Raiders overcome distractions to dominate Broncos 34-24

Raiders Broncos
Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) pulls in a reception past Denver Broncos cornerback Ronald Darby (21) in the second half at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After a listless loss last week in the aftermath of finding out their head coach had sent out emails with racist statements, the Raiders overcome distractions and came out inspired this week on the road in beating the Denver Broncos 34-24.

Derek Carr completed 18 of 27 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Henry Ruggs caught 3 passes for 97 yards and one touchdown. Josh Jacobs led Las Vegas in rushing with 53 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown. It was the first win for Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia.

“It was emotional for everybody,” Bisaccia said. “These are a bunch of grown men that handled their emotions for the week.”

Denver’s Teddy Bridgewater completed 35 of 49 teams for 334 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Raiders overcome distractions
Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby (98) reacts to his sack of Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders defense sacked Bridgewater five times and forced him to fumble once. Maxx Crosby was credited with three sacks.

The Raiders started fast, scoring on their opening drive for the first time this season. Las Vegas outscored the Broncos 14-3 in the third quarter sealed the game with a field goal by Daniel Carlson midway through the fourth quarter.

The field goal came after the Broncos trimmed the Raiders 21-point lead to 14 when Bridgewater hit Courtland Sutton on a 12-yard touchdown pass with 11:16 left in the game.

The drive took 12 plays and covered 75 yards and included a 12-yard completion by Kendall Hinton that initially was called a Nate Hobbs interception. After a review, the call was reversed and Denver retained possession.

Later in the fourth, Tre’von Moehrig intercepted Bridgewater, giving the Raiders possession at the Denver 45 yard line with 6:48 left.

Bridgewater and Noah Fant connected on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 1:12 left in the game to cut the lead to 34-24.

Denver recovered an onside kick, but Bridgewater threw his third interception of the game, to Johnathan Abrams.

Raiders come out strong in third quarter

After forcing a three-and-out to start the half, Las Vegas extended its lead to 24-7 on a quick four-play drive that ended with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Kenyan Drake.

Raiders overcome distractions
Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) celebrates with quarterback Derek Carr (4) after a touchdown in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Denver cut the lead to 24-10 on a 32-yard Brandon McManus field goal with 6:38 left in the half. The Raiders punted the ball away on their next drive but Soloman Thomas forced a Bridgewater fumble at the Denver 40 yard line and Denzel Perryman recovered.

Carr then hit Ruggs on a 40-yard connection to the Denver 4 yard line and two plays later Jacobs carried the ball into the end zone to put Las Vegas up 31-10.

Raiders finally have fast start

The Raiders jumped out to a 7-0 lead, scoring their first touchdown in six games to start the season. Carr connected with Ruggs for 48 yards on a deep middle pass. The connection completed a four-play, 75-yard drive that took only 3:06.

Raiders overcome distractions
Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) runs the ball against Denver Broncos cornerback Ronald Darby (21) for a touchdown in the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos immediately answered on the ensuing possession when Bridgewater hit Tim Patrick for 23 yards and a score. Denver’s 8 play drive took 5:05 off the clock and covered 84 yards.

The Raiders answered with a Carlson field goal with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter to give Las Vegas a 10-7 lead. The Raiders drive took six plays and 4:09 and covered 43 yards.

After a Bridgewater interception by Brandon Facyson at the Denver 49, the Raiders drive stalled at the 25-yard line and Carlson missed a 43-yard field goal. The kick hit the right upright.

Just before halftime, the Raiders extended their lead to 17-7 when Carr connected with Drake for a 31-yard touchdown.