Collins hit Jerry Porter for three of the scores, including the
winner on fourth-and-goal from the 5 with 1:49 remaining. Porter,
who beat Bailey for his first two touchdowns and another 52-yard
reception, looked right at home on a winter-wonderland kind of
night in Denver.
"It was hell out there," Porter said. "But it was cold,
After Oakland took the lead, Jake Plummer drove the Broncos
(7-4) to the Raiders 25 to set up Elam's field goal attempt. But
the snap was high, Elam kicked the lace-side of the ball and
Langston Walker blocked the kick to preserve the win for Oakland
(4-7), which will surely count this as a major highlight of a
"The stars must have been lined up, because gravity brought the
ball right to me," Walker said.
The Broncos, meanwhile, were 11-point favorites, but lost at
home for the second time in three games. The loss puts them one
game behind the Chargers in the AFC West with a game at San Diego
coming next week. The weather will surely be better there. Coach
Mike Shanahan wasn't using that as an excuse for this loss, though.
"Both teams had to play in the same conditions," Shanahan
said. "They made some big plays and we had a few big plays, too.
But they made the plays when it counted and found a way to get it
Oakland's winning touchdown was set up by a 63-yard completion
from Collins to Ronald Curry, who a few minutes earlier made a
spectacular one-handed grab in the back of the end zone to cut his
team's deficit to 24-19.
Collins finished 26-for-45 and showed no fear of Bailey.
His first touchdown to Porter came on a post route down the
middle of the field in which Bailey let the Raiders receiver slip
behind him. The second was on a simple slant in which Collins
rifled the ball perfectly and Bailey couldn't prevent Porter from
making the catch or tackle him before he crossed the goal line.
"The plays were there," Collins said. "It just happened to be
Champ on the coverage. Our whole receiving group made plays."
Meanwhile, Bailey's biggest hit of the night came on his own
teammate, Kelly Herndon, as the two vied for an interception off a
high, jump ball thrown by Collins. The pass fell incomplete.
"Porter made the plays and you have to give him credit,"
Bailey said. "It's not like I wasn't in good coverage or anything.
He just made the plays."
Plummer threw for 245 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown to
Rod Smith that went down as the longest play in either player's
career. Plummer also hit Ashley Lelie for 57 yards to set up a
touchdown that gave Denver a 17-13 lead early in the fourth
A few plays later, Denver defensive tackle Ellis Johnson
intercepted a batted pass and returned it 32 yards for an 11-point
The Raiders didn't give up, though.
Collins finished with his second 300-yard game of the season.
Porter caught six passes for 135 yards for his biggest game of the
year. Meanwhile, Curry's two big catches made up for a bad drop in
last week's 23-17 loss to San Diego -- a loss that added fuel to
speculation that coach Norv Turner might not make it past his first
year with the team.
"I don't know if anyone outside our own group thought we could
do this," Turner said.
Elam's miss was only his third of the season, but he almost had
another one earlier. He opened the scoring on a 32-yarder that
barely warbled through after a high snap -- much like the one that
contributed to his miss with the game on the line.
"It felt good and I felt it was there," Elam said of the miss.
"It's very frustrating. We definitely should have won that game
and this one is going to hurt for a while."
Reuben Droughns had 102 yards for Denver, but also lost two
key fumbles -- one deep inside Oakland territory and another that
led to Oakland's second touchdown. ... Broncos CB Lenny Walls left
with a shoulder separation. ... Raiders RB Tyrone Wheatley was
taken off on a cart after injuring his hamstring. ... The Broncos
wore their alternate orange uniforms for the second time and fell
to 0-2 wearing them. ... The teams split the series for only the
fifth time in the last 26 seasons.
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