Justin Simmons went up and got it.
With a little less than 2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday, the Denver Broncos second-year safety made a play on the ball E.J. Manuel heaved deep down the left sideline. Simmons, who has a 40 inch vertical, out-jumped Amari Cooper and came down with the football to seal the Broncos’ 16-10 win over the Raiders.
“I was trying to be patient all game,” Simmons said. “I knew at one point they were going to have to take a shot.”
Simmons took over as the starter at strong safety when Denver decided to part ways with T.J. Ward last month. He is one of the few fresh faces on a Broncos defense that continues to do almost everything right.
The Broncos limited the Raiders to 254 total yards and 11 first downs. Denver let Johnny Holton get behind them for a 64-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Apart from that, they didn’t make many mistakes.
The Raiders converted only 2 of 12 third down chances and 0 of 3 fourth down opportunities. They rushed for 24 yards on 15 attempts. The only chink in the Broncos’ defensive armor last year was their struggles to stop the run. That hasn’t been the case four games into the 2017 season. Seriously, look at the numbers four of the best backs in football have put up against Denver:
Marshawn Lynch carried the ball nine times for 12 yards. His longest carry of the day went for 4 yards.
On offense, the Broncos failed to do much due to their struggles in the red zone. Denver drove inside Oakland’s 20-yard line four different times but didn’t come away with a touchdown on any of those possessions. Brandon McManus made three of the four field goals he attempted. The Broncos scored their lone touchdown of the day — A.J. Derby’s gorgeous one-handed snag — in the first quarter.
Denver let Oakland, which lost quarterback Derek Carr in the third quarter to an upper body injury, hang around a lot longer than it should’ve. But that didn’t end up costing the Broncos the game. They go into the bye week 3-1.
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