FSM Essential Recap: Broncos at Raiders – Week 4

Las Vegas Raiders (1-3) | Denver Broncos (2-2)

Franchise Sports Media


For the Silver & Black, it was essentially all on the line against the Broncos in Week 4. Considering the Raiders’ 0-3 start and McDaniels’ previous bid as Denver’s head coach (that went disastrously), Las Vegas had all the motivation one could ask for.


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Back at the Death Star, a raucous crowd filed in: Restless but yet eager. With that in mind, supporters of Denver also showed up in numbers (something that never happened when home games were played in Oakland or Los Angeles).

If you caught my Broncos-Raiders preview article earlier in the week, then you know I’m focused on the pass rush getting to Russ, dealing with Denver’s front seven, and Davante’s production against Pat Surtain II (especially in the fourth quarter).

Despite any subplot or off-field storyline, Raiders vs Broncos is a heated rivalry every year; The two sides’ detest for one another is well-documented. This season, the AFC West is thicker than ever, and with injuries to several of the Chargers’ key players, Vegas and Denver have a more advantageous shot at securing a playoff berth. Simply put, these head-to-head divisional games are exponentially important. With all that in mind, the Raiders took the field Sunday with their 2022 season in jeopardy.

As always, before diving into this week’s recap, check the 53-man roster. After all, it’s only Week 4, but Raider Nation is already operating with a sense of urgency!


Previous contests

HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)


1st Quarter

Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

After winning the coin toss, the Raiders elected to roll with the offense first. In lockstep with Vegas’ previous three games, the Silver & Black managed to produce points on their first possession. Brandon Bolden returned the opening kickoff for 32 yards–A decision that gave the Raider sideline some early energy. From there, Vegas established the run game with a few touches to Josh Jacobs (a recurring theme of the day).

At midfield, Carr then set his sights on Davante Adams, completing a pretty back-shoulder fade for a 20-yard gain. Also, on this drive, CB Pat Surtain II made plays on Adams (a fun individual battle throughout the entire game). After a Darren Waller short reception, the drive stalled inside the red zone. Carlson, yet to miss an FG in 2022, converted the 26-yard chip shot: 3-0 Raiders.

Now for our first look at Russell Wilson in a Broncos uniform at Allegiant Stadium. He hit his first couple of passes on slants over the middle, moving the chains once. However, the Raiders were grateful to have a few starters back on the defensive side of the ball, most notably Denzel Perryman (although not for long). Perryman chimed in early for a TFL on the next series, followed by a team sack credited to Nate Hobbs for a seven-yard loss: Down goes Wilson!

For Vegas, the next possession would render as possibly their worst of the day. Going three-and-out, the Raiders managed to net -11 yards (a false start on Eluemunor and Carr sack) before punting the ball back to the Broncos some two minutes later. To really make it sting, Denver return man Montrell Washington (who made plays all afternoon) surged to the ball in Vegas territory after making a few gunners miss.

Starting on the Raiders’ side of the field, Russ would then find the end zone in four plays, starting with a seam pass to TE Eric Staubert for 25 yards. Well inside the red zone, rush attempts from RB Javonte Willams were stuffed, but Wilson came through on 3rd down; A 5-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Courtland Sutton did the trick. With our first lead change of the day, Denver was up 7-3.

On the final drive of 1Q, the Raiders’ offense played with conviction. Jacobs continued to roll by adding another catch and run before Carr picked up a 1st down with his own legs. Denver was then flagged for a neutral zone infraction, closing out the opening quarter’s action. With the ball already near midfield, it was an easy flip to 2Q.

2nd Quarter

Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas continued what would wind up being an 11-play/75-yard drive by trusting in Jacobs and Adams. Again of note, Adams and Surtain II competing on the outside was iron-on-iron. However, it was Jacobs who rumbled the ball down inside the red zone on this drive (and was ultimately the star on Sunday). After a Mack Hollins touchdown was called back (correctly; Mack only got one foot in bounds), Jacobs took it upon himself to seal the deal, bullying over a couple of defenders for a 10-yard touchdown run. With the roar of Raider Nation, Vegas is back head, leading 10-7.

In a surprise to everyone, the Raiders’ next move was a covert-onside kick. Having nearly pulled off the trick, Denver caught a lucky bounce after bobbling the ball around for a moment. Now with a short field, Wilson found Jerry Jeudy on a 32-yard fade down the right sideline. In the red zone, the Broncos’ drive would stall thereafter standout plays from Hobbs and Amik Robertson (more from Robertson later). Still, K Brandon McManus had no issue kicking through a 28-yard FG to tie things up at 10 a-piece.

The Raiders didn’t have much to show on their next offensive drive, going three-and-out (with Surtain II making a nice play on Adams). A.J. Cole trotted out to boom another punt, only for PR Washington to bring it back to midfield.

Denver’s next possession could very well be the one to look back on as that point at which the Raiders’ season changed courses (obviously for the better). It seemed like the Broncos were stealing the momentum, especially after converting a 4th & 1 rush up the gut via Javonte Williams (who was shaken up and exited the game). However, after coming in for Williams, Melvin Gordon III ran the ball into the Raiders’ second-level before S Duron Harmon poked it out and directly into the hands of Amik Robertson, who then showed great vision and athleticism to return the fumble for a 68-yard touchdown.


