OAKLAND, Calif. -- How’s that for a diversified portfolio?
A week after quarterback Derek Carr set a franchise record with 513 yards passing, the Oakland Raiders went basic against the Denver Broncos, imposing their will on the reigning Super Bowl champions by running the ball at will and getting a 30-20 victory Sunday night.
The Raiders (7-2) announced themselves to any doubters as true contenders by beating the defending champs on national television and taking sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
It all happened in an atmosphere as electric as anything seen in the Black Hole since the 2002 AFC title game which, by the way, was the last season in which Oakland qualified for the playoffs.
"We are going forward," said Latavius Murray, when asked what was next for his Raiders. "This is a new team, new mindset. We just want to keep getting better each day, better each week. Tonight we got a good win but we have to keep working. We’re only halfway there."
The Raiders ran for 218 yards, with Murray going for 114 himself, his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, on 20 carries. He also had his first career three-touchdown game with a trio of 1-yard rushing scores.
"I just got in a rhythm today," Murray said. "We needed this one. They left it up to us to run the rock; we knew we needed that to go out and win."
After his third touchdown, Murray gave the ball to right tackle Austin Howard and allowed him to spike it.
Throwing the ball all over the field in Tampa Bay is one thing; but to impart your will over the champs in front of a raucous crowd?
"They did a lot of talking all week," Raiders left tackle Donald Penn said of the Broncos. "But I said we don't talk with the media; we talk with our play, with our pads, and we showed that today."
Carr passed for 184 yards in completing 20 of 31 attempts, though he had the best seat in the house when it came to watching his O-line put in work.
"The way those guys were imposing their will," Carr said, "it was a fun thing to watch."
Oakland’s beleaguered defense set the tone early, the No. 31-ranked unit in the league forcing four straight three-and-outs while limiting Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian into a 1-for-8 passing start.
Khalil Mack had a pair of sacks, his fourth straight game with at least one, to give him a team-leading seven on the season, and recovered his own strip-sack. The Broncos rushed for just 33 yards.
"We're growing to expect success now," said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio. "We now we're a good team. We focus really on the preparation throughout the week. The guys were really on point like they have been each week.
"For us, it's about continuing the process."