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Broncos deny Raiders AFC West title with 24-6 thumping in regular-season finale

DENVER -- With no chance at the playoffs and their coach likely to step down, the Broncos made sure their longtime rivals didn’t win the AFC West on Sunday, pummeling the Oakland Raiders, 24-6, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

It was an offensive display that had been largely missing most of the season, with quarterback Trevor Siemian mostly accurate and the long-lost running game churning out yards against a Raiders team that is heading to the playoffs but blew its chance to clinch a first-round playoff bye.

Instead, with the Kansas City Chiefs winning at San Diego, the Raiders fell to the No. 5 spot in the AFC playoffs and will play at Houston next weekend. The Chiefs won the AFC West and the No. 2 seed. The Broncos finished 9-7 after a 4-0 start, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

The Broncos’ running game that was virtually nonexistent most of the season finally awakened, with Justin Forsett taking off on a 64-yard run in the second quarter that set up a field goal. The Broncos finished with 143 rushing yards.

And the defense, like it has been all season, was stout, holding the Raiders to a measly 50 yards in the first half and 211 overall.

The Broncos took control early, with Devontae Booker capping an eight-play, 84-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run.

It was the Broncos' first opening drive for a touchdown at home this season, a reason they are out of the playoff race for the first time since 2010. Siemian completed all five passes for 54 yards on the drive.

The Broncos made it 10-0 in the second quarter with an eight-play, 85-yard drive highlighted by Forsett's run. But the drive stalled at the 4 and Brandon McManus made a 22-yard field goal with 11:30 to play in the first half.

The Raiders imploded with numerous penalties and late in the second quarter, the Broncos took control. After the Raiders accepted a penalty on third down instead of forcing a long field-goal attempt, Siemian found Booker with a screen pass in the left flank.

Booker then motored down the west sideline and into the end zone for a touchdown to make it 17-0 with 1:44 to play in the first half.

The Broncos finished the first half with 255 yards and a 12-3 edge in first downs. The Raiders had more penalty yards (75) than offensive yards (50), and they didn’t surpass 100 yards until there was 4:22 left in the third quarter.

The game became a rout when the Broncos drove 64 yards in 10 plays, getting a 2-yard touchdown pass from Siemian to Virgil Green to make it 24-0 with 8:14 left in the third quarter.
The Raiders finally scored with 3:09 left in the third quarter with Amari Cooper catching a 32-yard pass from Connor Cook. The Raiders went for two but were stopped, keeping the Broncos ahead, 24-6.

Broncos linebacker Zaire Anderson was carted off the field in the third quarter with a neck injury. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation, but he had movement in his arms and legs, the Broncos said.

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders injured his foot in the first quarter and after being examined, was ruled out.

And in a somewhat interesting moment in the first quarter, Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib ripped off the gold chain worn by Raiders receiver Michael Crabrtree.

With the future of coach Gary Kubiak swirling -- he’s expected to step down after the season because of health concerns -- and a long offseason on the horizon, the Broncos played inspired football to prevent the Raiders from winning the division title for the first time in 14 years.