Broncos ride 1st quarter to rout of Raiders

Associated Press

DENVER -- A perfect first quarter was all the Denver Broncos needed to embarrass the Oakland Raiders.

Jake Plummer passed for two touchdowns and ran for another in the first period as the Broncos raced to a 21-0 lead en route to a 31-10 victory Monday night.

"We were really efficient," Plummer said.

Denver (3-0) marched 60, 55 and 50 yards for touchdowns on its first three possessions, generating 170 yards total in the quarter and limiting the Raiders to just 7.


"I don't think our first quarter could have been any better," receiver Ed McCaffrey said.

The game was payback for the Broncos, who lost twice to the Raiders last season, including a 34-10 Monday night thumping in Denver when the Broncos were 6-2 and the Raiders 4-4 and on a four-game losing streak. The Broncos went on to miss the playoffs, while Oakland lost only one game on the way to the AFC championship.

Plummer, showing no ill effects from a slightly separated right shoulder, rolled left and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Shannon Sharpe on the Broncos' first series.

Plummer scrambled and hit a wide-open Ashley Lelie for 44 yards to cap the second series. Then, the quarterback bootlegged 6 yards around the left side to make it 21-0.

Plummer's 40-yard scramble -- the longest run from scrimmage in Plummer's career and the longest ever by a Denver quarterback -- helped set up Jason Elam's 20-yard field goal late in the second quarter for a 24-0 lead.

Mike Anderson, playing most of the second and third periods after Clinton Portis aggravated a bruised sternum, went 44 yards on a cutback run to the 1 and scored on the next play, making it 31-0 early in the third quarter.

"We made some great plays early and took them out of their game plan," Brofcos coach Mike Shanahan said. "Jake made a couple plays in there scrambling that were big-time plays. I thought he played exceptional. And our defense played spectacular the entire game."

Plummer was 14-of-21 for 197 yards and two TDs with no interceptions.


"It's been awhile since we've played with this kind of fire and chemistry," Sharpe said. "It goes back to the '97 and '98 seasons when we won Super Bowls. You can just sense that we've got something special going right now."

Something special was not what the Raiders (1-2) were feeling.

"We have a lot to fix," linebacker Bill Romanowski said.

"We struggled coming in and continued to struggle tonight," added Rich Gannon, who completed 14 of 29 for 149 yards and was sacked five times.

After leading the NFL in total offense and passing last season, the Raiders entered the game ranked 28th in total offense and 25th in passing.

Zack Crockett got the Raiders' lone touchdown, a 4-yard run that capped an 80-yard drive late in the third quarter.

Sebastian Janikowski, arrested over the weekend following a fight in a restaurant in California, kicked a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter after Phillip Buchanon returned a punt 56 yards.

"The start of the game really put us behind the 8-ball," Raiders coach Bill Callahan said. "Credit goes to the Broncos. They did an excellent job. Offensively, we have not found a rhythm. We're going to have to go back and retool this thing."


Denver wide receiver Rod Smith was ejected midway through the second quarter. Smith made a 7-yard reception and Oakland's Chris Cooper put him in a headlock. Smith took a swing at Cooper and hit umpire Undrey Wash on the followthrough.

Notes: Oakland's Jerry Rice extended his NFL-record string of consecutive games with a reception to 260, and teammate Tim Brown extended his to 160. ... Oakland safety Rod Woodson returned two weeks after injuring his knee against Tennessee. He was expected to be out longer.

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