Oakland at Denver

Broncos secure first undefeated season at home since 1998

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DENVER -- Win the AFC West, earn a well-deserved week off, embarrass the Raiders. It was the kind of day they dream about in Broncoland, the likes of which they haven't celebrated in the seven long seasons since Denver's last Super Bowl title.

Jake Plummer threw for 268 yards, Mike Anderson surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season and the Broncos closed out an undefeated season at home Saturday with a 22-3 victory over archrival Oakland.

"I'm at a loss for words," defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban said. "I've been in the league seven years and I've never experienced anything like it before."

At kickoff, Denver (12-3) had already secured its first division title since 1998 thanks to San Diego's 20-7 loss at Kansas City. Cincinnati's loss to Buffalo gave the Broncos a chance to wrap up the second seed in the AFC and the first-round bye that goes with it.

All that was left was to beat the Raiders (4-11), and that wound up not being too big a challenge.

"We just weren't able to match the things they were able to do," Raiders coach Norv Turner said.

Neither Turner nor quarterback Kerry Collins did anything to reverse the thinking that this could be their second-to-last game with Oakland.

Collins went 17-for-41 for 178 yards and an interception in the Denver end zone after being flushed from the pocket. Turner oversaw an offense that moved the ball at times, but was overcome on almost every drive by untimely mistakes: illegal procedure, holding, dropped passes, receivers who slipped.

"They're a good team and you can't make mistakes against them, whether it's dropped passes or interceptions before the half or penalties that hurt us," Collins said.

Only Sebastian Janikowski's 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter prevented the Raiders from being shut out for the first time since 1997. Even so, they lost their fifth straight and fell to 5-17 against Denver's Mike Shanahan, the coach Al Davis fired early in the 1989 season.

"That's been a long time ago," Shanahan said, when asked if he enjoys beating up on Davis more than anyone. "I was pleased because his defense had given up only one 300-yard game since we played them last," six weeks ago in Oakland.

The Broncos gained 414.

They finished 8-0 at home for the first time since 1998, when they won their second Super Bowl and played at Mile High Stadium, which is now a parking lot across the street from the new Invesco Field.

They assured themselves their first home playoff game since then, and thanks to Cincy's unexpected loss, they guaranteed it would be the weekend of Jan. 14-15, two weeks after next Saturday's finale at San Diego.

"It's pretty basic math," Shanahan said. "The opportunity we have is a great one."

Next week could be light, too. Because the Chargers are out of the playoff race and the Broncos have nothing to play for, Shanahan could rest Plummer and some other starters.

Among those who might get a break are Anderson, who rushed for 46 yards and a score. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career -- a successful return after missing all of 2004 with a torn groin -- but left in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle.

Receiver Rod Smith, not surprisingly, said he wants to play. Cornerback Champ Bailey, hampered with injuries all season, wouldn't mind some rest. Backup quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt said he'd be ready to go.

And Shanahan?

"Everyone will have different opinions on what to do," he said. "Some people will say you should play the starters the whole game, then when somebody gets hurt, they change their minds and say you guys are dummies. ... We'll go with our gut feeling."

It's a good dilemma to have and the Broncos were well on their way to having it by halftime.

Anderson's 2-yard touchdown run put Denver ahead 16-0 in the second quarter. Oakland's best chance to get back in the game ended a few minutes later after Collins led the Raiders deep into Denver territory, but threw a third-and-goal interception to Nick Ferguson.

The Raiders held the Broncos to field goals on three trips inside the 20, but it was an exhausting effort.

Led by Plummer's efficient passing -- 19-for-29, one interception -- and the running of Anderson and Tatum Bell (71 yards), Denver held the ball for 38½ minutes.

Notes

  • Starting in place of injured LaMont Jordan, Zack Crockett ran six straight times for 31 yards to start the game for Oakland. He finished with only 61 yards on 15 carries.
  • Denver WR Ashley Lelie needed 14 stitches on his right elbow after getting hit by a helmet.
  • With five catches for 91 yards, Smith surpassed Gary Clark for 16th on the NFL's all-time receiving list (10,866 yards).
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ashley Lelie rolls up 110 yards on six catches in his most productive day this season.
 
Ashley Lelie rolls up 110 yards on six catches in his most productive day this season. (AP)
 

 

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Sat. Dec. 24Final
Oakland
(4-11)
00033
Denver
(12-3)
1066022
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
FGJason Elam 29 Yd, 10:42. Drive: 9 plays, 50 yards in 4:18.
TDJake Plummer, 1 Yd run (Jason Elam kick is good), 0:33. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 5:01.
2ND QUARTER
TDMike Anderson, 2 Yd run ( ), 2:17. Drive: 11 plays, 61 yards in 6:47.
3RD QUARTER
FGJason Elam 33 Yd, 13:13. Drive: 5 plays, 12 yards in 1:35.
FGJason Elam 34 Yd, 9:19. Drive: 6 plays, 40 yards in 2:44.
4TH QUARTER
FGSebastian Janikowski 43 Yd, 14:10. Drive: 14 plays, 33 yards in 3:51.
Players of the Game

A. Lelie
Rec 6
Yds 110
Avg 18.3
TD 0

R. Moss
Rec 5
Yds 72
Avg 14.4
TD 0
 
Oakland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Collins17/4117801
RushingATTYDSTDLG
Z. Crockett1561010
J. Fargas226015
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
R. Moss572024
J. Porter42909
R. Williams222014
D. Gabriel218014
Z. Crockett217010
J. Foschi111011
J. Fargas1909
Denver
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
J. Plummer19/2926801
RushingATTYDSTDLG
T. Bell1771035
M. Anderson1046112
R. Dayne82206
J. Plummer31619
A. Lelie1707
C. Adams1-70-7
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
A. Lelie6110034
R. Smith591024
M. Anderson220015
S. Alexander217012
J. Putzier117017
T. Bell21208
T. Devoe1101
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
NE 31 Final
NYJ 21
MIN 23 Final
BAL 30
CHI 24 Final
GB 17
IND 13 Final
SEA 28
PHI 21 Final
ARI 27
NYG 20 Final
WAS 35
ATL 24 Final
TB 27
SF 24 Final
STL 20
DET 13 Final
NO 12
TEN 10 Final
MIA 24
SD 7 Final
KC 20
JAC 38 Final
HOU 20
PIT 41 Final
CLE 0
BUF 37 Final
CIN 27
DAL 24 Final
CAR 20