September 8th, Broncos (Season Opener)

Eeee! This is a truly wonderful time of year. Football has started again, hot weather is mostly gone, tomatoes are at their ripest, and I can believe for a few glorious moments that maybe the Raiders will get it together this year. It's already been a weird season and we aren't even through the first week.

- Tom Brady, even though I said all kinds of mean things about you last year, I'm still sorry that you're out for the season. ACL injuries are never good, and I've known way too many people who have had them.

- Brett Favre in green and white. I am experiencing severe cognitive dissonance.

- See, everybody. I was right last year about Eli Manning.

- Eeee! Hurry up, Vikings and Packers!

Wow, that was fast. Donald Driver caught an interception and polished off the game. And here we are in Oakland.

Hello, Black Hole! I particularly like the guy in the Darth Vader costume. Good stuff.

First Quarter (All times approximate)

14:36 Trickeration. Mmhmm. I think that's called "a decent block"

14:05 Cutler throws a first down. Fortunately, Royal doesn't get too far.

13:30 Selvin Young just made an efficient tackle. I am pleased.

13:00 Royal makes another first down. I am less pleased.

12:20 A bobbled ball. Cutler looks cranky.

12:12 A large pile of men in silver and black land on Young. Yay!

11:30 Stokely catches a depressingly good pass. My compatriot treasonously suggests the Raiders may have a hard time tonight.

10:34 A large dude whose name I didn't catch tries to run it up the gut and is stopped.

10:06 Cutler throws it away.

9:59 ARGH. Cutler throws a lovely 26-yard pass to Royal for a touchdown. I need a beer.

9:50 Whee! Higgins runs the kickoff back to the Broncos' 40.

9:45 Hi, Darren McFadden! JaMarcus hands it off to D-Mac and he gains 8 yards. He then zooms off the field and is replaced by Fargas, who then barely misses a first down.

8:23 Fargas just made the first down with several yards to spare.

7:47 JaMarcus hands it off to Fargas again and we're at about the Broncos' 15.

6:32 Fargas flies through the air and comes just a weensy short of another first down. Or maybe not. The refs are contemplating. Nope, no first down.

6:01 Hmm. Everyone on the field just tried to occupy the same space at once. Fortunately, JaMarcus hung on to the ball for a first down.

5:15 D-Mac gets the ball and is promptly drilled by two Broncos.

4:35 JaMarcus fires the cannon AND HOW THE HELL IS THAT NOT PASS INTERFERENCE?!?

4:25 Hmph. The ball goes bouncing all over, even though it's been blown dead.

4:19 The Broncos have the ball back. Grr.

3:37 Andre Hall gets a first down.

3:01 Cutler throws another excellent pass to Royal for another first down.

2:10 Nate Jackson is brought down before the first down.

1:33 Richardson and Co. just barely miss stopping Pittman from making a first down. Upon reflection and replay, they stopped him just fine.

1:08 Thank you, Lane Kiffin, for finally challenging something.

Hooray! The ruling on the field is overturned.

0:40 Heh. Cutler tries to get the Raiders to jump, and they wait patiently. He calls a timeout.

0:20 The Broncos punt and a doofus Raiders player illegally blocks a Bronco in the back while Higgins runs the ball back a relatively satisfactory distance.

0:09 Fargas takes off and goes nowhere. Thus ends a really fast first quarter.

Second Quarter

14:51 Whee! JaMarcus throws a little pass to D-Mac, who zips up for a first down. A girl can hope.

14:13 JaMarcus hands it off to Fargas, who storms into a big clump of Broncos.

13:23 Again to Fargas, who sees a hole and goes for it. Nope, no first down.

13:13 JaMarcus throws a ginormous long pass to Curry, who just barely misses it. Waah!

12:53 The Raiders punt. The ball goes into the end zone, where it is nobly batted out by Branch. Several others flitter around watching it bounce. Ah, football.

12:58 Apparently, Branch stepped on the line while leaping into the air. Hrmph. The Broncos start at the Raiders' 20.

12:30 Cutler throws a small pass for a first down.

12:00 Cutler throws a beautiful ball to Scarper, who evades Raiders left and right to the 4-yard line, where they finally catch up to him. I disapprove.

10:54 Cutler throws to Royal, but little yellow flags are all over the place. The ref sez Royal was off the line of scrimmage. Replay!

10:53: Cutler runs around frantically and throws an incomplete pass to Scheffler. Actually, it was a fine pass that bounced off his chestplate.

10:31 Cutler hands it off and the runner promptly gets pulled down by several Raiders.

9:58 Cutler throws to Stokely, who misses by a few inches. Whew.

9:55 The Broncos kick a field goal. Well, at least it's only 10-0.

9:55 The Broncos kickoff right into the end zone. Mr. Higgins looks very disappointed as he kneels down.

9:50 JaMarcus fakes to Fargas and the Broncos bite, but he hangs onto too long and is sacked. Bah.

9:17 JaMarcus throws up the middle to Lelie. Hi, Ashley Lelie!

8:33 Delay of game. 5-yard penalty. Sigh.

8:22 JaMarcus hands it off to D-Mac, who zooms about 8 yards up and is stopped at the 22.

7:37 The Raiders punt and fail to tackle the receiver far too many times. My cat attempts to soothe me by licking my hair.

7:29 Cutler hands off to Sheldon Young, who disappears under a lot of black jerseys.

6:47 Cutler fires off to Royal for a first down. Good pass, good catch. Not quite a first down

6:22 Cutler throws to Royal again, and makes that first down.

6:18 DeAngelo Hall, DON'T TACKLE PEOPLE OUT OF BOUNDS. Okay? That's a 15-yard penalty, which was not needed.

