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Other Week 16 Game Recaps

Week 16 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 14, Oakland Raiders 27

What you need to know

Denver Broncos

Matt LaCosse, Denver's third starting tight end of 2018, was the only inactive offensive player, with Brian Parker stepping in as the next man up at the position. Phillip Lindsay passed 1,000 yards rushing as an undrafted rookie. Lindsay exited the contest in the second half with a wrist injury that has been diagnosed as severe, with a possible fracture and ligament damage. Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker should split work at RB next week.

Oakland Raiders

-The Raiders rookie offensive tackles held up surprisingly well against the Broncos elite edge-rush tandem.

-Jordy Nelson was the clear top target, seeing 5 more targets than any other receiver.

-Doug Martin dominated the backfield touches and notched his first 100-yard game in more than three years.

-The Raiders jumped out to a three-score lead in the first half and were able to play conservatively, with a lot of runs and short throws off of play action.

Denver Broncos

QB Case Keenum, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 37 - 202 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0
Keenum had a slow first half, then managed to muster up a couple of touchdowns after halftime before sealing the game with two interceptions late in the 4th quarter. Keenum threw up a couple of "hospital balls" in the 1st quarter, getting Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton laid out on a pair of poorly placed deep throws. Keenum got a break at the end of the 1st quarter when a defender tipped the ball while he was pitching an option to Lindsay on 4th and 1. The ball hit the ground but bounced right back into Lindsay's breadbasket. Keenum scrambled to buy time and made a nice 20 yard connection with Courtland Sutton with less than 10 seconds in the 1st half, setting up a long Brandon McManus field goal attempt just before halftime. Keenum found Tim Patrick down the right sideline for a 26 yard gain in the 3rd quarter. Keenum and Hamiltion hooked up for Denver's first touchdown of the day. Hamilton lined up in the slot on the left side of the formation and separated from his defender with a nice cut on a corner route. Keenum hit Hamilton with a perfect pass just as the receiver broke open in the back of the end zone. Keenum scrambled to buy time for his second touchdown pass, then found Courtland Sutton in the back of the end zone for a 19 yard score. The Raiders challenged that Keenum had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing, but the touchdown stood after review.

Keenum's first interception was a terrible decision to throw to Tim Patrick in triple coverage late in the 4th quarter. HIs second interception wasn't much better as he desperately heaved the ball into more triple coverage on 4th and 19 near the end of the game. Keenum managed 19 yards on the ground. He broke a couple of tackles on a 17 yard highlight reel scramble that converted 3rd and long in the 3rd quarter.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 46 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)
Lindsay managed 10 carries before exiting in the 2nd half with a wrist injury. He passed the 1,000 yard mark on the season with an 11 yard carry in the 1st quarter. A defender tipped a pitch from Keenum on a 1st quarter option play and nearly resulted in a fumble, but the ball took a fortunate bounce into Lindsay's hands. Lindsay had a nice catch and run on a play action out route in the 3rd quarter that picked up 10 yards. His other reception was a short checkdown for a minimal gain.

RB Royce Freeman, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 21 - 0 (1 targets)
Despite Lindsay leaving the game in the 3rd quarter, Freeman only managed 7 carries for minimal yardage. Devontae Booker worked into the running back rotation earlier, moving around the formation to different positions on passing downs. Freeman should see plenty of early-down work next week with Lindsay officially out. Freeman couldn't secure a poorly thrown screen pass from Keenum late in the 4th, his only target.

RB Devontae Booker, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 21 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets)
Booker saw action on the opening drive of the game, relieving starter Lindsay and hauling in a checkdown pass that didn't quite convert 3rd and long. He had another big gain called back for offensive pass interference in the 3rd quarter. Booker lined up in the slot and caught a curl route in the 4th quarter. Booker caught a halfback screen later in the 4th for another solid gain. He also managed 21 yards rushing on just three carries. Booker should see some extra snaps next week with Lindsay officially out.

RB Andy Janovich, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets)
Janovich hauled in an out route from the fullback position and hurdled a defender for an impressive 11 yard gain in the 1st quarter.

WR Courtland Sutton, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 65 - 1 (10 targets)
Sutton led the Denver receiving core with 10 targets and 65 yards, and found the end zone in the 4th quarter. He got to work early, hauling in an out route on the opening drive of the game. Sutton took a hard shot on a poorly thrown deep ball from Keenum in the 1st quarter. He narrowly missed a diving connection on another deep ball at the end of the quarter. The play was initially ruled a catch, but Oakland successfully challenged the ruling. Sutton made a clutch catch on a deep crossing route with less than 10 seconds in the 1st half, setting up a long Brandon McManus field goal attempt. Sutton was quiet in the 2nd half until he hauled in a slant route midway through the 4th quarter. He capped the drive with a touchdown reception, working open in the back of the end zone as Keenum scrambled to buy time for the 19 yard connection.

