Raiders outlast Broncos, keep playoff hopes alive

Raiders outlast Broncos, keep playoff hopes alive
December 20, 2010, 12:29 am
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Dec. 19, 2010
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OAKLAND (AP) After watching his team commit three turnovers, allow twobig play touchdowns to Tim Tebow and commit a penalty that wiped out ascore in the first half, coach Tom Cable didn't hold back at halftime."There's no reason to be calm or rational at that point," Cable said.The Raiders responded to thetongue-lashing, getting a 73-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell toMarcel Reece to keep their playoff hopes alive and spoil Tebow's firstNFL start with a 39-23 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday."That's the most animated I've everseen him," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "From the time we came inhere, he was going off. From the time we came in here pretty much untilwe left, nobody really talked except Cabes."Jacoby Ford scored on a 71-yard runon Oakland's first play from scrimmage and Michael Bush added two shorttouchdown runs to keep the Raiders (7-7) in the hunt for a playoffberth after last week's wrenching 38-31 loss at Jacksonville.
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Oakland trails Kansas City by twogames in the AFC West and will need to win the final two games and gethelp in order to win the division.
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"I wish we were in a better position,but to still be in the fight, still be in the hunt, we've grown a longways," Campbell said. "The loss last week is not going to do any goodfor us to dwell on it. It's not going to help us this week. What wehave to do is control what's in front of us from here out."
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The Broncos (3-11) have long beeneliminated from the playoff chase, having lost nine of 10 games to tiethe franchise record for losses in a season. That, along with KyleOrton's bruised ribs, made the decision to give Tebow his first careerstart an easy one.For a player who became famous incollege for his exploits at the Swamp, Tebow must have felt at home ona wet day at the Oakland Coliseum.He managed to come up with some ofthe big plays that helped him win a Heisman Trophy and two nationaltitles at Florida, becoming the third player to throw a TD pass atleast 30 yards and run for a score of at least 40 yards in the samegame.But he also did not look smooththrowing the ball, a big reason why many questioned former Denver coachJosh McDaniels for trading up to take Tebow in the first round of thedraft. He finished 8 for 16 for 138 yards and ran for 78 more."You're playing against the biggest,strongest, fastest, but at the end of the day it's still playingfootball and so it wasn't extremely different," Tebow said.The key play for the Raiders wasCampbell's short pass to Reece that turned into a game-breaker. Reececaught the ball near the line of scrimmage with open space in front ofhim. He juked David Bruton near midfield and raced the rest of the wayto make it 30-20.
VIDEO: Marcel Reece with Kate Longworth
The Broncos responded with StevenHauschka's third field goal, but Quentin Groves tackled CorrellBuckhalter in the end zone for a safety that put the Raiders back incontrol in their third straight win over Denver.The Raiders took a 23-20 lead intothe fourth quarter after Sebastian Janikowski's 47-yard field goal. Theteams traded field goals earlier in the third with the Broncos settlingfor theirs after Lance Ball dropped a pass in the end zone.Tebow turned two Raiders turnoversinto touchdowns in the first half, scoring on a 40-yard quarterbackdraw on third-and-24 when he ran through the middle of Oakland'sdefense and then broke tackles from safeties Michael Huff and TyvonBranch.Tebow then threw a ball up for grabsin the end zone that went through cornerback Stanford Routt's hands andwas caught by Brandon Lloyd for a 33-yard touchdown. Lloyd wasoriginally ruled out of bounds, but the play was overturned on a replaychallenge."He did what we expected of him,"Lloyd said. "He kept his poise, he kept his composure, even when it wastough out there. He didn't have any of those situations where he calledthe wrong play. I was impressed."The Raiders got some big plays oftheir own, with Ford scoring on a 71-yard end around on Oakland's firstplay from scrimmage and a 36-yard run by Darren McFadden setting upanother touchdown.Oakland tied the game at 17 late inthe half after Syd'Quan Thompson muffed a punt by Janikowski, fillingin for the injured Shane Lechler. Janikowski's 49-yard field goal tiedthe game.
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Notes: Kordell Stewart in 2000 andMichael Vick in 2002 are the only other players to have running andthrowing TDs like Tebow's. ... Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno left in thefirst half with a side injury. ... McFadden ran for 119 yards to reach1,112 for the season, becoming the first Raiders back to top 1,000since Justin Fargas in 2007. ... Raiders DT Richard Seymour left in thesecond half with a strained hamstring.