Denver Broncos Outlast Oakland Raiders in Season Finale, Prepare for Offseasonby Aaron Hubert December 30, 2019 0 comments
The Broncos beat the Raiders by a score of 16-15 on Sunday. Shelby Harris capped off the game with something he’s been doing all season as he batted away a league-leading 10th ball at the line of scrimmage on a Raiders two-point conversion attempt to preserve the game.
The last five minutes of this game had nearly everything, including a fan sprinting across the field, a security officer injuring himself and being carted off the field after tackling the fan, a missed field goal, inopportune penalties, fumbles, turnover on downs, and a game-winning pass being batted down.
Garrett Bolles nearly cost the team this game with an unnecessary roughness penalty with 1:55 left in the game that moved the team from a 42-yard field goal attempt to a 57-yard attempt. Brandon McManus promptly missed the ensuing field goal that would have made it a 10-point game with less than two minutes to play.
After the missed field goal, the score was a seven-point Broncos lead with the Raiders taking over at the 47-yard line. The Raiders had already been eliminated from the playoffs after the Titans smacked the Houston Texans, but the Raiders converted a fourth down with a 34-yard screen play which routinely worked against them on this day.
The next play after the screen was another big chunk play, a 28-yard shot to Hunter Renfrow who had a big day recording six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown three plays later. He also was charged with three big drops, including two of which could have been picked off as they flew into the air. On the two-point conversion, Hunter Renfrow was wide open on a wheel route back toward the middle of the field with Will Parks in coverage, but the batted ball confirmed the pass wouldn’t get there.
Phillip Lindsay became the first undrafted running back to record a 1,000-yard season in his first two years in the league.
Von Miller would play easily one of his best games of the year by recording a sack, a pass defensed, three quarterback hits, multiple hurries and pressures, and good play in the run game.
Todd Davis would record the seventh-most tackles in a season in Broncos history with 136 on the year; that’s the most since J.D Williams in 2007.
DaeSean Hamilton would follow up his breakout game last week with another solid game, registering five receptions for 65 yards on six targets.
Courtland Sutton would also have a good day despite not showing up great on the stat sheet. He had four receptions for 52 yards, drew two defensive pass interference calls, and recovered a wonky fumble for positive yards on a crucial drive.
Drew Lock would go on to have a pedestrian day, throwing for 177 yards (marking the third time in five starts he threw under 200 yards), one touchdown and zero interceptions. He would lose one fumble on a snap with six minutes left in the game while in scoring position. He was only sacked twice and also had six rushes for 29 yards, which helped his day. When it is all said and done, Lock was 4-1 as a starter. He won against multiple playoff-hopeful teams, wasn’t sacked often, didn’t turn over the ball often, and could make plays with his feet as well as his arm.
In five starts, Lock threw for 1,020 yards, a 64.1 completion percentage, seven touchdowns and only three interceptions. He was only sacked five times in five games. He also added 72 rushing yards on 18 carries. Of his 18 carries, five of them went for first downs to keep drives alive.
Issac Yaidom had a great day with five tackles, two passes defensed, and a “simultaneous catch” that was ruled a completion instead of an interception. Further, he was seemingly all over the field, making great open-field tackles. Colby Wadman flipped the field multiple times, punting with a 50.8 yard-per-punt average.
The red zone defense was the best in the NFL this season and Week 17 was no different as it held the Raiders to a 20 percent success rate in the red zone.
The game wasn’t exactly pretty or a game that anyone would want to remember as a last hoorah, but the Broncos won an ugly game against a playoff-hopeful Raiders team at home and overcame adversity in a scenario that this team had failed three out of three times this year. The last-possession losses to the Bears, Jaguars, and Colts will go on to forever mark this the season that could have been, but they corrected the issues and learned to win close games to end the season at 7-9.
In 2020, the fans have hope with $70 million in cap space, 12 draft picks, some key players destined for free agency, and a serious opportunity to push for the playoffs.
The Broncos are positioned for a good offseason and a strong 2020.