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Week 1 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 16, Oakland Raiders 24


What you need to know

Denver Broncos

The Broncos offense struggled to finish drives, settling for field goals in the red zone three times before finally scoring a touchdown late in the 4th. The Bronco scored with 2:15 left in the game and three timeouts remaining, narrowing Oakland's lead to 8 points, but the defense couldn't get a stop as the Raiders ran the clock out. Halfbacks Lindsay and Freeman look to be in a timeshare, with Lindsay drawing more work in the passing game. Receiver Sutton and new QB Flacco showed good chemistry throughout the game, with Flacco taking several deep shots to Sutton. Star wideout Sanders had a slow first half, but saved his day with a strong 4th quarter stat line. WR Tim Patrick and RT Ju'Wuan James both missed the second half with injuries.

Oakland Raiders

-Josh Jacobs shined in the workhorse role, handling 89% of the running back touches and scoring twice.

-Tyrell Williams operated as a true No. 1 receiver, rarely leaving the field and lead-ing the team in targets. He looked comfortable in the role and could be primed for a big season.

-Darren Waller was the 1B to Williams’ 1A in the passing offense. He was fantastic, grabbing all seven receptions and never leaving the field.

-The Raiders base offense looks like it will feature two tight ends (Waller and Mo-reau) with Williams and Grant as the starting wide receivers.

Denver Broncos

QB Joe Flacco, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 31 - 268 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0
It was a slow debut for Flacco, who took several sacks(two that killed drives on third down in the Oakland red zone) and didn't find the end zone until late in the 4th quarter. He did show good chemistry with Courtland Sutton on deep throws, and managed to get things going with Sanders late in the game as well. Flacco hit Deasean Hamilton right in the hands for what should have been a touchdown at the end of the 3rd quarter, but the receiver let the pass fall to the turf and Denver had to settle for a field goal. Flacco found Emmanuel Sanders on a deep bomb right down the middle of the field in the 4th quarter, his longest gain of the day at 53 yards. Flacco and Sanders hooked up again on a short back shoulder out route for Denver's only touchdown of the day at the end of the 4th quarter. The defense had a chance to hold the Raiders up by 8 with 2:15 left and three timeouts, but they couldn't get a stop to give the offense another chance.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 43 - 0, Rec: 4 - 23 - 0 (6 targets)
Lindsay was featured for the first couple of offensive drives, but the backfield quickly devolved into a timeshare with Freeman. Lindsay caught his first target for a minimal gain on a halfback screen in the 1st quarter, then snagged a swing route out of the backfield on the next play, crashing through a couple of defenders for hard fought yardage. Lindsay lined up wide right and wide left as a receiver at the end of the 1st half of play, but didn't record any catches while flexed out. Flacco checked it down to him a couple more times in the second half of the game, but Lindsay couldn't get much going via ground(long run of 9 yards) or air in this one.

RB Royce Freeman, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 56 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)
Lindsay was featured in the backfield for the Bronco's first two drives, but Freeman got in on the action later in the 1st quarter. His biggest gain of the day was a 26 yard run that he bounced off right tackle and turned up the sidelines in the 3rd quarter.

Freeman caught a checkdown pass from Flacco at the end of the 1st half, picking up a few yards underneath prevent coverage. Freeman split out wide left in a bunch formation in the Oakland red zone in the 3rd quarter, catching a bubble screen that got blown up behind the line of scrimmage.

WR Courtland Sutton, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 120 - 0 (8 targets)
Sutton was a bright spot for the Denver offense, providing a big target across the middle and deep downfield for Flacco. Sutton ripped off a deep post for a big gain in the first quarter only to have the play called back for a block in the back on tight end Fant. Sutton made a beautiful catch in traffic on a deep crossing route later in the 1st. He then ripped off another big gain up the right seam to start the 3rd quarter, breaking several tackles on his way to a 30 yard gain. Flacco round him on a deep crossing route for a gain of 25 yards in the 4th quarter. Flacco hit him again across the middle later in the 4th quarter, and Sutton was just a couple of yards short of a touchdown.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 86 - 1 (7 targets)
Sanders didn't get going until late in the 1st half, pulling in a slant route for a short gain from the slot on his first target. He turned up the heat in the 4th quarter with a 53 yard gain straight down the middle of the field on a bomb from Flacco. Sanders tiptoed down the sidelines and spun away from a tackle for a big run after the catch on the next drive, then capped it off with a touchdown on a back shoulder short out route from the Oakland two yard line with just over two minutes left. Sanders was second on the team in targets and looked to be behind Sutton as Flacco's number 2 option for most of the game.

WR DaeSean Hamilton, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (4 targets)
Hamilton's first catch was part luck, part great reflexes as Courtland Sutton cut in front of him on a slant route and deflected the ball, where Hamilton deftly plucked it from the air for a short gain. Hamilton was forced out of bounds on what was nearly a beautiful toe-tapping catch later in the 2nd quarter. Hamilton caught one more pass for no gain in the 3rd quarter as Flacco threw behind him on what could have been a big play. Hamilton's biggest play of the night was a bad one, as he dropped a touchdown at the end of the 3rd quarter, forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal.

