Darren McFadden had a career day in Denver on Sunday.
Darren McFadden and the Oakland Raiders completely dismantled the Denver Broncos in every facet of the game at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver Colorado on Sunday.
The offense scored a Raider team record 59 points, the defensive line spent more time in the Denver back field than Knowshon Moreno, and the special teams held the Broncos to only 36 total return yards and no points.
In short, this was the most dominating the Raiders have been since winning Super Bowl XVIII over the Redskins, 38-9.
However, the real key to the Raiders' victory was the career best performance by Darren McFadden. McFadden became the first player in the NFL this season to score four touchdowns in a game—three rushing and one receiving.
That said, it wasn't just McFadden that had a great day, there were others—many others. Too many to list in one slide show, but I'll do my best.
Let's have a look at who they were...
Trevor Scott was all over Kyle Orton—all day!
Trevor Scott applied pressure on Kyle Orton all day long.
He only recorded a half of a sack, (shared with Rolando McClain) but there isn't really a stat for the amount of fear he put into the heart of the Bronco quarterback.
Scott was virtually unblockable. It didn't matter where he lined up, the Bronco player assigned to block him failed—miserably.
Orton was forced into throwing early, to throw on the run, and looked panicked all day long. This was due in large part to seeing No. 91 in his vision most of the day.
Scott did more than carry his weight on Sunday.
Tommy Kelly had a sack and didn't allow much, if anything, in his gap.
Two tackles and one sack doesn't sound like a landmark day, but the stats don't do justice to how well Tommy Kelly played on Sunday.
Kelly controlled the middle of the line of scrimmage which allowed the Raiders' linebackers to roam the field and make plays.
Each time the Broncos tried to run up the gut, they had to double team Kelly. The plays in which they failed to get two players on Kelly, he made the play.
This is the kind of performance that Raider Nation expected when Al Davis signed Kelly to his record contract.
The acquisition of Kamerion Wimbley is starting to pay big dividends for the Raiders.
I have been critical of Kamerion Wimbley in recent months. I said he was only a decent tackler and a great pass rusher, but that he couldn't cover very well.
I stand partially corrected.
Wimbley is indeed a great pass rusher. He collected his fourth sack of the year, and it came at a great time—third down.
I stand corrected on his tackling. It's not decent—it's great.
I also stand corrected on Wimbley's cover skills. The Denver tight ends were held without a catch all day, and the backs made only four catches (three to Moreno and one to fullback Spencer Larsen).
Two of those catches came when Wimbley was not responsible for the coverage.
The only question now is, can he be this good consistently? Raider Nation is hopeful he can.
I'm not going to try to convince you that Chris Johnson played great in coverage all day. He didn't.
What he did do was break the Broncos back early in the first quarter on Kyle Orton's first pass attempt. In fact, it was the Broncos' first play from scrimmage.
Johnson had good coverage on Jabar Gaffney, read the route, stepped in front, made the catch and took it to the house for the Raiders second touchdown of the day.
Normally when Nnamdi Asomugha is on the field, the weakness in the secondary is on the opposite side. That meant Johnson on this particular play.
Everyone knew Orton and the Broncos were going to challenge whoever lined up opposite of Asomugha, and Johnson made them pay.
This does not make up for some fairly bad play leading up to this game, but it sure makes it easier to swallow some of those bad plays that have been happening in the recent past.
Mike Mitchell should get more playing time...period!
Raider Nation has been screaming for more Mike Mitchell. On Sunday, they got it.
Remember when I said the Bronco tight ends didn't have any catches? Although that was partly because of great coverage by Wimbely, Mitchell was fantastic in coverage as well.
Mitchell now has three straight games in which he has proven himself to be great in coverage against bigger men.
If you add a forced fumble that was recovered by Tyvon Branch, Mitchell gave Raider faithful everything they could have asked for.
Hopefully for Raider fans, the coaches will see the steady improvement in Mitchell's cover skills and get him even more playing time.
Darren McFadden is the obvious choice for player of the game.
His 16 carries, 165 yards, three touchdowns, two catches, 31 yards and one touchdown amount to a career day for McFadden.
