They still had a chance to win.

That’s how topsy-turvy the Oakland Raiders’ 16-10 loss to the Denver Broncos truly was this past Sunday.

The explosive offense, that razzled and dazzled in Week 1 and 2 is non-existent. Comatose for the majority of the game besides a play here or there, Todd Downing’s offense has been, for lack of a better term, offensive.

Flip the script, and the defense has played well, all things considered. Sure, you can point to the Broncos going ultra-conservative with lead in tow, but that would be a disservice to Ken Norton Jr.’s group. (I’m giving KNJ credit here loosely. John Pagano has input and, in the end, it’s Jack Del Rio’s defense). Despite being on the field for so long, the defense held up it’s end of the bargain.

Let’s hit the Quick Slants:

(Note: All stats come from the official game box score via NFL.com)

  • Khalil Mack is a monster. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year got to the quarterback twice, the second of which was straight up unfair as he blew by both the right tackle and running back. He knew he had four sacks and recorded at least one in the last three games.
  • Mario Edwards Jr. is healthy and angry. On the first series, the lineman bursts through for the sack. He along with Mack are the tone-setters on defense. The 23-year-old now has three sacks on the year.
  • Johnny Holton lit up the Broncos’ No Fly Zone on his sprinting 64-yard touchdown catch. The special teams dynamo ran by the safety and made an impressive over-the-shoulder grab in full stride.
  • Derek Carr reportedly had numbness in his legs after a knee to the kidney. To be perfectly frank, Raider Nation went numb at the site of their starting quarterback lying prone on the ground before exiting the game after the sack.
  • EJ Manuel has found the accuracy and confidence that eluded him in Buffalo. The former first-round pick went 11 of 18 for 106 yards. While he did throw an interception, one has to admire the moxie to fire the pass and give the wide receiver a chance to make a play.
  • Amari Cooper was that wideout Manuel fired the ball to. Coop continues to be mind-bogglingly ineffective. Raider Nation even jumped all over him for not fighting for the ball. He even admitted he could have played defense there and swatted the ball away.
  • Jared Cook had a silver opportunity to be a hero — and dropped it. Things would have truly gotten interesting if the tight end hauled in the TD pass from Manuel. Historically, Cook has never sported super reliable hands.
  • David Amerson left the game early with concussion-like symptoms. The corners’ history of head ailments has to be very concerning to both coaches and fans alike.
  • Marquel Lee is a force against the run. The rookie still remains a big liability in coverage — see Broncos’ tight end A.J. Derby blowing past him for an impressive one-handed TD grab.
  • Jamize Olawale where art thou!? As both a blocker and nifty pass catcher I did not imagine it would take this long for him to be used by Downing.
  • Marquette King continues to be a saving grace of sorts with booming punts inside the opponent’s 20. But he needs to stop shanking one here and there.

Quote(s) of Note:

“Any time Coop is given an opportunity to go up and try to catch a ball, we want to give him that chance. I think I could’ve kept the ball more outside for him to try to shield off the safety a little more.”

— EJ Manuel on his intercepted pass intended for Amari Cooper

“We’re getting there. We’re getting better every week, trying to learn from our mistakes. But at the same time it could be a lot better. You want to be able to shut teams out and bring your defense on the road with you. It is what it is.”

— Khalil Mack on the defense

“They’ll do all the precautionary tests and everything, but as of now it’s back spasms. That should be something that cleans up quickly.”

— Jack Del Rio on Derek Carr’s injury

Be sure to follow the Raider Ramble’s Periscope channel for post-game access to pressers and player interviews provided by our own Scott Winter.

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