Week Twelve: November 23, 2008 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.
Raiders 31, Broncos 10: On paper, Oakland was completely outmatched in almost every single statistical way to Denver, but wound up toppling the AFC West-leading Broncos 31-10 on Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High. Oakland entered the game at or near the bottom of the league in almost every single offensive statistic, including points per game (12.8) and total yards per game (255.8), while the Broncos were among the league leaders in most offensive categories. Add the fact the Oakland had not scored an offensive touchdown in almost four games and there seemingly was no way the Raiders were suppose to win this game, but they did so by dominating the Broncos in all facets of the game - on offensive, defense and special teams.
The defense started off strong thanks to preventing the potent Broncos offense a scoring opportunity on the first possession when strong safety Gibril Wilson recovered a Jay Cutler fumble at the Raiders five-yard line. Cutler, who started the game nine-of-12 for 113 yards, completed just seven-of-25 for 71 yards over the final two and a half quarters of play and was picked off once.
On special teams, the Raiders forced two missed Broncos field goals and, as the first half was winding down, Johnnie Lee Higgins returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown to propel Oakland to a 10-3 halftime lead. It was Higgins’ second-straight week with a punt return for a score - he returned one 93 yards in the 17-15 loss to Miami last week.
But the biggest output came from quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who finally showed signs of why the Black & Silver took him with the first pick of the 2007 draft out of LSU. He completed ten-of-eleven, including his first nine, for 152 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 149.1 (158.33 is considered a perfect passing game).
After the Broncos tied the game at ten early in the third quarter, former Denver wideout Ashley Lelie torched his former team on a 51-yard grab that set up Oakland’s first offensive touchdown in 205 snaps when rookie running back Darren McFadden took a pitch and walked in from a yard out. Within the 18 plays of McFadden’s first of two touchdown runs, the Raiders had three offensive touchdowns and put the game out of hand. The other touchdown was a four-yard strike from Russell to Lelie, who had just seven catches for 105 yards on the season before ending with four grabs for 92 yards against the Broncos.