Raiders routed 34-14 by Broncos in season finale

The 2013 season ended with more questions than answers for the

Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

The futures of the general manager, coach and quarterback remain

murky. Same goes for rest of the roster, too. From the top to the

bottom, nobody delivered a strong lasting impression.

Just like most games the past two years.

Peyton Manning directed Denver to a 31-0 lead before sitting out

the second half, and the Broncos routed the Raiders 34-14 in the

season finale.

Raiders owner Mark Davis had said he would wait until after the

season to make decisions about whether to bring back general

manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen. He never surfaced

in the postgame locker room.

”That’s a decision that’s made over my head,” Allen said. ”I

fully expect to be back. I fully believe that I deserve the

opportunity to come back here and get a chance to go through the

reconstruction phase. I want to be part of the rebuilding

phase.”

Allen has an 8-24 record in two seasons with the Raiders (4-12),

who have been hampered by bad contracts and bad drafts in the final

years of late owner Al Davis’ tenure. No Raiders coach has even

been brought back after two straight losing seasons.

Oakland also has struggled to find impact players in the first

two drafts under McKenzie and done little in free agency because of

financial restrictions. The Raiders had more than $50 million of

”dead money” on their salary cap, meaning about 40 percent of

their cap went to players no longer in the organization.

”It’s been a tough couple of years on everybody,” Allen

said.

The decision to go back to Terrelle Pryor at starting

quarterback after six games with Matt McGloin also failed to

provide a spark to carry into the offseason.

Pryor looked rusty in his return, missing receivers and having

little room to run on read-option plays and scrambles. He completed

21 of 38 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns after the game was

out of reach.

”I would say I’m inconsistent. Period,” Pryor said. ”I got to

get better.”

Oakland’s struggles were only magnified more by Manning’s

brilliance.

Manning set the NFL single-season record for yards passing and

threw four first-half touchdown passes to help the Broncos (13-3)

clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs. He broke Drew Brees’

record of 5,476 yards set in 2011 with a 5-yard pass to Demaryius

Thomas with 13 seconds left in the half.

That ended Manning’s day having completed 25 of 28 passes for

266 yards. He finished the season with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown

passes.

The Raiders, meanwhile, ended their 11th straight non-winning

season with six straight losses and just barely avoided another

dreadful mark. Oakland allowed 453 points this season, the

second-most in franchise history. The 1961 team allowed 459

points.

Players applauded Allen and the front office and called for

continuity moving forward, as players usually do.

”The tough thing about the NFL is it’s a

what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league,” Raiders safety Charles

Woodson said. ”It’s a league of no patience. It’s kind of hard to

see things when you have a couple of losing seasons like they’ve

had here. Of course the knee-jerk reaction is to blow it up, but I

think to get the consistency you have to give someone a chance to

let it run its course. We’ll see what happens.”

After showing signs of progress early this season, the Raiders

regressed down the stretch to put McKenzie’s and Allen’s jobs in

jeopardy.

The season finale was no different. The Raiders were completely

exposed by Manning. He frequently targeted fill-in cornerback

Chimdi Chekwa, who started for the injured Mike Jenkins.

A bad snap by Stefen Wisniewski on the first play of the next

drive set up a 7-yard TD pass to Knowshon Moreno and the rout was

on.

Brock Osweiler played the entire second half for Manning in his

most extensive action of his two-year career. He completed 9 for 13

passes for 85 yards but only led Denver to one field goal.

The Raiders couldn’t even capitalize on their one good chance as

Sebastian Janikowski missed his ninth field goal of the season

after a blocked punt by Jamize Olawale gave Oakland the ball at the

Denver 24.

”We fell short,” Pryor said. ”That’s the most disappointing

thing.”

NOTES: Pryor ran for 49 yards to give him 576 yards rushing for

the season, breaking Rich Gannon’s franchise mark of 529 for

quarterbacks set in 2000. … The Raiders had about 45 members of

the 1983 team that won the Super Bowl on hand for a halftime

ceremony.

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