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Broncos Can’t Help Tebow in Debut in Loss to Raiders 39-23


The Broncos got a look at the future at the QB spot Sunday when Tim Tebow was named the starter just a short time before their kickoff in Oakland. While he wasn’t the problem, the team needs a lot more in terms of playmakers as they were beaten up by the Raiders for the second time this season, losing 39-23.

The Raiders scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to put away the Broncos, who have now dropped five in a row and are 3-11 on the season, one that has come complete with a QB change and a coaching change.

Jason Campbell threw for 238 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-26 passing with two interceptions and Darren McFadden rushed for 119 yards on 20 carries for the Raiders (7-7), who swept the season series with the Broncos. Sebastian Janikowski converted three field goals for the victors.

Tebow completed just 8-of-16 passes for 138 yards and a score, but led the Broncos in rushing with 78 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Brandon Lloyd caught four passes for 79 yards and a score for the Broncos.

The story was the Broncos new QB, who impressed even some Raiders in defeat. “He’s a wonderful athlete,” said Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. “And he’s definitely a better athlete than I thought he was. You see him running plays in college and you think, ah, he’s running past 180-pound guys, and you’re thinking, get him up here with the big boys and see what he can do. But he got in there and he was making 230, 250-pound guys miss.”

Oakland scored on its first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter to extend its advantage to 30-20. Campbell hit Marcel Reece on a short pass to the right side, and the second-year fullback avoided two tackles as he took off down the right sideline for a 73-yard score.

Denver responded with Steve Hauschka’s 45-yard field goal to at the 10:04 mark to make it a one-possession game. The Broncos were pinned deep in their own zone by a Raiders punt and Correll Buckhalter was wrapped up in the end zone on second down by Oakland’s Quentin Groves for a safety and 32-23 Raiders lead.

Oakland widened the gap to 39-23 when Michael Bush scored on a one-yard run. The touchdown was set up by McFadden’s 21-yard catch and run — he was pushed out of bounds as he stretched for the end zone. The Raiders forced a Denver punt and secured the victory.

Oakland wasted little time getting on the board as Jacoby Ford scored on the team’s first play from scrimmage, running 71 yards for a 7-0 lead.

Campbell was intercepted on the Raiders’ next drive, and Tebow entered the Denver record books shortly after that when, on 3rd-and-24, he took a keeper play up the middle for 40 yards and a touchdown. It set a franchise record for the longest rushing touchdown by a Broncos quarterback.

Oakland committed its second turnover in as many series as McFadden fumbled on a botched reverse play. The ball was recovered by Denver’s Jason Hunter at the Raiders’ 32. Two plays later, Tebow connected with Lloyd on a 33-yard strike in the back right corner of the end zone. Lloyd was originally ruled out of bounds but the play was overturned the Broncos took a 14-7 lead with 7:38 left in the first quarter.

The Raiders tied the game at 14 on the next drive on Bush’s one-yard run. The drive was highlighted by McFadden’s 36-yard run off left end. Hauschka nailed a 46-yard field goal in the opening minute of the second quarter to give Denver a 17-14 lead. Janikowski added a 49-yard field goal at the end of the half, and connected on a 35-yarder at 7:27 in the third to give the Raiders a 20-17 advantage.

Denver had the ball deep in Oakland territory on the next drive, but had to settle for another Hauschka field-goal, this time a 35-yarder, to tie the game at 20. Once again, it was Janikowski acting as the Raiders’ lifeline as he added another boot from 47 yards to reclaim a three-point lead for Oakland in the final minutes of the third.

Next week we shall see if Tebow again gets the shot at being the starter, as the Broncos are at home for the Texans.

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