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Manning powers Broncos to rout over Raiders

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Peyton Manning turned a quick start into an eventual runaway.

Manning drove the Denver Broncos to their first opening quarter touchdown of the season and kept it going from there, finishing with three scoring passes in a 37-6 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

It was the Broncos' largest margin of victory against an AFC West rival in 50 years and the second biggest overall in the 104 regular season games played between Denver (2-2) and the Raiders (1-3).

Denver ended up scoring just 10 points in the first half, but ran away after halftime.

"We got a good start today for the first time, a good start to the first and third quarters," said Manning, who had the offense running so smoothly the Broncos never even punted and dominated time of possession (37:25 to 22:35.).

"That was something we really emphasized all week in practice, coming out of the blocks early, and having good execution," Manning said.

The Broncos defense pitched in by keeping the Raiders out of the end zone and shutting down running back Darren McFadden. He was limited to 34 yards rushing on 13 attempts after posting 508 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Oakland's four previous games in Denver, all wins.

"We knew going in that we had to contain him, don't let him make any big plays and we were able to do that," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said.

McFadden's struggles were typified by a third-and-2 play midway through the third quarter when he took a pitch and was stuffed for a 2-yard loss by linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Von Miller.

"A game like that is hard to swallow," McFadden said. "I just feel like we never really stayed in sync. We'd make a few plays here and there and then we'd get out of rhythm."

Not so for Manning. He completed 30 of 38 passes for 338 yards, including scoring passes of 22 yards to Joel Dreessen, 17 yards to Eric Decker and 14 yards to Lance Ball. It was the 65th time in his career he has surpassed 300 yards passing in a game, most in NFL history.

"He's one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, a Hall of Fame quarterback, so anytime he gets in that rhythm it's going to be tough," Raiders defensive back Michael Huff said.

The touchdown pass to Dreessen came at the end of Denver's opening drive and marked the first time the Broncos had reached the end zone during the first quarter this season.

"It was important to score on that first drive for sure," Dreessen said. "It just feels good right now, total team effort. Any time you can win by more than four touchdowns in the NFL, it's a good day."

Willis McGahee ran for 112 yards and a touchdown for his 32nd career 100-yard rushing game, most among active players.

Carson Palmer, who was sacked three times and under pressure constantly from the Broncos' defensive front, finished 19 of 34 for 202 yards passing .

Sebastian Janikowski accounted for the Raiders' scoring on field goals of 38 and 24 yards on a day when Oakland was without several key players because of injury.

"Well, it was nothing more than an old-fashioned butt-whupping," Palmer said. "We need to go back and look at the film and look at each of our play, everybody as a team, we're going to stick together. The good news is we have a bye and a chance to get a lot of guys who are banged up, get guys healthy again. And we get a chance to play against them again, we get a chance to play against them at home."

Matt Prater kicked three field goals for the Broncos, including a 53 yarder late in the fourth quarter.

Up 10-6 at halftime, the Broncos pulled away decisively with a 21-point third quarter. After the Raiders went three-and-out on their first possession of the third, Manning hit Ronnie Hillman with a short pass that the rookie running back turned into a 29-yard gain to the Oakland 25. Three plays later, Manning found Decker along the left sideline and he went in for the touchdown.

After another three-and-out, Shane Lechler's punt was deflected by David Bruton, traveling just 2 yards to the Raiders' 18. McGahee took over from there, running four straight times, the last a 2-yarder for the score that gave the Broncos a 24-6 lead with 7:30 left in the third.

Stopped without a first down again on their ensuing series, the Raiders' Lechler got off a 68-yard punt. But Omar Bolden returned it 16 yards and Manning opened a drive with a short pass to Demaryius Thomas, who had fumbled after an earlier reception, and turned it into a 25-yard advance. McGahee followed with a 24-yard burst up the middle, setting up Manning's third scoring pass of the day, a 14-yarder to Ball.

Notes: The 31-point winning margin by Denver was second only to a 37-point win over the Raiders in 1962. ... The Raiders have a bye next Sunday while Denver plays at New England. ... Broncos center J.D. Walton left in the second quarter with a left ankle injury and did not return. Dan Koppen finished the game at center for the Broncos. ... Thomas finished with five catches for 103 yards. ... Keith Brooking started at middle linebacker for Denver in place of Joe Mays, who served a one-game suspension for his illegal hit the week before on Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. ... The Raiders' Michael Huff moved from safety to cornerback for the second consecutive week, starting Sunday in place of injured Shawntae Spencer (foot) after shifting the previous week in place of Ron Bartell, who's on temporary injured reserve. ... Matt Giordano filled in for Huff at safety. ... The Raiders were without their leading receiver, Darius Heyward-Bey, who was among the team's inactive players after suffering a concussion and neck strain on a helmet-to-helmet hit a week ago.
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