This is the player Al Davis thought he was getting when he drafted McFadden fourth overall. This is the player Raider Nation hoped they were getting too.
The Broncos had nothing for McFadden on Sunday. "D-Mac" didn't miss any holes, he ran with authority and power, finished runs and basically beat the Broncos on his own.
I have just two things to say:
1. It's amazing what can happen when a guy is actually healthy for the first time since college.
Jared Veldheer played two positions on Sunday, and played them well.
Jared Veldheer had taken over the starting duties at left tackle for Mario Henderson earlier this week. Henderson had struggled in pass protection all season and the time for Veldheer to have his shot had come.
He took advantage this shot and was playing well.
When starting center Samson Satele went down with injury, Veldheer was forced to move back to center. Again, he played very well.
The performance of this very young player is a great sign for the future of the Raiders' offensive linemen.
It's amazing to me that no one outside Raider Nation is really talking about how good Zach Miller is.
Miller opened the scoring for the Raiders in the first quarter and the route was on. It seemed like that 43-yard touchdown took the wind out of the Broncos' sails and they never recovered.
Just three catches for 65 yards doesn't seem like much, but that equates to over 22 yards per catch.
That's pretty amazing for a tight end.
Miller stretched the middle of the field all day which kept the safeties out of the box and opened up the running game for McFadden and Bush.
Raider fans already love this guy and Sunday's performance merely solidified his place in their hearts.
Upon seeing Louis Murphy getting hurt, my son said, "Uh oh. Dad, Murphy's out." I responded with, "That's okay son, it doesn't look too bad. Besides, that just means Nick Miller comes in."
Then, as if on cue, Miller amazed me, (and Raider Nation) with a miraculous feat of body control, concentration and hands.
Nick Miller was only targeted once on Sunday. He not only made the sideline catch, he brought millions of Raider fans to their feet.
That lone catch went for 32 yards—on third down and long. Talk about "clutch!"
Then we have to add six punt returns for 42 yards. He was solid once again and did nothing on special teams to put the game in jeopardy.
Miller is listed at 5'9", 180 pounds. That may be the size of his physical body, but his heart is 6'10", 275!
Dear Mr. Cable—LET MILLER PLAY!
I've been pretty rough on Marcel Reece. I've criticized his blocking, his heart and his desire.
Marcel: I apologize.
Reece had a decent statistical day with eight touches for 58 yards and one touchdown. Not a superstar performance, but good for a fullback.
His one catch was a spectacular play at a time the Raiders needed it—third down. Three of Reece's carries went for first downs, including a 4th-and-goal touchdown.
However, Reece did the most damage in the role of a "true fullback." Run blocking, pass blocking and picking up first downs on short yardage runs.
Even better, he played physical when lead blocking.
He didn't "tippy-toe" into the hole. He exploded into the hole—and into the defender he was charged with blocking.
Bottom line: McFadden doesn't get his career day if Reece doesn't do his job.
McFadden owes Reece a steak dinner or something.
This dominating win by the Raiders was a real team effort. Here are some more of the coaches and players that deserve some notice for a great game.
Michael Huff: 3 tackles, 1 assist, 1 forced fumble.
Richard Seymour: 3 tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack.
Stanford Routt: 2 tackles, 4 deflections, 1 forced fumble.
Tyvon Branch: 3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery.
Michael Bush: 16 touches, 65 yards (4.06 yards per touch), 1 touchdown
Jason Campbell: 12-20, 204 yards, 2 touchdowns, and NO interceptions.
Tom Cable: The Raiders were fired up for this game.
Hue Jackson: The offensive game plan was perfectly suited to beat the Broncos.
John Marshall: The defensive game plan was more aggressive and very successful.
Huh? I'm sorry, what was I saying again?
A team record in points scored, the first player of the year to score four touchdowns in one game and the humiliation of a hated divisional rival.
It was a great Raider day all around.
McFadden stole the show, but he couldn't have gotten it done without help of his teammates, his coaches, and the fans that continued to support this team—even when they weren't given much to celebrate or cheer for.
What do you say Raider Nation? Who did I miss? Who made the list that doesn't deserve it? Let me hear you in the comments.
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