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

In full eruption, that was purely the loudest moment I have heard at Allegiant Stadium (although I was absent for the 2021 reg. season finale against the Bolts). In a frenzy, I don’t believe anyone actually noticed that Carlson missed the XP, leaving the score at 16-10 L.V.

Yet, Russ and the Broncos returned to the field, only to score in a flash. Going 75 yards in under two minutes/only five plays (thanks mostly to a 35-yard reception up the left seam from Kendall Hinton), Wilson tossed a 20-yard touchdown to Jeudy. I guess McManus didn’t want Carlson to feel left out, so McManus went and missed an XP of his own. Yes, it’s tied at 16-16.

Before closing the half, Derek Carr took it upon himself to produce a few more points. With less than two minutes, Carr went no-huddle, finding Jacobs and Hollins for positive plays. To move the chains on 3rd down, Carr trusted in his legs (rushing the ball seven times for 40 yards on the day). A couple of plays later, he did so again for a 20-yard gain into Broncos’ territory. With the 2Q clock expiring, Carlson converted a 39-yard field goal to regain the lead (19-16) before halftime.

LB Denzel Perryman was ruled OUT at halftime (concussion)


3rd Quarter

Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The third quarter featured only three possessions each. After the Broncos got their opening drive started with a quality 1st down run from RB Mike Boone, Maxx Crosby was able to thwart the Denver possession there by mowing over Russell Wilson for a quarterback sack. After forcing the punt, the Raiders’ offense came out only to rapidly go three-and-out, punting the ball right back to Denver.

What did the Broncos have to show for their next drive? Nothing. Crosby sacked Wilson for a second time (part of The Condor’s four TFL on Sunday) and ensured Denver would go three-and-out again. For Las Vegas, Jacobs then added his longest run of the day (a 42-yard shifty scamper), bursting into the red zone. A couple of stuffed dives followed before Waller caught a ball down at the DEN-1-yard line. Unfortunately, the Raiders would have to settle for a field goal after stalling; Carlson’s 22-yard FG is good, and the Raiders extend their lead to 22-16.

Las Vegas’ defense continued to play well in the third quarter, with Hobbs nearly picking off an errant Wilson pass. Still, after incurring a holding penalty, the Broncos could not manage a first down, punting back to the Raiders.

4th Quarter

Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The following possession would be a forgettable one for Vegas, going three-and-out after Denver’s defense was momentarily able to bottle up Jacobs. However, Cole’s ensuing punt was a gem, pinning the Broncos down at their own 1-yard line. Now with their backs against the wall, Denver’s offense could only manage Russell Wilson completing a pass to himself (?) en route to going three-and-out.

Carr marched his offense back out to the field with some swagger. To get things moving, he completed consecutive 1st down passes to Adams and Hollins. Then, to get into Carlson’s range, Carr found Waller on a connection over the middle. From an easy 30 yards out, Carlson converted his fourth field goal of the day.

At this point, we’ve already seen in every Raiders’ fourth quarter the Vegas offense and defense have numerous opportunities to seal/steal a victory. With 0-3 looming over their heads like a September-flash flood, could the offense do the job? Finally, the answer was yes.

Taking over five minutes of game clock, Carr (and Jacobs) took the Silver & Black on a methodical, 10-play touchdown drive. Naturally, Adams also added a couple of major receptions, as his 4Q production had vanished over Vegas’ last two contests. In the most fitting way, the drive was sealed by a seven-yard touchdown run from Josh. With the numbers now 32-23 Las Vegas, could Denver rally two scores in two minutes?

No, that would be all from the Broncos. A short Wilson scramble followed by three incompletions would be all she wrote from the Death Star. And just like that, with the newly-crowned WNBA World Champion Las Vegas Aces serving as the game’s guests of honor and all thoughts and prayers on the 5th anniversary ofVegas Strong,” the Raiders got their first win of the 2022 season …




Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Josh Jacobs needs to be a bonafide emphasis of this offense.

And thinking back to all the production McDanielsNew England offenses got from the backfield, this should fit right in with the current scheme. Against the Broncos, Jacobs had his best game of the 2022 season, touting the rock 28 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, his skills as a receiver can keep opposing defenses off balance (Jacobs also caught five passes for 31 more yards).

Yes, receivers like Adams, Waller, Renfrow, and Hollins will always make a quarterback’s eyes big, but when everyone is looking at them, let Jacobs punish defenders up the middle.


The offensive line is slowly improving.

Las Vegas has still yet to have a nightmare week on the OL, like the one from Week 1. On Sunday, they dealt with a fierce Denver front relatively well and only allowed Carr to be sacked twice. In the run game, they got consistent push up-front, allowing the team to churn out 212 total rushing yards. Also, I believe they were only flagged twice (Eluemunor, Miller).


The Las Vegas secondary is playing very fast, in a good way.

Between Amik Robertson, Nate Hobbs, Duron Harmon, and Johnathan Abram, this unit is scrappy and speedy. Also, with the return of Tre’von Moehrig, things can start to come full circle with him in center field. Harmon has shown a knack for dislodging the football, while Robertson (see his first career touchdown in 2Q) and Webb always seem to be around the football. However, I will say having an athletic backer like Divine Deablo in front of them certainly helps.



The Raiders will hit the road to face another divisional rival, the Kansas City Chiefs, on Monday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium. Nationally televised on ESPN, kickoff is scheduled for Oct. 10 at 5:15 pm PST (local radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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