Broncos lean on stifling defense to win eighth straight vs. Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — After spending most of his career carrying his team to wins, Peyton Manning is just along for the ride this year with Denver.
Chris Harris Jr. returned a fourth-quarter interception 74 yards for a touchdown and the Broncos overcame a shaky day from Manning to beat the Oakland Raiders 16-10 on Sunday.
Manning was intercepted twice by 1998 draft classmate Charles Woodson and failed to lead the Broncos (5-0) to an offensive touchdown for the second time in five games this season. But Denver’s defense made sure it didn’t matter, getting a third defensive touchdown of the season to remain undefeated.
Derek Carr threw for 249 yards and one touchdown for the Raiders (2-3) but was done in by the interception midway through the fourth quarter with Oakland in position for a possible go-ahead field goal.
But Carr’s third-down pass over the middle was off target and Harris picked it off and returned it for the score, silencing what had been a loud crowd in Oakland.
The Raiders added a late 50-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski following a 48-yard pass interference penalty on Bradley Roby but Denver recovered the onside kick to seal it.
Manning finished 22 for 35 for 266 yards but was sacked twice and had two interceptions. Denver ran for only 43 yards but used Harris’ interception return and a sack-fumble by Von Miller that set up a field goal to beat the Raiders. This was Denver’s second-lowest scoring regular season with Manning as quarterback, ahead of only a seven-point effort last year against St. Louis.
The Broncos have now won eight straight in this series but the Raiders had plenty of chances in this one. Janikowski missed a pair of field goals before Carr’s late gaffe ended Oakland’s hopes.
Before Harris’ big play, the highlight of the game had been the play of Woodson, who turned 39 on Wednesday. Woodson, who beat Manning out for the Heisman Trophy in 1997, talked earlier in the week about wanting to get his first interception against Manning.
He ended up with two, becoming the oldest player in NFL history with more than one interception in a game.
Janikowski, who set a Raiders record by playing in his 241st career game, missed his second field goal of the game from 40 yards after Woodson’s second interception, costing Oakland a shot at the lead.
Janikowski also had a 38-yard attempt blocked by Sylvester Williams in the first quarter. Manning responded to the first miss with a 45-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders on the next play, leading to a Broncos field goal. But that drive stalled deep in Raiders territory in what would be a recurring problem for the Broncos.
They were held to two field goals on their first three trips into the red zone.
The Raiders made the most of their second scoring chance when Carr connected on a 3-yard pass to Marcel Reece that put Oakland up 7-3. But that was all they could manage against Denver’s stingy defense.
The Broncos went ahead with two more field goals from Brandon McManus in the third quarter.