Raiders lose Carr, then game to Broncos
DENVER — Safety Justin Simmons made the final stop, punctuating a defensive performance by the Denver Broncos that carried the day.
Simmons thwarted Oakland’s last-ditch drive with an interception, and Denver hung on to beat the Raiders 16-10 Sunday in a game that also saw Raiders quarterback Derek Carr forced to the sideline because of a back injury.
“Justin is obviously a great young player, very athletic,” Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said. “That play he made tonight was a big-time play. He’s going to get better and better as he plays more football, but I’ve been very pleased with the way he handles himself as a first-time starter.”
Simmons outjumped Amari Cooper for the pass from backup quarterback EJ Manuel in the final moments. Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian then took a knee twice to run out the clock.
“Obviously, it was one play that sealed it, but throughout the game, our front seven was stopping the run,” Joseph said. “It makes our job on the back end so much easier when you have a front seven that can stop the run and rush the quarterback the way they can. You can’t ask for anything better as a secondary.”
The Broncos limited Marshawn Lynch to 12 yards on nine carries and the Raiders had just 24 yards rushing on 15 attempts overall.
“We share what it is. Players, coaches, scheme, calling, it all adds up,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said of the feeble rushing attack. “We all share in it. We share in the responsibility and to try to fix it. Obviously, it’s been out of rhythm too long.”
Siemian completed 16 of 26 throws for 179 yards including a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end A.J. Derby.
Brandon McManus made three of his four field-goal tries for the Broncos (3-1). Oakland fell to 2-2, losing its second in a row.
“I’m a little disappointed but understand in this league, it’s one quarter of the football (season), three of four on the road, we’re 2-2. I’m not happy about that, but it’s what it is. We have to take that and go forward,” Del Rio added.
Carr, who went 10 of 18 for 143 yards and a touchdown before being injured, was sidelined late in the third quarter after being knocked down on a sack.
Defensive end Shelby Harris hit Carr and the Raiders quarterback was going down when defensive end Adam Gotsis flew in and wrapped a padded arm between his helmet and shoulder pads and pulled him the rest of the way to the ground.
After the game, Del Rio said Carr had gone into back spasms and the team plans to conduct an MRI to try to determine the severity of the injury.
“I got blasted pretty good,” Carr said. “It didn’t feel too good. I tried to come in here and have them work on it (in the locker room), tried to throw. It just wasn’t ready yet. Not saying it won’t be, it just wasn’t ready today.”
Manuel finished 11 of 17 for 106 yards and drove the Raiders to a field goal that pulled them within 16-10 with 5:23 left to play. Giorgio Tavecchio connected from 38 yards out.
“I thought he showed poise,” Del Rio said. “The interaction with him on the sideline, he was in charge, so that was a positive sign I think for our football team knowing that our backup is capable of going into a tough situation and performing at a high level.”
The Broncos missed a chance to add to their lead when McManus, who made three field goals earlier, had a 29-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter hit the left upright and bounce away.
On a fourth-and-11 play from their own 33, the Raiders tried a fake punt but the Broncos’ outside contain man, Jordan Taylor, came in to tackle punter Marquette King for a 3-yard loss.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against King for throwing the ball at a Denver player allowed the Broncos to take over at the 15, but the Broncos could make little headway and settled for the field-goal try that went awry.
Denver stretched its lead to 16-7 on a pair of third-quarter field goals by McManus covering 36 and 46 yards. Running back C.J. Anderson broke loose on a 40-yard run to help set up the 36-yarder.
The Raiders pulled to within 10-7 at halftime behind Carr’s deep ball to Johnny Holton, who ran by safety Darian Stewart to gather in the pass for Oakland’s first score.
Denver got a 28-yard field goal from McManus after a first-quarter drive stalled at the Oakland 10 on a third-down incompletion.
Derby’s first career touchdown catch was eye-popping. He found a hole in the Raiders’ zone and Siemian lofted a pass that Derby latched onto with one hand, tip-toeing down the sideline for the final few yards to stay in bounds before extending his arm and the ball over the goal line for the score.
NOTES: WR Seth Roberts started in place of injured wideout Michael Crabtree, who missed the game because of a chest injury suffered the week before in the Raiders’ loss at Washington. ... Broncos WR Cody Latimer missed the game because of a knee injury.