Willis McGahee made sure that the headlines weren’t about Tim Tebow for one game. (At least we hope.)
The Broncos running back rushed for 163 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown and a 24-yard touchdown as the Broncos beat Oakland 38-24 on Sunday. Eddie Royal added an 85-yard punt return touchdown during a furious second half rally in which the Broncos scored 24 unanswered points.
Suddenly, the Broncos are only one game out of the AFC West lead. Seriously.
At 3-5, Denver is within striking distance of the mediocre three-team pileup atop the division.
The Raiders brought Carson Palmer in Oakland for just these sort of games. He got the ball up seven points late in the third quarter. Here are his remaining drives:
1. First drive: Interception. (McGahee touchdown next play.)
2. Second drive: Three and out.
3. Third drive: Three and out. (Royal punt return next play.)
4. Fourth drive: Two first downs, and a punt.
5. Fifth drive: Interception.
That is how a team implodes. Palmer has been a big factor in two straight division losses at home. Fair or not, they are the worst two Raiders games of the year.
Tebow was hardly great in this game, but he was improved. We saw the same frantic play in the pocket, but there was also a nice touchdown drive in each half by the offense. Tebow wasn’t the key to the win, but he contributed.
While Tebow only completed 10-of-21 passes for 124 yards, he had two touchdowns throwing and 117 yards rushing. The Broncos rushed for 298 yards in all.
The Raiders were supposed to the bullies on the block in the AFC West. On Sunday, they looked soft on defense and disjointed on offense.
No one in the AFC West looks particularly good. It’s a division that’s completely up for grabs.
That means even the Broncos are still relevant, at least for one more week.