15:00: Eddie Royal is back deep for the Broncos. Sebasian Janikowski’s kickoff is a short one, awkwardly bouncing along the ground before Tatum Bell picks it up and returns it eight yards to the Denver 15-yard line.
14:50: Jay Cutler tries a deep ball to Royal on first down, but it’s past him, over his head. On second-and-10, Cutler hands it off to Bell, who is stopped after a yard.
It’s now third-and-9, and Cutler is in the shotgun. He drops back, bounces around the pocket and then takes off, avoiding tacklers and breaking an attempted shoestring tackle — he picks up 11 yards before being dropped at the 27-yard line.
First-and-10 for the Broncos and Cutler fakes a handoff before rolling right. He throws across his body to the left side of the field, lofting it over a jumping linebacker and into the waiting arms of Tony Scheffler, who was being brought down by safety Hiram Eugene. It’s another first down.
12:22: After a three-yard run on first down by Bell, Peyton Hillis takes the handoff on second down. It looks like he’s stopped after a short gain, as well, but he stays on his feet and powers his way forward for nine yards and another first down. There’s a Raider down on the play.
12:05: On first-and-10 from the Denver 49-yard line, it looks like there was a little miscommunication between Cutler and Marshall as a pass flies out of bounds — actually hitting Oakland Head Coach Tom Cable in the shin, after I see the replay. On second down, Cutler rockets a pass near the ground to Royal, who catches it and rolls forward after no one touches him for an eight-yard gain.
On third-and-2, Cutler is in the shotgun, rolls to the right and finds Marshall for the first down — and there’s a flag on the play — it’s a personal foul for roughing the passer again, this time helmet to helmet contact. That means 15 yards are tacked on to the end of the 11-yard Marshall reception.
11:04: The Broncos now have a first-and-10 at the Oakland 15-yard line. Cutler is in the shotgun and Royal goes in motion. It’s a reverse to the rookie, but he takes the handoff up the middle rather than sprinting all the way to the sideline. It’s a three-yard pickup.
On second-and-7, Cutler is in the shotgun again with Hillis to his left. He throws a pass too hard to Tony Scheffler in the right corner of the end zone — it flies out of the back of the end zone incomplete.
9:56: Cutler is in shotgun once more and finds Peyton Hillis, who stays on his feet after one tackler tries to take him down — it takes another Raider to bring him down, and Hillis reaches the ball out as he goes down, and it’s close to a first down.
After measurement, the Broncos are faced with a fourth-and-1 at the six-yard line. Cutler marches back out onto the field and the crowd gets excited — only to have the offense motion for them to quiet down.
The unit is huddled up and the referee signals for time to continue. Royal goes in motion and Cutler pitches to Hillis. He takes the pitch to the left side and bulls through some tacklers, getting some nice blocking in front of him including a key one from Ryan Clady, and powers into the end zone. After the touchdown, Hillis gives the crowd a “Mile High Salute.”
After the Matt Prater extra point goes through the uprights, the Broncos are tied with the Raiders, 10-10.
It was another 13-play drive for the Broncos. This one spanned 5:42 and went 85 yards.
9:18: Prater’s kickoff is fielded at the goal line, and Justin Miller is dragged out of bounds by Jack Williams at the 30-yard line. I saw out of the corner of my eye that CBS just replayed the Hillis “Mile High Salute.” I’m sure there are plenty of Broncos fans happy to see that back in action.
9:12: The Raiders offense is jumping around and stretching a little in the huddle during the TV timeout — I hear it’s getting a little colder out there, especially in the shade.
Now the defense is getting the crowd excited, jumping around and waiving their arms as the play clock starts winding again. JaMarcus Russel jogs up to the line and fakes a handoff before lofting a ball down field to Ashley Lelie — he was blanketed by Dre’ Bly and it looked like an interception, but Lelie came down with it at the Denver 19-yard line.
8:12: After Spencer Larsen stopped Justin Fargas for no gain on first down, Russell is back at the line on second down. The crowd is loud as he tries to find a receiver in the end zone — it looked like he had two options, but he threw the ball to neither of them, as the ball dropped right in between both of them.
There’s a flag on the play, however — offsides on the Broncos.
On consecutive plays, Darren McFadden caught a Russell pass for nine yards and Fargas took a handoff for five yards, setting up second-and-goal for the Raiders at the one-yard line.
On second-and-goal, Fargas is stood up by Spencer Larsen and Jamie Winborn for no gain. The crowd is on its feet as the Raiders step up to the line on third-and-goal from the one, but McFadden took a handoff to the left side and jogged into the end zone for a touchdown.
The Raiders touchdown gives them the lead over the Broncos, 17-10.
5:26: Royal takes the kickoff out to the 22-yard line, where the Broncos offense starts its drive. The first play is a carry by Hillis — he’s brought down for no gain, bringing up second-and-10. Cutler is in the shotgun, but his pass is batted down at the line, falling incomplete.
4:44: It’s third-and-10, and the offense breaks its huddle, running up to the line of scrimmage on their own 22-yard line. Cutler drops back, looks downfield and tries to find Brandon Stokley, but the pass falls incomplete. Brett Kern is out to punt. He keeps it away from Higgins, and the ball takes a solid Denver bounce — it comes to rest at the Oakland 26-yard line. It’s a 52-yard punt with no return for Kern.
4:27: On first down, the Raiders set up a screen pass to McFadden and it looks like he has space, but Spencer Larsen collapses on the play and lays a big hit on the rookie after five yards.
On second down, McFadden takes a carry and is again tackled by Larsen, but he picks up six yards and a first down.
3:10: McFadden touches the ball for the third consecutive play, and he’s brought down by Marcus Thomas after a three-yard gain. The Raiders now have a second-and-7 at their own 40-yard line, and they call their first timeout of the second half.
After the timeout, Fargas gains four yards, setting up a third-and-3 for the Raiders. Lelie is out wide right, but Russell pitches left to Michael Bush, who backs up and lofts a quick pass to Zach Miller. It looks like a sure interception by Marquand Manuel, but Miller somehow goes up with one hand and pulls it in for an eight-yard gain and the first down.
1:01: Russell’s pass falls incomplete on first down, setting up second-and-10. Russell hands off to Johnnie Lee Higgins on a reverse, and the defense has it sniffed out, but Higgins cuts back to the middle of the field and carves out nine yards before being brought down by Wesley Woodyard.
It’s now third-and-1 for the Raiders on the Denver 39-yard line, and Fargas takes a handoff for nine yards and the first down to end the third quarter.
The score is Oakland 17 — Denver 10.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com