It wasn't a pretty game and it ended well into the late hours of the morning on the East Coast, but the Oakland Raiders have a one game lead over half of the AFC West with their win over Denver Broncos last night, 23-20. The game featured 25 total penalties for over 220 yards combined and six fumbles (although only three led to turnovers) in a sloppy contest that didn't leave either side feeling terrific about their performance. Still, a win is a win and the Raiders left Mile High with what they ultimately wanted.
The Raiders should be feeling good about what they did well. You can go far in the NFL on a strong running game and defense, and that's what the Raiders brought against the Broncos. Darren McFadden rushes for 150 yards and Michael Bush added 30. They rushed for 190 yards total on the night with a 4.9 yards/carry average.
The Raiders also had their way with the Broncos offensive line, with Richard Seymour leading the way in the pass rush. He had two of the team's five sacks with Matt Shaughnessy and Tommy Kelly also getting in on the action.
The passing game is still suspect with Jason Campbell rushing for one touchdown and throwing for another, yet gaining a Matt Cassel-like 105 yards in the air on 13 completions.
As for the Broncos, it looked like the last year or so in the stat column. Kyle Orton had his 300 yard game with one touchdown and one interception. Knowshon couldn't do anything in the running game, rushing 8 times for 22 yards (neither could Willis McGahee) and four fumbles kept the team from keeping any momentum. Eric Decker did spark special teams with a punt return for a touchdown.
The big highlight of the game actually comes via the kicker Sebastian Janikowski who kicked a 63-yard field goal to end the first half.