The Oakland Raiders faced a tough match-up for their season finale as they hosted the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
The Broncos handled the Raiders early on just as they had done to most opponents for the majority of the year, defeating the Raiders easily 34-14.
The Raiders offense struggled to get anything going with Terrelle Pryor back as the starting quarterback, going scoreless in the first half.
The lone highlight for the Raiders in the first half came when Pryor scrambled for an 11-yard gain, giving the team a first down and giving him 540 rushing yards on the season, the most of any quarterback in Raiders franchise history. Rich Gannon previously held the record with 529 rushing yards, set during the 2000 season.
But that was about it for highlights for the Raiders in the first half, as Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense scored on every possession.
Manning came into the game needing 266 passing yards to break Drew Brees’ NFL record for most passing yards in a season, and that’s exactly what he got.
Manning carved up the Raiders defense in the first half, completing 25/28 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns to give the Broncos the 31-0 lead in the first half.
Fittingly, Manning’s record-breaking pass came on first and goal from the five yard line as he found wide receiver Damaryius Thomas for the touchdown, his fourth of the day. Already up 31-0, Manning gave up the quarterback duties to Brock Osweiler in the second half.
The Raiders looked as if they were going to get on the scoreboard finally in the third quarter when backup fullback Jamize Olawale broke free to block a Britton Colquitt punt, but the Raiders offense still couldn’t capitalize. After going three and out, kicker Sebastian Janikowski hooked it wide right to miss his ninth field goal of the year. Janikowski is now 21/30 on the season (70 percent).
The Broncos seemingly let off the gas in the second half with Osweiler in at quarterback and didn’t get back on the board until about halfway through the fourth quarter.
After punting earlier in the half instead of going for a 54-yard field goal, Broncos head coach John Fox decided to kick a 54-yard field goal that Matt Prater nailed to give the Broncos the 34-0 lead.
The Broncos defense came into the game allowing 25.7 yards per game but the Raiders were unable to score until roughly four minutes remaining in the game. Down 34-0, Pryor orchestrated an eight-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a 14-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater.
The Raiders would score one more touchdown when Pryor found tight end Nick Kasa in the end zone for his first-career touchdown in the regular season, cutting the lead to 34-14 in the final minute.
But that would be it for the Raiders as they would fail to recover the onside kick, allowing the Broncos to wind the clock out for the 34-14 victory.