Oakland, CA – Despite neither team scoring in the first quarter, a continuing feud between Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib escalated and led to a brawl between both teams. Both players were ejected along with Gabe Jackson who was trying to help his teammate. The Raiders also lost Amari Cooper to a concussion.
Nonetheless, Oakland prevailed and beat the Denver Broncos 21-14. A must win for the Raiders who now sit one game behind the Kansas City chiefs who lead the division. Oakland is still alive in making run back into the post season. With that, they will need to win their remaining games including the matchup against the Chiefs in week 14 in Kansas City.
“I think that they have a little bit of a history with the chain snatching from years back,” said Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio. “I think there was an additional chain snatched from what I understand. Bottom line is we can’t afford to lose one of our top receivers and then our starting guard because he went over there to help his buddy. We can’t get two guys tossed like that.”
“If I would’ve told you that both our starting receivers and our right guard would be out for the game, I’m pretty sure the feeling would’ve been a lot different for people on the outside,” Derek Carr said. “Anytime you lose starters, it hurts.”
Unfortunately, in this situation it didn’t hurt to bad. Carr went 18-of-24 for 253 yards including two touchdowns. It was the best the Oakland offense has looked all season. Marshawn Lynch recorded a 1-yard touchdown and rushed for a season-high 26 carries on the day, the most he’s had in a single game since Oct. 22, 2015 against the San Francisco 49ers.
However, the incited brawl was caused by both Talib and Crabtree who will face the consequences once the NFL reviews the incident. Last year Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain off his neck during their season finale. Today Talib did it again but this time, Crabtree wasn’t having it. This is the first time the two faced off, Crabtree didn’t play in in the first matchup.
The feud between these two escalated in the first quarter when Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain again. Crabtree aggressively blocked Talib on a running play and drove him to the ground on the Broncos sideline. From there all hell broke loose. Several Broncos players surrounded Crabtree before Jackson came to his defense. But Jackson also pushed an official by accident and was thrown out.
”I guess his initiative was to come out there and fight today,” said Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who said Crabtree ”sucker punched” him on the previous play. “I guess it wasn’t to play football.”
After the players were tossed, the Raiders took over. Paxton Lynch threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Devontae Booker to start the second quarter but that play was reversed after Booker’s knee went down before going into the end zone. Lynch’s next pass was intercepted. Intended for Virgil Green but tipped by NaVorro Bowman, went through the hands of Reggie Nelson and then back to Bowman who was laying on the ground.
“I was in panic mode,” Bowman said. “The play-fake that came up, I realized it was pass so I used a guard to push out of there and run and find the guy that was open. That wasn’t my man, I just dove to break it up and landed on my back and the ball was there. It was on of those crazy plays but as coach says ‘Just run to the ball and great things will happen’.”
This was Oakland’s first interception of the season. Bowman’s interception marked the Raiders first since Week 17 of 2016 when Safety Brynden Trawick picked off QB Trevor Siemian. Once Oakland took over Carr moved the offense down field with ease. A 15-yard face mask penalty by the Broncos helped before Carr found Lee Smith for a 12 yard pass.
That set up Amari Cooper’s 9-yard touchdown pass from Carr giving Oakland a 7-0 lead. On the next series Cooper was going up for a pass and a late helmet-to-helmet hit by Darian Stewart knocked Cooper out. He did not return after being diagnosed with a concussion. Cooper has now recorded a touchdown in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
“We just got into the running game and we got things going, gelling,” said Jalen Richard. “That whole fighting situation just brought a whole other intensity to the game, it is a division rival. That made the intensity of the game go up. Denver was coming at us full speed, we were going at the them full speed. It was a real traditional, hard-nose game today.”
Lynch’s 1-yard touchdown extended the Raiders lead 14-0 . By the third, Carr went deep with a 48-yard pass to Johnny Holton. That setup Richard’s 6-yard touchdown pass from Carr to make it a 21-0 game. Oakland’s defense was unstoppable, the Raiders’ defense allowed just 54 yards in the first half of play, the fewest in a first half since giving up just 17 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 12, 2012.
As if things couldn’t get any worse for the Broncos, Lynch injured his ankle and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Siemian replaced Lynch late in the third and what a big difference that made. By the fourth Siemian found Coty Latimer for the 25-yard touchdown putting Denver on the board for the first time today.
The onside kick by the Broncos landed in the hands of Keith McGill putting the Raiders in good field position. Carr’s pass to Lynch for 24 yards setup Giorgio Tavecchio’s 35-yard field goal which was no good. Despite a great third quarter, Oakland fell back to their old ways in the fourth.
Siemian connected with Bennie Fowler for a 22-yard touchdown pass cutting the lead to 21-14 with 2:39 left to play in the game. But the Raiders held on for the win, Cordarelle Patterson broke through multiple tackles for a 54-yard pass and the first down. Carr then took a knee to run the clock out. Denver lost seven games in a row for the first time n 50 years.
“They went cover zero, I don’t know why they would do that,” Patterson said. “I guess because we were down two receivers they thought they could get pressure on Derek but he did an excellent job seeing man coverage and just seeing me one-on-one with the free safety or cornerback or whoever it was. He just put the ball so perfect there was no way I couldn’t make a play on that.”