Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/1/12

If the ghosts of past Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders games were present Sunday at Mile High, they witnessed some ghastly playing by one team, and some devilishly good playing by another. Let's get right to it!

The five major points of emphasis and things that were learned from the last installment of the rivalry between the Broncos and Raiders that dates back to the AFL are as follows:

1. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning still has it.

Well, to be more accurate, he never really lost it. He may have taken a year off from playing football, but The Surgeon was back Sunday, and in almost perfect form.

Manning carved and cut up the Raiders' defense, and in particular the secondary, to the tune of 30 completions on 38 attempts which included three touchdowns. No interceptions. No sacks. No worries.

Peyton and the rest of the Broncos' offense marched up and down the field without much resistance from the Oakland Raiders' defense.

Manning must have been licking his chops all week, anxiously awaiting a banged-up, and frankly not very good Raiders defense. Manning is a Hall-of-Fame quarterback who has made a living picking apart defenses much better than Sunday's version of the Silver and Black. This one was easy. Too easy.

2. Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen made a rookie mistake. And it may have cost his team the game. With the Raiders fielding the second half kickoff and only being down 10-6, even though they were severely outplayed by the Broncos in the first half, Oakland had a great opportunity to regain some control of the game.

Oakland had a third-down reception to wide receiver Denarius Moore that by all indications from replay and comments by the broadcasters was marked incorrectly on the field. Moore caught the ball and then seemingly rolled forward with the ball at least touching the first down marker as shown on television, if not breaking the plane altogether.

What seemed to be the right time to challenge the spot of the ball in hopes of getting a first down and continuing the drive, turned in to a no-challenge call by Allen. The Raiders punted. Denver took the ensuing possession and marched down the field for a touchdown. Any and all momentum Oakland was looking for was gone. For all intents and purposes, the game ended then also.

3. Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee really loves playing the Oakland Raiders. McGahee has had his two highest rushing totals as a pro against the Raiders, and Sunday's game in Denver was another cause for celebration as he dashed, darted, and destroyed the Raiders for 124 yards on 19 carries and that included one rushing touchdown.

Not sure what it is, but the Raiders just can't stop McGahee, and it doesn't matter if he is in a Ravens uniform or a Broncos jersey; either way it's as if there is a cape hanging off the back of No. 23.

4. The Oakland Raiders could very well be in for a very long and ugly season if they don't show sudden improvement. The Raiders' offense is quickly becoming known as the 'the three and out gang', with no semblance of consistency or rhythm during their short lived time on the field.

This is making matters dire for the Raiders' defense that is banged up with injuries, spending too much time on the field each week; and can be seen dropping their heads and exhibiting obvious body language signalling all is not good.

5. The Denver Broncos can now be considered the favorites again to win the AFC West based on their play in Sunday's game in Denver. They have great quarterback play. A swarming, opportunistic defense that roams around the field making big plays and big times.

A running game that is gaining momentum and strength each week. Solid offensive line play that is keeping any and all pressure far away from Peyton Manning.

Along with a raucous home field crowd, game conditions with the high altitude that always favors the Broncos, and a tough early part of the schedule that has just passed, it is not hard to imagine Denver being a big factor come January.

In essence the Denver Broncos are a team hitting their stride and making a move up the AFC ladder of supremacy. On the other hand the Oakland Raiders have taken another step backward, and seemed destined to be looking for answers and and their AFC West rivals as the season continues.


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