Clock management provided Raiders ample time for winning drive
The Broncos’ second-to-last offensive possession of 2020 summed up their season: Good intentions, bad execution.
Leading the Las Vegas 31-24 on Sunday, the Broncos took over at their 10-yard line with 2:46 remaining. Four-minute drill time. Run the ball. Make the Raiders use their timeouts. And hopefully not give them another shot.
Running back Melvin Gordon started the drive with a seven-yard carry. Las Vegas called its first timeout (2:40). But the things unraveled, contributing to a 32-31 loss.
Gordon carried 15 yards, but was pushed out of bounds, turning up the field instead of cutting back to stay in bounds. A free clock stoppage for the Raiders (2:40). On the next play, Gordon gained 19 yards but was again pushed out of bounds (2:27). The clock, though, would have stopped because of tight end Noah Fant’s iffy holding penalty.
Quarterback Drew Lock was sacked on first-and-20 (four-yard loss) and the Raiders called their second timeout (2:19).
Gordon carried for three yards (two-minute warning) and seven yards (Raiders final timeout 1:54) before the Broncos punted.
Lacking timeouts but with plenty of time (1:47), the Raiders drove 77 yards on only seven plays to score on Josh Jacobs’ one-yard touchdown with 24 seconds remaining and win it on the two-point conversion. Better clock management would have left the Raiders with as little as a minute to drive down the field. The Broncos finished 4-6 in one-possession games, their season sandwiched by squandered fourth-quarter leads against Tennessee (Week 1) and Las Vegas.
Here is the rest of the Raiders-Broncos review:
Playing time. The Broncos played a season-high 80 offensive snaps. Among the skill-position players, the leaders were TE Noah Fant 72, WR DaeSean Hamilton 69, WR Jerry Jeudy 64, Gordon 51, TE Nick Vannett 31, WR Diontae Spencer 29, RB Royce Freeman 28 and WR Tyrie Cleveland 25. An ankle injury ended WR Tim Patrick’s game after 12 snaps. C Lloyd Cushenberry played all 1,075 snaps this year.
Pressuring Lock. Las Vegas rushed five or more on 18 of Lock’s 48 drop-backs (37.5%). Lock was 7-of-16 passing for 70 yards against extra pass rushers. He was sacked twice (one apiece with a four- and six-man pass rush).
Stretching the field. Lock was 5-of-9 passing for 170 yards on attempts that traveled at least 16 “air” yards, including his 92-yard touchdown to Jeudy. Lock was 2 of 2 for 23 yards on passes that traveled 11-15 “air” yards.
Gordon absorbs punishment. The Broncos seemed determined to get Gordon to 1,000 yards — he needed 103 and gained 93. His 26 carries were the third-most of his 85-game career (regular season/playoffs).
Playing time. Safety Justin Simmons completed another 100% playing time season (69 for 69 on Sunday and 1,088 for 1,088 this year). The other leaders against the Raiders were S Kareem Jackson 68, ILB Josey Jewell 67, CB Michael Ojemudia 67, CB Parnell Motley 67, OLB Malik Reed 61, OLB Jeremiah Attaochu 59 and ILB Alexander Johnson 59.
Rushing four. The Broncos rushed five or more on only four of Carr’s 44 drop-backs — a season-low 9.1%. The defense had seven total disruptions (three sacks, three knockdowns and one pressure). The sacks came in 4.84 (DE Dre’Mont Jones), 6.58 (Attaochu) and 3.52 (Jones/Reed) seconds.
Challenging Motley. The recently-acquired Motley, who replaced De’Vante Bausby during the Week 16 Chargers game, played all but two snaps against Las Vegas. The Raiders were 4-of-7 passing for 57 yards and one touchdown against Motley in man coverage. He had one pass break-up, missed tackle and fumble recovery apiece.
Four takeaways. The Broncos’ four takeaways — they had only 12 in the first 15 games — were their most since October 2018 at Arizona (five takeaways in a 45-10 win).
McManus’ day. K Brandon McManus averaged 3.84 seconds of hang time on five traditional kickoff attempts (all touchbacks) and 2.51 seconds on a squib kick (touchback). He was 3 of 6 on field goals. Albeit it from 56 yards (wide left), 70 yards (blocked) and 63 yards (blocked), McManus’ three misses were a single-game high.
Martin hits edges. Three of P Sam Martin’s four attempts went out of bounds. He averaged 4.17 seconds of hang time and posted a 36.8-yard average.
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