 1-yard run by McFadden, the back takes another carry on second down and sprints downfield for a 36-yard gain to the 2-yard line. Now Michael Bush is in the game, and he’s stuffed at the 1 by D.J. Williams. On second down, Bush fights his way into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown. Janikowski’s extra point ties the score.
BRONCOS 14, RAIDERS 14
Q1 3:20: Decker fields the ensuing kickoff at the 6-yard line and spins his way through defenders to the 30-yard line, where the offense takes over. On first down, Tebow hands off to Lance Ball, who follows Spencer Larsen through a hole in teh offensive line for a gain of 8. On second down, Tebow sprints to his left on a quarterback keeper, picking up a first down. He nearly picks up far more than the 15 he’s credited with, but the refs signal he stepped out of bounds on the sideline. On the ensuing first down, Ball fights through defenders just to lose a yard on a run. Second-and-11 at the Oakland 48 has Tebow in the shotgun. He drops back and gets a quick screen off to Correll Buckhalter, who picks up 17 yards and a first down at the 31. Ball takes a carry on the next play, picking up a hard-fought 7 yards. It’s ball again on second down, but he’s stopped for no gain as the first quarter comes to a close.
Q2 15:00: On third-and-3, the Broncos are called for a false start, pushing the ball back 5 yards. Now at the Oakland 29-yard line, the Raiders are hurriedly making defensive substitutions as Tebow drops back into the shotgun. He takes the snap and slips as he tries to take off upfield. He’s stopped after a gain of a yard due to the slip, so Hauschka is in to attempt a 46-yard field goal. It’s good, and the Broncos retake the lead.
BRONCOS 17, RAIDERS 14
Q2 14:09: Hauschka’s kickoff is fielded by Ford at the goal line, and Britt Davis is there to make a big tackle at the 19-yard line. On first down, Campbell can’t find anyone open downfield, so he scrambles 24 yards for a first down at his own 43-yard line. On first down, Bush is wrapped up immediately by McBath. Second down brings a pass by Campbell, who is nearly sacked by Robert Ayers before getting the pass off. He finds Louis Murphy for a 14-yard gain into Denver territory. On the ensuing first down, Bush picks up 2 yards. Second down brings a fake handoff and a short pass to Zach Miller, but Jason Hunter is called for roughing the passer — a blow to Campbell’s head. That makes it first-and-10 at the Denver 26-yard line. McFadden is back in the game at running back, and it’s a pitch to the back, who is taken down quickly by Hunter. The linebacker talks with Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale quickly on the sideline before walking back to the defensive huddle. On second-and-6, Campbell is in the shotgun. He fires to McFadden on the left sideline, and he picks up a handful of yards — but it’s coming back due to an offensive holding penalty.
Q2 10:09: On second-and-14 at the 30, several Raiders go in motion before the snap. Somehow Zach Miller gets wide open, and the tight end hauls in a catch before falling down, getting up and running into the end zone for a touchdown. It’s coming back again, however, as the Raiders are called for an illegal formation. Now second-and-19 at the 35, Campbell takes the snap from under center. He drops back and is hit as he throws an interception to Renaldo Hill. The veteran safety is taken down at midfield after a 37-yard return.
Q2 9:36: The offense is back on the field, and Ball takes a carry for 3 yards on first down. On second-and-7, Tebow hands off to Ball yet again, but the back is stopped after a gain of a yard. Now third-and-6, Tebow lines up in the shotgun, but Denver takes its second timeout of the half.
Q2 8:25: On the other side of the break, Tebow lines up in the shotgun again. He lofts a pass downfield intended for Eddie Royal, but the leaping receiver can’t haul it in.
*INJURY UPDATE* Knowshon Moreno has an injury to his side (rib area) and is questionable to return.
Q2 8:09: Colquitt’s punt bounces into the end zone for a touchback. Oakland’s offense will take back over at its own 20-yard line.
Q2 8:08: On first down, Marcus Thomas stuffs McFadden at the line of scrimmage, but the back falls forward for a gain of a yard. On second-and-9, Campbell throws a pass to the sideline to Darrius Heyward-Bey, who makes a leaping catch for a gain of 20 before being taken down by Andre’ Goodman. Campbell tests Goodman again on the ensuing play, but the cornerback sprints downfield and nearly runs under his pass for an interception, but it falls incomplete. McFaddeen is brought down by Robert Ayers behind the line of scrimmage on second down, bringing up third-and-14. Ayers is down after the play, but he gets up to walk off the field flanked by trainers. On third down, Campbell throws short to McFadden, who makes a couple Broncos miss before a swarm of orange and blue — led by Mario Haggan — take him down 6 yards short of the first down. Shane Lechler is in for his first punt of the day, and Syd’Quan Thompson is deep to receive. The rookie is hit hard right as he fields the kick but breaks the tackle, sprinting downfield for a big gain. A block in the back penalty negates the return, however, and the offense will take over at its own 10-yard line.
Q2 5:02: As the crowd chants at Tebow, the rookie quarterback lofts a pass down the sideline to Brandon Lloyd for a 22-yard gain to silence the fans. On the next play, Ball is dropped for a loss of a yard. Second down has Tebow scrambling for a gain of 2 — and the rookie gets up angry that he didn’t get a facemask penalty. Oakland calls its first timeout of the half before the Broncos face as a third-and-9 at their own 38-yard line. Tebow lines up in the shotgun, takes the snap and takes off down the middle of the field yet again, but this time he’s stopped short of the first down. There’s now a big skirmish in the middle of the field, and Richard Seymour looks to be right in the middle of it. Oakland calls its second timeout of the half before Colquitt sets up to punt. The rain starts back again as Nate Jones drills Nick Miller as soon as he fields the ball, and the Raiders will take over at their own 8-yard line.
Q2 3:38: After a 1-yard run by McFadden, Campbell’s pass is high and incomplete on second down. On third-and-9, McFadden takes a screen, but is hit hard and dropped by D.J. Williams short of the first down. On fourth-and-2, Janikowski is in to punt for some reason, but the low punt is muffed by Syd’Quan Thompson and recovered by the Raiders at their own 46. Campbell keeps the ball and scrambles for a big gain on first down — a 20-yard gain to the Denver 34-yard line. It’s the two-minute warning.
Q2 2:00: On first down, Campbell’s pass falls incomplete. Second-and-10 brings a handoff to McFadden, who is wrapped up by Ayers, who is back in the game, after a gain of 2. Now third-and-8 at the 32-yard line, Campbell throws a pass that Heyward-Bey can’t haul in, bringing up fourth down. Janikowski is in to attempt a 49-yard field goal to tie the game. It’s good with 1:03 remaining in the half.
BRONCOS 17, RAIDERS 17
Q2 0:58: The Broncos run the clock out with three runs by Buckhalter to bring the first half to a close. The rain has let up as the teams head back through the tunnels with the score tied.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com