The Oakland Raiders had an opportunity to win the AFC West and earn a first round bye by winning Sunday when they traveled to the Denver Broncos. They could not take advantage of that opportunity, as they lost another quarterback when Matt McGloin left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury leaving rookie Connor Cook as the only healthy quarterback on the roster, and they eventually fell to the Broncos 24-6.
The loss, coupled with a Kansas City Chiefs win over the San Diego Chargers, drops the Raiders to the fifth seed in the AFC, setting up a first round postseason matchup with the Houston Texans in Houston next weekend.
The Denver offense, that has been among the worst in football this season, started off strong as running back Devontae Booker scored a touchdown from 11 yards out to cap off an eight-play, 84-yard opening drive giving the Broncos a 7-0 lead.
Oakland’s offense could not get anything going early with McGloin under center as they punted on each five first half drives.
The Broncos lead was extended early in the second quarter as kicker Brandon McManus connected from 22 yards out, and then late in the second quarter quarterback Trevor Siemian found Booker for a 43-yard touchdown to give the Broncos a 17-0 lead at halftime.
Things did not get any better to start the second half, as the rookie Cook lost a fumble, which Denver converted into points as Siemian found tight end Virgil Green for a 2-yard touchdown to extended the lead to 24-0 early in the second half.
Cook settled in a bit after that though, and two drives later he threw his first career touchdown pass as Amari Cooper tip-toed down the sidelines and reached the pylon for a 32-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed though, so the Raiders deficit was 24-6.
The Raiders had two fourth quarter turnovers, a fumble and an interception by Cook, so there was no fourth quarter magic for Oakland this time.
Cook had a solid pro debut, as he completed 14-of-21 passes for 150 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the game. McGloin’s status for next week is still in question, so Cook could end up being the Raiders starting quarterback in their first postseason game since 2003 if McGloin is not able to go.
The Raiders beat the Texans 27-20 in Mexico City earlier this season, although that was with Derek Carr at quarterback.