Manning paces Broncos to 26-7 lead over Raiders
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)
Manning completed 24 of 33 passes to join Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks with 5,000 career completions. Manning reached the milestone in 239 games, while Favre took 221.
Matt Prater also kicked field goals of 43, 34, 33 and 20 yards as the Broncos built a commanding lead over their AFC West rival. Denver (9-3) was going for its eighth straight victory, while the Raiders (3-9) were looking to avoid a sixth straight loss.
Carson Palmer completed 14 of 22 passes for 167 yards, including a short touchdown throw to Darren McFadden for Oakland's only score. Palmer also threw an interception to Champ Bailey and fumbled at his own goal line, leading to 10 points for the Broncos.
Denver converted three straight third downs on its opening drive and took command from the start.
The first came when officials whistled Philip Wheeler for defensive holding after an incomplete pass. Manning hit Eric Decker for 16-yard completion on the next, and Moreno took a short pass on a blitz for a 26-yard gain on another.
That set up a seamless 6-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Dreessen that put the Broncos ahead 7-0 only 4:30 into the game.
The Raiders were playing the game with heavy hearts. Head coach Dennis Allen, the defensive coordinator in Denver last season, had been in the Dallas area all week because the death of his father, Grady.
McFadden and Mike Goodson also returned for the Raiders after missing the previous four games with sprained right ankles. McFadden, who had nine carries for 49 yards, made the kind of impact the Raiders were hoping for in the second quarter.
Palmer faked right and slipped a short screen pass back to the left to the rejuvenated running back. McFadden ran untouched for a 6-yard touchdown and jumped into the Black Hole section after slicing Denver's lead to 13-7 with 1:59 remaining until the half.
The Raiders stopped Denver on three straight plays from inside the 2 to force Prater to kick his third field goal midway through the third quarter. Any momentum from the defensive stand evaporated when Von Miller stripped Palmer and Mitch Unrein recovered the fumble at the Oakland 2.
Two plays later, Moreno ran 2 yards for a touchdown that gave the Broncos a commanding 23-7 lead before the home fans showered the Raiders with boos.
Once again, the Oakland Coliseum crowd had little to cheer for from the outset. And the few times they did, the good feelings didn't last long.
Palmer completed a 58-yard pass to Rod Streater at the Broncos 22 in the second quarter. A play later, Bailey sliced in front of Palmer's pass intended for Brandon Myers at the goal line for an interception that led to Prater's second field goal.
Manning and the Broncos still had a few blemishes.
The four-time NFL MVP threw into a crowd of defenders midway through the second quarter, and Phillip Adams intercepted the pass in the end zone. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas also left briefly for the Broncos in the first half before returning in the third quarters.
What a change in this AFC West rivalry.
Just a year ago, Denver and Oakland went to the end of the season in the race for the division title. The Broncos edged the Raiders for first place on the final day by winning a three-team tiebreaker with San Diego.
Now the Broncos already have the division wrapped up, and Allen is fighting to make it to a second season in Oakland.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP
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