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Week 1 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 41, Oakland Raiders 14
What you need to know
The Denver Broncos dominated the Oakland defensive line, giving QB Jay Cutler all day to sit in the pocket and throw the ball. Cutler showed exceptional accuracy while on the move, connecting with his receivers on several deep balls.
RB Andre Hall, Michael Pittman and Selvin Young split playing time throughout the night. It seemed like Pittman was used almost exclusively on the goalline, and Hall and Young got the other reps. Young did get a short rushing touchdown late in the game, but Pittman was in for most of the goalline snaps.
WR Eddie Royal made a huge impact during the game. He ran exceptional routes and tore apart DeAngelo Hall. He had great chemistry with Jay Cutler. Brandon Marshall was serving a suspension during this game.
The Raiders could never get anything going on either side of the ball. They had ten penalties on the night, often killing any semblance of momentum. Their defensive line could not touch Denver's zone blocking scheme.
QB JaMarcus Russell still managed to produce a solid game by showing off his arm strength and solid decision making. He managed to be mobile enough around the pocket to gain a little extra time as well.
RB Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas split time in the game. Fargas seemed to be featured more often and got more carries, and McFadden was used as a change of pace and a playmaker. Both ran the ball effectively against a Denver's notoriously poor run defense, even though Oakland often lost ground to Denver defensive lineman.
What you ought to know
|QB Jay Cutler, Pass: 16 - 24 - 299 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 9 - 0|
Cutler had a great night passing the ball. He managed the offense efficiently and had an aura of confidence doing so. There was virtually zero pressure on him all night, although he did take a big hit while trying to run for a first down at the end of the first half. He was not phased though, coming out just as hot in the second half and closing the game out with ease.
|RB Andre Hall, Rush: 10 - 61 - 0|
Hall was part of the Denver backfield. He saw the most carries, and ran the ball really well. He was able to bounce off of the tired defenders and looked solid out there like all the Denver running backs did.
|RB Michael Pittman, Rush: 7 - 13 - 2|
Pittman had the most carries in goalline situations, and he took full advantage of that by scoring a pair of touchdowns.
|RB Selvin Young, Rush: 7 - 36 - 1|
Young was splitting time with Hall and Pittman. He managed to bounce off of a couple of defenders and showed good cutback ability. Oakland could not keep up with Denver's rushing attack, and Young benefited from this.
|RB Peyton Hillis, Rush: 3 - 14 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)|
Hillis saw some action with the offense, getting two targets and three rushes, although one of the passes he dropped.
|WR Eddie Royal, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0, Rec: 9 - 146 - 1 (13 targets)|
Royal was the big story of the night. He ran exceptional routes, showed good decision making, and was elusive once he secure the ball. He developed a synergy with Cutler that could not be ignored. He scored one official touchdown, but would have had another had it not been for an illegal formation penalty.
|WR Nate Jackson, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (3 targets)|
Jackson was the obvious third receiver for the Broncos, and he caught two of the three balls thrown his way.
|WR Brandon Stokley, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (5 targets)|
Stokley only caught two of the five balls thrown his way, but most of the time he was a check down for Cutler who put the ball where only Stokley had a chance to catch it. He ran mostly intermediate routes on the night.
|WR Darrell Jackson, Rec: 1 - 48 - 1 (1 targets)|
Darrell Jackson came in for one play when Eddie Royal needed a break and made the most of it, catching a 48 yard touchdown pass from Cutler.
|TE Tony Scheffler, Rec: 1 - 72 - 0 (2 targets)|
Scheffler only had two targets on the night, but they were both on huge plays. The first one he caught for a 72 yard gain on a seam route. The second target he dropped a pass in the end zone that should have been caught.
|PK Matt Prater 2 - 2 FG, 5 - 5 XP, 11 points|
Prater was kicking the ball really well, all of his kicks were powerful and accurate.
|DEN Rush Defense|
The Denver rush defense was unimpressive for the majority of the night. The first drive of the game, when Denver was fresh, Oakland ran the ball eight straight times and marched right down the field before JaMarcus Russell turned the ball over on a fumble. They had issues bringing down McFadden and Fargas on first contact, but were often bailed out by penalties by the Raiders.
|DEN Pass Defense|
The Denver pass defense was mediocre. They did not put a ton of pressure on JaMarcus Russell nor did they confuse the young quarterback with their coverages. Russell was able to look solid on the night despite his team losing by 27 points.
|QB JaMarcus Russell, Pass: 17 - 26 - 180 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 7 - 0|
Russell played a solid game most of the night considering how the line blocked. He had one big mistake on a screen pass where he just lost control of the football and turned the ball over in the red zone. Other than that he showed off an extremely strong arm, some good mobility, and pretty good accuracy. At the beginning of the game the coaching staff was conservative but as they fell behind Russell was able to showcase his talents -- unfortunately several balls were off of fingertips or dropped.
|RB Justin Fargas, Rush: 18 - 97 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)|
Fargas ran very well on the night, making the most out of what Denver gave him. He was often able to fall forward and get the extra yard or two. He looked good out there considering the line did not give him much to work with. He also got twice as many carries as McFadden.
|RB Darren McFadden, Rush: 9 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)|
McFadden played well, gaining over five yards per carry. He showed an impressive quickness through holes and played one down at quarterback on the night, although he handed the ball off.
|RB Justin Griffith, Rec: 3 - 39 - 0 (3 targets)|
Griffith caught all three balls thrown his way and showed some skill at running with the ball by gaining a couple extra of yards after he got hit.
|WR Ashley Lelie, Rec: 3 - 37 - 1 (5 targets)|
Ashley Lelie managed to produce a solid game, catching three balls on the night including a touchdown.
|WR Chaz Schilens, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (3 targets)|
Schilens was the third receiver for the Raiders and made a couple of nice catches on the night.
|WR Ronald Curry, Rec: 2 - 18 - 1 (6 targets)|
Curry was able to separate himself from the Denver secondary a few times, but only caught two of the four balls thrown his way. He dropped one key pass when it looked like Oakland was finally gaining some momentum, but the drive subsequently stalled after the drop.
|TE Zach Miller, Rec: 4 - 34 - 0 (6 targets)|
Miller was targeted six times by Russell, but five of them were on short passes. The deep pass Miller had thrown to him he caught for 21 yards. He was held on an end zone target that ended up being incomplete with no penalty called. The night ended up okay for Miller, but could have been better.
|PK Sebastian Janikowski 0 - 0 FG, 2 - 2 XP, 2 points|
Janikowski made two extra points and saw no other action Monday night.
|OAK Rush Defense|
The Oakland rush defense was average for most of the night, preventing Denver's zone blocking scheme to open up too many big holes. It did seem like they wore down as the game went on though, as early in the game they did make several good stops among allowing five and six yard gains, but that was absent in the second half.
|OAK Pass Defense|
Jay Cutler lit up the Oakland pass defense. It started with Denver's offensive line, which controlled the Oakland pass rush giving Cutler all day to make decisions. The secondary could not keep up with Eddie Royal either, giving up 146 yards to the rookie.