The first of two AFC West matchups between the Raiders and Broncos will happen this Sunday in Denver, as Oakland looks to notch their first win of the season.
The homecoming didn’t go as expected for Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, returning to the sidelines as head coach and seeing his homecoming spoiled by the Rams last Monday. It was a humbling second half for Oakland, where they were shutout by the Rams, only to see Los Angeles thump them on offense by scoring 23 of their 33 points en route to a 33-13 victory.
Oakland was able to move the ball relatively well in the first half, but the second half was something out of a horror film for Oakland. Especially with a concerning performance from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who finished with three interceptions, two of them in the second half, and he was kept out of the end zone by the Rams defense.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Gruden said following the season-opening loss. “Obviously, we did not take care of the ball and that was a critical part of that football game.”
It was Carr’s interception that floated right to Rams’ linebacker Cory Littleton that drew boos from the Raiders crowd; a play the Oakland quarterback called: “One of the dumbest plays you could have.”
Jared Cook was among the few stars offensively for Oakland as the tight end caught nine passes for 180 yards in Week 1.
The lack of offensive firepower was one thing, but Oakland also displayed a lack of an effective pass rush in the wake of the trade of Khalil Mack to Chicago. Rams quarterback Jared Goff not only escaped Oakland with a victory for his Rams but also with a clean jersey, as he was rarely under pressure by the Raiders defense.
Goff finished the contest 18-for-33, for 233 yards and two touchdowns and Rams’ running back Todd Gurley rushed for 108 yards on 20 carries.
Earlier this week following the loss to the Rams, wide receiver Martavis Bryant rejoined the Raiders and signed a one-year deal after they released him before the final cutdowns of the preseason. He was originally acquired by Oakland in a trade with Pittsburgh back in April.
“We expected more from him,” Gruden said the day after the team released Bryant. “Perhaps we get Martavis again next year and we can get the best out of him.”
Oakland will hope to get the best of Bryant beginning on Sunday in Denver, as the Raiders look to get more production from their receiving corps which, aside from Cook, was shut down against Los Angeles.
The Broncos will play at Mile High for the second straight week, following their season-opening victory last Sunday, where they edged the Seattle Seahawks 27-24.
Last week, Broncos’ quarterback Case Keenum threw for over 300 yards including three touchdowns and three interceptions. Denver’s running game featured a two-headed attack from rookie Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay who each had 15 carries for 71 yards apiece.
Sacramento native and former Grant Pacers star Devontae Booker is also available out of the Broncos’ backfield, but he only received two carries in Week 1.
The Week two matchup between Denver and Oakland will be the earliest these teams have faced each other since the 2012 season. They’ll meet again this season in Oakland on Christmas Eve.
Last season, the two teams split their matchups with each club victorious on their home field.
Sunday’s game marks the first road game of the season for Oakland, who will also visit Miami the following Sunday to face the Dolphins, before their next game at the Coliseum on Sept. 30 when they host the Cleveland Browns.
Kick-off for Sunday is scheduled for 1:25 p.m.
Follow Sean Cunningham on Twitter: @SeanCunningham