McFadden, Raiders run past Broncos in opening win

537362.jpg

McFadden, Raiders run past Broncos in opening win

Sept. 12, 2011
BOX SCORE NFL SCOREBOARD
NFL PAGE 49ERS VIDEO
DENVER (AP) -- Eric Decker returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown to help Denver get within 16-13 of Oakland through three quarters Monday night in a game that featured Sebastian Janikowski's NFL record-tying 63-yard field goal.Matt Prater hit a 30-yard field goal late in the third when a promising Broncos drive stalled out near the goal line.Just seconds before halftime, Janikowski kicked the ball low and watched it barely creep over the crossbar. Janikowski shares the record with Jason Elam and Tom Dempsey.His teammates ran onto the field to celebrate before heading into the locker room.It was one of three field goals Janikowski had in the second quarter, the other two being much shorter. Fullback Marcel Reece also hauled in a TD pass.The Broncos climbed back into the game early in the third quarter thanks to their special teams. Decker fielded Shane Lechler's 57-yard punt and was off to the races.Upon reaching the end zone, Decker headed for the fans and jumped into the stands, his rendition of the "Lambeau Leap."The Broncos later went on a 12-play drive that culminated with Prater's kick.It was a first half featuring big plays for the Raiders, who capitalized on a blocked punt and a Broncos fumble.Just before the end of the first quarter, Darryl Blackstock broke through the line and got a hand on Britton Colquitt's punt, setting Oakland up with excellent field position at the Denver 42.Jason Campbell found a wide open Reece for a 3-yard score.On Denver's next offensive play, Knowshon Moreno fumbled the ball away after a hit by Quentin Groves.As the Raiders were celebrating, the rain began to steadily fall. Oakland couldn't move the ball in the downpour and settled for a 37-yard field goal by Janikowski.Soon after that, the rain stopped.The Broncos were driving late in the second quarter but couldn't convert on a long third down. They elected to have Prater try a 56-yard field goal, which sailed wide right and gave the Raiders great field position.Campbell moved the Raiders down the field and Janikowski hit a 21-yarder with 1:27 remaining until halftime.With plenty of time left before intermission, Kyle Orton had the Broncos on the move but was picked off by Matt Giordano at the Oakland 24.A 15-yard facemask penalty on Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson put the ball near midfield and Campbell's throw to Reece moved the Raiders to the Denver 45 and put Janikowski within range of history.Dempsey set the record for New Orleans on Nov. 8, 1970, and Denver's Elam matched it on Oct. 25, 1998.Janikowski connected on a 61-yard field goal on Dec. 27, 2009.Oakland fumbled on its opening possession of the season when rookie linebacker Von Miller knocked the ball loose with his helmet after a catch by Jacoby Ford. Miller was the No. 2 overall pick by the Broncos.Fellow rookie Rahim Moore pounced on the loose ball. The Broncos couldn't capitalize as Orton completed just one short pass on three attempts, leading to Prater's 28-yard field goal.The much-maligned Denver defense did a formidable job early on as the unit also forced the Raiders to punt.However, Elvis Dumervil walked off the field holding his shoulder, throwing his helmet down in disgust. He later returned to the field but played sparingly.Dumervil, who led the league in sacks in 2009, missed all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.This was a game featuring two new head coaches. Hue Jackson took over in Oakland after serving as offensive coordinator last season, while John Fox was in his first game in charge of the Broncos after arriving from Carolina.The Broncos are trying to get their franchise back on track a year after turning in a franchise-worst 4-12 season. They brought in Fox and turned the reins over to Hall of Famer John Elway, who's serving as chief of football operations. The organization even renamed their stadium (Colorado-based Sports Authority recently took over the naming rights from Invesco and completed its sign out front just in time for the opener).Still, it's difficult to erase all the memories from an abysmal 2010.One of the low points for the Broncos in a season full of worthy candidates was an embarrassing 59-14 thumping by the Raiders on Oct. 24. It could've been even worse but the Raiders relented in the fourth quarter, showing mercy toward one of their most bitter rivals.Darren McFadden led the way, shredding the porous Denver defense for 165 yards rushing and three scores.On Monday, facing an overhauled Denver defensive front, McFadden had another solid game going, rushing for 100 yards on 19 carries through three quarters.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”