TE Noah Fant, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (5 targets)
Fant got the start at tight end alongside Heuerman in two TE sets, but he didn't secure a pass until the 3rd quarter, when he made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch on a corner route for a 20 yard gain. He had one more short gain on an out route late in the 3rd quarter. Fant carried the ball once on a tight end sweep that was dropped for a five yard loss on the first drive of the game. No other tight ends were targeted in the passing game.


Oakland Raiders

QB Derek Carr, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 26 - 259 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0
Carr was fantastic in his 2019 debut. He looked confident and in control of the offense and seemed to be having fun, which was a rarity in 2018. He was extremely efficient, completing 85% of his passes. He showed a real rapport with both Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller, who look to be his top targets. After a couple long hookups with Waller to get into the red zone, Carr finished off the opening drive of the game with a bullet between defenders to Williams for an 8-yard touchdown. Carr looked comfortable on play action, executing fakes and turning to find open receivers across the middle. Carr also showed a bit more playmaking than last year. He scrambled on a third down in the red zone and fired a 10-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow just shy of the end zone to setup the Raiders second touchdown. Carr audibled to a play action pass on a 3rd-and-1 when he saw Williams in single coverage and was able to connect on a deep ball for a 43-yard pickup. Facing 3rd-and-8 at the two minute warning, Carr went to Gruden and suggested a screen to Williams. Gruden agreed and Carr was able to complete the pass for 10 yards to essentially ice the game. Overall, it was one of Carr’s best performances in recent years.

RB Josh Jacobs, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 85 - 2, Rec: 1 - 28 - 0 (1 targets)
Jacobs was a true workhorse in his NFL debut. He played 73% of the snaps and handled 89% of the backfield touches. He showed great power between the tackles, twisting through attempted tackles and consistently falling forward to keep the Raiders offense on schedule. Richard leaped over the pile and then twisted to extend the ball over the goal line for a 2-yard touchdown late in the first half. He was able to hit the hole quickly on a third and short and broke through the line for an 11-yard gain. Jacobs made a game-changing play on a 28-yard catch and run. He caught it short over the middle, accelerated between two would-be tacklers, and then plowed through two other defenders and stayed on his feet to pick up another 10 yards. A few plays later, Jacobs squirted through a small hole off of right tackle, was able to keep his feet despite taking a hit, and powered his way into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. Jacobs locked up the win with a powerful 13-yard run with just under two minutes left that allowed the Raiders to take a knee and escape with an 8-point win. It also put Jacobs over 100 yards on the day, making him the first rookie back to get 100 total yards and score wise since LaDanian Tomlinson in 2001. All in all, it was a dream debut for Jacobs.

RB DeAndre Washington, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0
Washington played just five snaps. He made a nice cut and spun through the first tackle attempt for a gain of seven yards. Washington was stacked up at the line for a minimal gain on his only other carry.

RB Jalen Richard, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0
Richard played nine snaps, mostly on third downs. He handled just one touch. He took a draw on 3rd-and-4 for a three yard gain, getting dragged down just inches short.

WR Tyrell Williams, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 105 - 1 (7 targets)
Williams almost never left the field, playing 52-of-55 snaps on the day. He looked good in his first chance as a true No. 1 receiver. Williams showed great extension to reach out and pluck the ball in front of him for an 8-yard touchdown on a crossing route on the game’s opening drive. He was wide open for an easy 15-yard catch over the middle off of play action. Williams beat single coverage on a 3rd-and-1 and got behind the defense for a 43-yard catch. Carr took another deep shot to Williams on a deep post but it was well-covered by the Broncos. Williams grabbed a 24-yard completion on a skinny post near the end zone, leaping up and snatching the ball above Chris Harris. Williams made one of the key plays of the game late, picking up 10 yards on a 3rd-and-8 screen pass at the two minute warning with the Raiders nursing a one-score lead. His Raiders debut couldn’t have gone much better and Williams looks like a potential impact fantasy option moving forward.

WR Ryan Grant, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)
Grant was the clear No. 2 receiver for the Raiders, playing 73% of the snaps. Aside from Tyrell Williams, he was the only Raiders receiver to play more than 30%. Grant made a tough 5-yard grab against tight coverage to move the chains on an early 3rd-and-4. Grant dove to the ground to snag a low pass on a slant route for a 9-yard gain. After the opening drive, he was only targeted twice.

WR Hunter Renfrow, 16 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)
Renfrow was the clear third receiver for the Raiders but still played just 29% of the snaps because the Raiders mostly lined up in 12 or 21 personnel. His first catch went for a short gain on a bubble screen. Renfrow was targeted on a quick out but the pass was batted at the line. Renfrow found a soft spot in the zone over the middle and made a 10-yard grab just shy of the end zone. He wasn’t targeted at all in the second half.

TE Darren Waller, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 70 - 0 (8 targets)
Waller was a clear beneficiary of Antonio Brown going AWOL and lived up to every bit of the offseason hype. He was on the field for every single snap and garnered a whopping 31% of the targets. The Raiders often used him as essentially the No. 2 WR, as he lined up detached from the line on 40% of the snaps. His first catch came lined up out wide. He caught a short comeback and then plowed through the defender to turn a modest gain into 11 yards. A couple plays later while again lined up out wide, Waller made an athletic 25-yard grab on a fade route down the sideline. Waller was able to use his elite speed to separate from a cornerback on a drag route to pick up a first down. Waller also got an easy catch for 8 yards on a screen pass. Waller looks like the 1B in the Raiders passing offense behind only Tyrell Williams.