Oakland, CA – The Denver Broncos set an all time NFL record for points in a season. Peyton Manning set the NFL single-season in passing yards breaking Drew Brees record of 5,476 set back in 2011. He also broke Tom Brady’s single-season touchdowns record last week with 51
Manning added on to that after throwing his fourth touchdown in the first half to lead the Broncos to a 34-14 victory over the Raiders. They clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs and secured home-field advantage. He didn’t return in the second half and went 25 of 28 for 266 yards.
“This was a good game today,” said Manning. “We needed this win. We needed to improve on some things. The coaches challenged us in a couple of areas and I think we responded to those challenges
Oakland started the game off flat and finished the season with another 4-12 record. The fans began to boo loudly as Terrelle Pryor and the offense failed to get into the end zone in the first half. Nothing went well for the Raiders offense, they converted only one first down in the first quarter and struggled on third down as they have in recent games.
“The first half was about as good in all three phases as we’ve been all year,” Denver’s head coach John Fox said. “It allowed us to get some guys out of the game, rest them and still take care of business on the field.”
Pryor’s first game after missing six as the starter wasn’t his best performance of the season. Not because he lacked talent but simply due to everyone not bringing their “A” game. On the opening drive, Pryor went three and out. Every time the Broncos got the ball, they scored. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a team with the best record in their division and the AFC.
But you would expect more from Oakland’s defense. Peyton’s 3-yard pass to Eric Decker for the touchdown gave Denver a 7-0 lead. Then a bad snap, set up Pryor’s fumble and the Broncos recovered on their own 24 yard line. Manning quickly moved his offense into the end zone for the 7-yard touchdown by Knowshon Moreno.
“We got beat by a better team today,” said Raider’s head coach Dennis Allen. It was disappointing we weren’t able to play better in the first half. We weren’t able to get anything going, and obviously, that quarterback is really good.
The Raiders defense finally forced Denver to kick a field goal that extended their lead 17-0. But that didn’t last after Manning threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, setting an all time NFL record for points in a season at 596. Manning then found Thomas again for the 5-yard touchdown and gave Denver a 31-0 to end the half.
Back-up quarterback Brock Osweiler took over in the second half. That’s when the Raiders tried to rally a comeback against the second unit. Oakland’s defense forced the Broncos to punt again, and this time Jamize Olawale blocked the punt. Chance Casey recovered the ball but Pryor was unable to get the offense into the end zone. Sebastian Janikowski came in to kick a 42-yard field goal that was no good.
“It was disappointing from a record standpoint, but guys kept fighting,” Safety Charles Woodson said. “I can’t say we got better, we didn’t win games down the stretch. It’s like one of those bags at the grocery store, when you have too much stuff in it the bottom falls out. That’s kind of what happened to us down the stretch.”
Matt Prater’s 54-yard field goal kicked off the fourth quarter and that was the last time the Broncos scored. A Denver penalty moved the offense faster than Pryor late in the quarter. Setting up Pryor’s 14-yard touchdown to Rod Streater. Looking like the rust wore off, Pryor scrambled for a first down before the two minute warning.
Known for his ability to run the ball, Pryor got another first down that setup his 9-yard touchdown pass to Nick Kasa. Avoiding a shutout, Pryor stated no one wanted to lose but realizes what needs to be worked on in the offseason. He went 21 of 38 for 207 yards. Not sure how the coaches can evaluate him over a poor start, especially since he hasn’t played in the last six games.
“I would say I’m inconsistent. Period. I’ve got to get better,” said Pryor.
“The kid does have the chance to be a special player if he sharpens up his fundamentals,” Offensive Linemen Khalif Barnes said. “If he gets more consistent, he can be a dynamic player, for sure.”