Harris’ INT return leads Broncos to 16-10 win over Raiders
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.
”You never know who it’s going to be, but we’ve got a team full of play-makers on defense,” Harris said. ”If we got to win on D, we feel we can do it.”
They’ve done it so far with 22 sacks, 14 turnovers and three defensive touchdowns as Manning and the offense have struggled for long stretches.
Manning has more interceptions (seven) than TD passes (six) through five games for the first time since his rookie season. He 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.
”We want to play better offensively,” Manning said. ”We want to do our job. Somehow, some way it’s about getting the Denver Broncos a win. There’s no question offensively we want to play better. … Everybody wants to do a better job and that starts with me.”
Derek Carr threw for 249 yards and a 3-yard TD pass to Marcel Reece 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 but Denver recovered the onside kick to seal it.
”It’s hard. It’s really hard because we feel like we left something on the field,” Carr said. ”We feel like we left wins out there.”
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.
”We got to get better offensively,” coach Gary Kubiak said. ”The sad thing is we do some good stuff and we don’t finish anything. That’s what’s disappointing. Then it all keeps going back to (Manning). That’s not fair.”
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.
”Those things are the shiny things, the shiny toys that you like, but it’s about wins and losses,” Woodson said. ”Our mission is to win our division and the only way we can do that is to beat the team that’s won it the last few years. Today we dropped the ball on that.”
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.
”He’s had many great games and today wasn’t one,” coach Jack Del Rio said.
The Broncos managed just two field goals on three trips into the red zone. Brandon McManus added a 52-yard field goal in the third quarter to give Denver the lead for good.
NOTES: The Broncos won their record 14th straight road game against a division opponent. … Denver LB DeMarcus Ware left the game with a back injury. … Raiders DE Justin Tuck left with a shoulder injury.
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