FSM Essential Recap: Week 16 – Raiders vs Broncos

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (8-7) | Denver Broncos (7-8)


The Raiders defeated the Broncos 17-13 as they swept the Broncos this season and kept their playoff hopes alive.


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Raiders Wire

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Raiders got the job done and kept their playoff hopes alive while sweeping the Broncos this season series.

The Raiders have won back-to-back games and are still alive in the AFC Wild Card hunt. At 8-7, they’ll likely need to win their final two games to get into the playoffs. But they have given themselves a chance to make the NFL’s second season.

This was a game in which the Raiders leaned on their rushing attack as Josh Jacobs went over 100 yards for the first time this season. He finished the game with 129 yards and multiple vital runs to keep the chains moving.

The game-winning play for the Raiders was a 28-yard gain by Foster Moreau that gave them a new set of downs under the two-minute warning. The defense dominated for the Raiders as they allowed just eight total first downs in this game. In addition, they surrendered just 158 total yards and gave up just 4.0 yards per play.


If the season were to end today, the Raiders wouldn’t quite be in the playoffs.


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: David Becker/AP

However, their odds of getting in have improved significantly after back-to-back wins in the conference.

The Raiders sit at 8-7 after 15 games and are just behind teams like the Ravens and Chargers for the No. 7 spot. But what are the odds that they actually get into the playoffs?

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Raiders have a 17 percent chance to make this year’s playoffs. That is up from 11 percent going into Week 16. It’s not a significant improvement, but losses by the Ravens, Browns, Steelers, and Chargers helped increase their odds.

While the odds seem like they should be higher, the more important thing is that the Raiders will make the playoffs if they win their next two games. So it’s officially a “win-and-in” situation for Las Vegas. That is pretty impressive, considering they lost five of six games at one point in the season.


“Playoffs? You’re talking playoffs? Playoffs? Are you kidding me, PLAYOFFS?!”


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

Win, and they’re in. That’s where the Raiders stand as of right now. The team was facing what was basically an elimination game against the rival Broncos on Sunday. Which is to say a loss would have all but closed the door on the playoffs. However, they won, and as a result, they control their playoff destiny the rest of the way.

The Raiders’ defense stepped up big time for the second week in a row and ruled the day. After holding a depleted Browns squad to 14 points in Cleveland last week, they kept the Broncos to just 13 points, and it wasn’t even that close.

In particular, the Raiders defense controlled the ground attack, holding the Broncos to just 18 yards on 16 carries. And ten of their 13 points came off of turnovers in which the defense gave up a total of five yards.

What I really want to start with is our defense,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said to lead out his postgame press conference. “I really haven’t come up with a word yet to describe it. First and foremost, it was outstanding, it was phenomenal, it was awesome. It was a relentless, competitive effort, down in and down in and down in and down in. Can’t say enough about how excited we are about the way our defense played. I think we gave up 18 rushing yards in the entire game. They kept us in it the whole day.”

With just over two minutes left in the second quarter, the Raiders were leading 7-3. The Broncos were just 1 of 6 on third downs with three punts. Then in a span of 1:56, the Raiders turned the ball over twice, and the Broncos capitalized with scores on both.

The first was an unforced fumble in the open field by Josh Jacobs, leading to a field goal. The second was an interception by Bradley Chubb on a screen attempt that Chubb returned to the one-yard-line. The Broncos would score the touchdown on one play. It was five yards, 10 points, and a 13-7 Broncos lead at the half.

The Broncos would get no more.

An already stiff Raiders defense gave up just 62 yards of offense in the second half, with just three first downs. The only chance the Broncos had to score was off a third Raiders turnover when Derek Carr fumbled on a sack. The Broncos would reach the Las Vegas 37 and miss a 55-yard field goal.

It’s all the more impressive performance considering the Raiders were without starting cornerback Trayvon Mullen (IR), fill-in starting cornerback Brandon Facyson (COVID-19), and starting defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

It required former practice squad, cornerback Desmond Trufant, to step up, and he did, leading the team with seven tackles.

Helping tremendously was the return of Pro Bowl linebacker Denzel Perryman, who finished second on the team in tackles (five).

Denzel is a special cat,” Maxx Crosby said of Perryman. “The way he plays, you can tell it matters to him. The way he hits people, I would not want to be hit by that man; I don’t care how small he is. He puts a dent in everybody. He’s just a different type of player. He’s relentless, he brings leadership, and he’s a guy you can trust back there.”

Maxx Crosby was also prominent in the game, notching his first sack in nine games, giving him six on the season. The new Pro Bowl edge rusher added a couple of tackles for loss and a QB hit.

One of the players stepping up in the absence of Johnathan Hankins was Quinton Jefferson, who made a sack on the Broncos’ final offensive play of the game.

The Raiders offense had three turnovers but helped the defense stay fresh in the second half by running all over the Broncos. Josh Jacobs shook off his fumble to run for over 100 yards in the second half alone and finish with 129 yards on 27 carries.

Stop them on defense and controlling the clock on offense is a tried-and-true formula for winning games. It has allowed the Raiders to win the past two weeks despite the offense turning the ball over five times and putting up just 33 combined points in those games.

If they win the final two games against the Colts and Chargers, they make the playoffs. They can also lose another game and still make it. Something that seemed like an impossibility just a couple of weeks ago.


The next game for the Raiders will be against the Colts in Indianapolis in a Week 17 matchup. The kickoff will be at 10:00 pm and can be seen on CBS.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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