Raiders top the Broncos on SNF; 5 things that went wrong

OAKLAND -- The Denver Broncos have fallen and the Oakland Raiders have solidly seated themselves upon the throne of the AFC West.

The fight for the top spot wasn't pretty. The electric Oakland offense struggled to keep chugging, and the Denver defense failed to keep enough points off the board. 

The team, without key players like Aqib Talib, also did not cause any turnovers -- a keystone for any Broncos victory.

Broncos defenders didn't only have to get it done without help from Talib, they had to win without the help of the offense.

In the end the Broncos lost their seat on top of the division in a 30 to 20 loss, and will move forward with a 6-3 record, more than enough to still contend for playoffs as the season continues. 

Here are the five keys to the Broncos loss: 

1.) Tackling issues. 

The Broncos defenders failed to secure too many tackles to count, giving up far too many yards after catches and yards after contact. 

Raiders running backs were able to boast a roughly six yard-per-carry average, with several breakout runs, including a 42-yard rush and a 28-yard rush. 

2.) First quarter curse continues.

The Broncos continually fail to both score and prevent scores in the first quarter, setting the team up for an uphill battle late in the game. Heading into the half, the Broncos were only able to score a field goal and touchdown, far behind the 20 points the Raiders had put on the board. 

3.) Penalties. A lot of them. 

The penalties racked up late in the game for Denver. To the tune of over 10 penalties for over 100 yards. That's insurmountable, unless the team is the Raiders, which had 23 penalties one week prior and managed to win. 

But to a fledgling offense that needs every break it can get, and to a defense which needs to shore up its weaknesses, it's unacceptable. 

4.) Nagging injuries. 

Of course having Aqib Talib out hurt the Broncos, as the Raiders picked on Bradley Roby who served in his stead. But also, nagging injuries impacted others, like Brandon Marshall, who exited the game for several plays.

Importantly, the Broncos also lost Shane Ray, who had to be carted to the locker room, but was able to walk to the sideline on his own power. 

It increasingly became easier for the Raiders to move huge chunks of yards as the defense wore down through the night. 

5.) Broncos lose the turnover battle. 

The Broncos hold the longest standing record for winning games where the team controls the turnover battle. In Sunday night's match, the team did not win that battle. 

Oakland was able to take one away by sacking Trevor Siemian, then stealing another by intercepting the quarterback in the fourth quarter. 

The Broncos will look to the future, facing off against the New Orleans Saints in just one week. See more Broncos coverage here.

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