WR DaeSean Hamilton, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 40 - 1 (9 targets)
Hamilton held down slot duties with Patrick and Sutton doing most of the work outside. Hamilton got rolling in the 2nd quarter with an out route for a minimal gain. He used a nifty double move to get open up the seam for a 15 yard gain in the 2nd quarter. Keenum loaded up a deep ball for Hamilton on a 3rd quarter post route, but overthrew it badly. Hamilton took a hard hit but held on for another reception on a curl route in the 3rd quarter. He capped the same drive off with a touchdown, breaking outside from the left slot on a well-timed corner route. Hamilton secured one more short crossing route to convert 3rd and 3 in the 4th quarter.

WR Tim Patrick, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (5 targets)
Patrick worked the outside receiver positions with Sutton, while Hamilton held down most of the slot duties. Patrick took a bit of a backseat to a healthier Sutton in this one. He took a hard hit from safety Karl Joseph on his first target, a deep post that was knocked to the turf in the 1st quarter. Keenum loaded up a deep ball down the right sideline in the 3rd quarter, and Patrick made a beautiful leaping grab over his defender. Patrick caught a back shoulder throw up the right sideline for a solid gain in the 4th quarter. Keenum found him again on an out route on the following play.

Patrick carried the ball once on a jet sweep that was snuffed out in the backfield for a loss in the 1st quarter.

TE Brian Parker, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (3 targets)
Parker got the nod as the 4th starting tight end for Denver this year, with Matt LaCosse inactive for week 16 and Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman already on IR. Despite a tantalizing matchup against the Oakland secondary, Parker only hauled in 2 of 3 targets for 10 yards total. His first catch lost a yard on a short out route in the 1st quarter. Parker had a solid catch and run up the left sidelines for an 11 yard gain at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.

Oakland Raiders

QB Derek Carr, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 26 - 167 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0
Carr had a solid outing in the rare game where the Raiders were mostly able to control things with their defense, special teams, and running game. It looked like the Raiders ran a lot of read option plays with Carr reading the outside linebacker and throwing a quick pass to the tight end in the flat if the linebacker stayed to the middle of the field or handing off if the quick throw outside wasn’t there. They had some suc-cess with the play, throwing to both Jared Cook and Darren Waller. It also helped open up some room between the tackles for Doug Martin. Carr took an early sack but otherwise the pass protection held up surprisingly well. He did a good job navigating the pocket and made a couple plays after scrambling to extend the play, including an 11-yard pass to Seth Roberts to setup a field goal just before halftime. With Oakland controlling the game and playing with a big lead most of the way, there were even fewer deep shots than normal. Carr threw a lot of quick passes to the flats and checked down to short passes quite a bit even when he did have time to throw. The safe strategy made sense this week given the early lead and Carr extended his streak to 10 games without an interception.

RB Doug Martin, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 107 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)
Martin had his first 100-yard rushing game since November of 2015. Oakland was able to build an early lead on a special teams touchdown and was playing great de-fense, which allowed a run-heavy game plan. Martin dominated the backfield touches, handling 21 of the 26 carries by Raiders backs. He went untouched for a 24-yard touchdown off of right tackle. The Broncos defense crashed down inside and there was nobody left for outside contain. Martin did a nice job of quickly getting north-south and consistently picking up positive yardage to keep the offense in manageable downs and distances. There wasn’t anything fancy but Martin was efficient in getting what was blocked and finishing runs strong. Martin had decent success running out of the I-formation behind fullback Keith Smith. He followed Smith for a 14-yard gain in the red zone down to the 6-yard line. Martin missed out on a second rushing touch-down because he tapped his helmet to come out after three straight tough runs. His replacement ran in a short touchdown on the next play.

RB Jalen Richard, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 1, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (5 targets)
It was relatively positive to see Richard get eight touches despite a game script that worked against him. The Raiders jumped out to a three-score lead in the first half and mostly leaned on Doug Martin and the power-running game to bleed the clock. Richard showed solid power on a 4-yard touchdown run right up the middle to ice the game. He was probably only in there because Martin tapped out after three straight tough red zone carries.

WR Jordy Nelson, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 75 - 0 (10 targets)
Nelson was the clear go-to guy in the pass offense, seeing twice as many targets as any other Raiders pass catcher. On his first target, he was unable to make a one-handed grab on a go route down the sideline. Nelson started to get hot in the two-minute drill before halftime. He caught back-to-back deep slants for gains of 16 and 14 yards. Nelson also picked up 12 yards on another slant route to convert a 3rd-and-4 to keep the chains moving on the Raiders lone second-half touchdown drive.

WR Seth Roberts, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets)
Roberts played less than half of the snaps, with the Raiders playing a lot of two-tight end sets and also utilizing a fullback at times. All three of Roberts’ targets came in the two-minute offense in the final minute before halftime. He had an 11-yard gain on a dump off over the middle after Carr scrambled, showing toughness to push for the first down.

WR Marcell Ateman, 47 offensive snaps
Ateman played 47 of 62 snaps, second-most amongst the receivers, but wasn’t targeted at all. He was flagged for a false start.

TE Jared Cook, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
Cook caught a pair of short swing passes in the first quarter and then wasn’t able to come up with the ball on a slant route. He also drew a pass interference penalty early in the second quarter but was a complete afterthought the rest of the way.

TE Darren Waller, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets)
Waller rotated in for Jared Cook and ran similar routes. He picked up a couple short gains on quick flat routes, one of which was off of the RPO play the Raiders used often.