Manning paces Broncos to 26-7 lead over Raiders

Peyton Manning threw for 297 yards and a touchdown, Knowshon

Moreno ran for 60 yards and another score and the Denver Broncos

led the Oakland Raiders 26-7 after three quarters Thursday

night.

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.

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