Cornerback Chris Harris‘ 74-yard interception-return touchdown was the difference in the game as the Denver Broncos escaped with a 16-10 victory at the Oakland Raiders in Week 5. Here’s what you need to know:
1. We saw why Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck raved about the Denver’s “unbelievable” defense this week. In addition to Harris’ game-winning interception, Von Miller leaped over a cut-blocking Austin Howard and snatched the ball out of Derek Carr‘s hands for a highlight-reel strip sack that set up an easy field goal. Even with All-Pro sack master DeMarcus Ware sidelined by a back injury, the Broncos scored 10 points off of turnovers, bringing their season total 41. That swarming defense has either scored or put Peyton Manning in position to score for a whopping 36 percent of their total points this season.
2. On the flip side of that equation, Manning’s season-long woes continued with a pair of interceptions and several more ugly throws. The Broncos entered this game 30th in Football Outsiders’ offensive efficiency metric — and should fall even further after failing to cross the goal line for the second time in five games. The last game in which a Manning-led team failed to score a touchdown occurred in 2003. If not for a pair of defensive scores this year, the Broncos would have been held out of the end zone in Weeks 1 and 5. Lest we present this as a quarterback-centric issue, the ground attack was shut down once again. C.J. Anderson (11 carries, 22 yards) and Ronnie Hillman (7 carries, 21 yards) combined to average a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. If Manning wasn’t backed by the game’s most disruptive defense, his inefficiency would be the dominant storyline in the NFL.
3. Eight-time Pro Bowl player Charles Woodson made history on an otherwise deflating day for the Raiders. The 1997 Heisman Trophy winner picked off the 1997 Heisman runner-up in the end zone to thwart Manning’s two-minute drill before halftime. He later came down with a spectacular sideline catch in the third quarter, bringing him into a sixth-place tie with Ed Reed (64) on the all-time interception list. Woodson turned 39 years old last week, making him the oldest player ever to record multiple interceptions in a game.
4. The normally reliable Sebastian Janikowski changed the complexion of the game with a missed 40-yard field goal and an earlier attempt that was blocked when he failed to get proper lift on the kick.
5. Raiders running back Latavius Murray was nowhere to be found in the second half after an injury to his shoulder last week. Coach Jack Del Rio explained after the game that Murray was “a little banged up” but still available to play.