5:10 Yow. Royal just jumped up about three feet straight up in the air to catch a pass for another first down.


4:30 And we're on the four yard line, and Pittman runs it in for a touchdown, and I am sad.

4:21 Field goal. I need another beer.

4:18 Higgins goes storming up to ... the Broncos' 11.

4:09 JaMarcus throws an enormous bomb to Curry, who just barely misses it. My compatriot is pounding the sofa and cussing up a storm. Cat #2 flees in terror.

3:50 JaMarcus connects with someone for a first down at the Broncos' 32.

3:05 13 yards for Fargas! At the 49! Progress!

2:35 Argh. JaMarcus throws to someone, who tosses it to Higgins, who promptly bobbles it for a loss of 15. I jinxed them.

2:14 Timeout, presumably to discuss the depressing turn of events. We will take this opportunity to remember Gene Upshaw.

2:12 JaMarcus throws to Chad Schilens. Third and long.

1:55 JaMarcus is sacked again by Peterson. Al Davis, will you please get some people who can block?

1:52 The ball is punted to the end zone. The Raiders Girls are rocking booty shorts this year, and they do look nice.

1:41 Cutler throws incomplete to Stokely. Shanahan has the faintest hint of a smile. My blood runs cold.

1:38 Cutler throws to Royal at the 37.

1:00 And again! Ooh, but a Bronco wasn't on the line of scrimmage. Replay!

1:04 Cutler throws to Stokely, who is short of a first down.

0:42 Cutler throws to Royal, who misses for a change.

0:29 Cutler runs for the first down, but Asomugha knocks him flying with a low hit. It's very satisfying. We take what we can get at this point.

0:33 The Broncos punt to the sidelines. Higgins catches and goes out at the 19.

0:12 A sketchy screen play almost goes badly, and little yellow flags go all over. False start. I perceive meltdown commencing.

Third Quarter

15:00 Amazingly, all of the Raiders still seem to have their butts attached after what must have been an epic chewing by Kiffen. Higgins misses the punt.

14:55 JaMarcus connects on a throw short of a first down.

14:28 JaMarcus throws to Curry for a first down.

13:50 JaMarcus hands it off to D-Mac, who steamrolls to the 48.

13:08 Repeat of previous play, and now we have a first down.

12:26 JaMarcus fakes a handoff and throws to Griffen for another first down. Whee!

11:46 JaMarcus tosses to D-Mac, who is promptly stopped after gaining a yard. I suspect the Broncos have figured out that he can run.

11:10 Repeat of the same. Third and long.

10:32 JaMarcus throws it away, and Curry wants a flag. No flag anywhere. Punt-o-rama.

10:25 Lefler punts to the Broncos' 8-yard line.

9:49 Cutler throws to Royal for a first down. The Raiders are just slow enough in tackling to let him get it.

9:01 Cutler throws to Royal AGAIN, a long glorious bomb. Wilson apparently is in awe and lets Royal mosey right by.

8:33 Cutler hands off to 35, who hands off to Royal, who throws the freakin' ball away. And then he goes off the field.

8:23 But it's okay, because Cutler throws a 48-yard pass to Jackson, who runs it in for a touchdown, barely encumbered by an attempt at a tackle. The Black Hole is looking mutinous. Why am I writing so much about the Broncos? Oh yeah.

8:18 Higgins goes down at the Raiders' 18.

8:13 JaMarcus throws it away. Harris is down and looking worse for wear. This is the part of football I like the least.

8:12 He's up and moving okay. Amen!

8:03 JaMarcus decides to run for the line himself and is brought down about six yards short. McQuistan, in his infinite wisdom, decides to rough up a Bronco for a personal foul.

7:36 And now what? More yellow flags! 5 yard penalty.

7:15 JaMarcus hands it off to Fargas, who doesn't get too far. Punting again.

6:33 Apparently, Eddie Royal is just going to do everything in this game. He catches the punt, tears up the field, and fumbles the ball. Half the Raiders leap on it, but he gets there first.

6:22 Cutler runs for the first down marker himself and gets shooed out at the sideline.

5:53 Andre Hall plows through the Raiders' line like it isn't there for another first down.

5:10 More Andre Hall, but not another first down.

4:18 More Andre Hall, and another first down.

4:08 Cutler throws to Selvin Young for a few yards. The camera just cut to Al Davis, who is looking very small and frail. I almost feel sorry for him.

3:27 Cutler throws an incomplete to Stokely, who is double-covered.

3:19 Broncos' field goal is good. I am depressed.

3:10 Higgins returns the kickoff to the Raiders' 28.

3:03 D-Mac makes about 9 yards on a handoff... and there's a holding call. Repeat first down. If I had a towel, I'd chew it like Lamont Jordan did a couple of years ago.

2:31 JaMarcus gets a first down.

1:55 JaMarcus throws a laser to Lelie for another first down to the Broncos' 38.

1:11 JaMarcus hands it off to Fargus for a 2-yard gain.

0:28 JaMarcus fakes and tosses to Fargus for an 11-yard gain for a first down. There isn't enough time for another play, so they end the third quarter. I need a towel!

Fourth Quarter

14:54 JaMarcus throws to Justin Griffith at the Broncos' 10. Please, God.

14:15 JaMarcus overthrows Miller in the end zone.

14:14 JaMarcus fakes and connects with Miller on the 8 or so.

13:42 JaMarcus attempts to run it in himself, but the Broncos are not fooled.

13:08 YES! JaMarcus throws the most beautiful pass in the history of the world to Lelie! And I fling my arms in the air, and there's a YELLOW FLAG. But it's for pass interference, not that it did those cheatin' Broncos any good. