Raiders outlast Broncos, keep playoff hopes alive

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Raiders outlast Broncos, keep playoff hopes alive

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."
VIDEO: Jason Campbell with Kate Longworth
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.
RELATED: Janikowski punts for Raiders' injured Lechler
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.

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams despite the fact he has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was involved and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used the No. 24 overall pick on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. This wasn’t a second-round flier or a late-round gamble.

That’s a first-round pick. Rolling the dice this early is ill advised. That selection comes with a $5.78 million signing bonus, $10.5 million in total money and a valuable fifth-year option to keep him in town.

They wouldn’t risk such an asset on someone in serious legal trouble. The Raiders did significant research on Conley, who was accused of rape earlier this week.

Conley has not been arrested or charged over an allegation that stems from an April 9 interaction in a Cleveland hotel.

Conley said the accusations are “completely false,” in a statement released by his agent. He claims to have witnesses and video evidence that he didn’t do anything illegal during an exchange where group sex was involved. He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police about the allegation on Monday.

Conley said he took and passed polygraph test prior to the draft, hoping to avoid a free fall into the draft’s later rounds.

The Raiders clearly believe him. They wouldn’t have used such a high pick on the Ohio State cornerback otherwise. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the team thoroughly investigated the matter, and felt comfortable using a high pick on someone who sat alone atop their draft board at No. 24 overall.

“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process,” McKenzie said Thursday night, after making the Conley pick. “We trust our research, reports, everything that we have on Mr. Conley. We feel really good about picking Gareon Conley and having him join the Raiders team and having him be a great teammate for our players.”

McKenzie didn’t detail the Raiders research efforts, but didn’t seem concerned about this off-field issue.

“I don’t want to get into all the details,” McKenzie said, “but the bottom line is that we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were.”

McKenzie said he spoke with owner Mark Davis about Conley, as he does most first-round options.

The Raiders were impressed by Conley’s workouts and his game tape. The rape accusation obviously gave the NFL pause regarding his draft status, and he slipped somewhat in the first round.

The Raiders are confident following an internal investigation that his legal troubles will pass without incident.

“The research was done,” McKenzie said. "It wasn’t just a gut (feeling). It was based on research, and we’re very confident in all the information that we got.”