Refocused, NFL Week 16: Oakland Raiders 27, Denver Broncos 14
PFF’s ReFocused series this season features immediate takeaways and a key to the victory from two Senior Analysts who graded the performance, watching every player on every play of the game. For more data and analysis from the game, utilize our Premium Stats 2.0 dashboard to expand your knowledge on the key players, signature stats and much more.
Oakland Raiders 27, Denver Broncos 14
Oakland leaned heavily on the rushing attack in the second half in an effort to preserve their lead, and Doug Martin got the bulk of that work. Martin rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, consistently picked up the yards available to him and forced several missed tackles to create some extra yardage on top.
Derek Carr had a mostly nondescript night, sticking mostly to the underneath passing game and rarely looking to push the ball downfield or take many chances. Luckily for the Raiders, they didn’t need much from the passing game and Carr took care of the ball and allowed Oakland to milk the clock with the run game.
A big storyline for this season was Oakland’s inability to rush the passer after the Khalil Mack trade. Third-round pick Arden Key has proved to be a promising prospect on the edge so far. Key was responsible for the only consistent pressure the Raiders’ front could produce on Monday.
The Raiders’ run defense was not pretty on Monday night, mostly due to the fact that they missed far too many tackles. The only positive impact in run defense came from safety Karl Joesph who stuck runners where he impacted them and forced cuts out of the original point of attack on multiple occasions.
While the scoreboard and passing numbers may not reflect it, Case Keenum played very well to close out Monday Night Football for the 2018 season. Keenum was victim to a couple of downfield drops on some great throws that likely would have led to more Denver points. Keenum avoided turnovers until his last throw when he was forced high-risk risk throw due to circumstance.
It would seem that the Broncos would try to establish Phillip Lindsay and the running game to help out their quarterback, but they were unable to do so. While Lindsay played well, he was forced to leave the game due to injury, and the Broncos did not get much else from their backfield.
Von Miller didn’t finish this game with a sack, but that’s not to say the Raiders could shut down the Broncos’ star pass-rusher. Miller won on his pass-rush attempts at a high clip, but with Oakland looking to get the ball out quickly or get Carr on the move, he rarely had an opportunity to finish those pass-rush attempts at the quarterback.
Domata Peko was a handful for the interior of the Raiders’ offensive line, making a number of stops around the line of scrimmage in the run game.
Keys to the Game
Oakland won with a formula from a bygone era, leaning on a solid rushing attack, taking care of the football and getting some help from an excellent special teams play by Dwayne Harris on the first punt of the game.
Denver got off to a brutal start on the game with an inexcusable punt return for a touchdown, and it did not get much better from there. The Broncos were kept off the scoreboard until late in the third quarter and forced them to play a style of game that they are not built to carry out.