Both the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders were coming off bad losses in Week 3 and needed a bounce-back performance. Only one did exactly that, the Orange & Blue.
Denver beat Oakland by a score of 16-10 here in the Mile High City Sunday afternoon and will head into their early bye with an impressive 2-0 divisional record in the daunting AFC West. The team came out ready to play and did not allow Oakland a first down conversion until midway through the second quarter.
Many stars shined under the Mile High sun, but three shined brightest.
A.J. Derby might not have been a household name coming into the contest, but his acrobatic catch might just change that.
Derby was responsible for Denver’s only end-zone trip on the day with a stellar 22-yard one-handed grab and tip-toe to the house. Derby would end the day with four receptions for 75 yards and one score, his best day as a pro.
“I felt great,” Derby said after the win. “I felt like I’ve been running good routes all year and now I’m just trying to keep making plays for Trevor, so I felt that was good.”
It was not only a career day for the former Patriot, it was also the best day from any receiver on the field for either team.
Throughout the season, kicker Brandon McManus missed three kicks, the same amount he made on Sunday.
McManus booted the ball through the uprights from 28, 36, and 46 yards respectively while missing only one form 29 yards out in the fourth quarter. No. 8 scored ten of Denver’s 16 total points, the same amount Oakland could muster all game.
McManus has scored 32-total points this season for the Orange & Blue.
When veteran T.J. Ward was released, people were surprised but trusted the front office. Well, after Sunday performance, people are starting to see that John Elway and Co. made the right move by going with Justin Simmons.
“T.J. [Ward] was a huge mentor to me and he was like a big brother, and so I wanted to do well, not only for Broncos Country but for him as well. He helped me so much my first year and still to this day,” Simmons said after the win. “I know it means a lot and this has been such a prestigious organization at the safety position. Whether T.J. stayed or left, there would have been big shoes to fill regardless.”
Simmons was literally all over the field in the win, giving up zero receptions when the ball was thrown his way and, of course, nabbing the game-sealing interception.
No. 31 was the highest rated player on the Broncos with an 88.1 PFF grade.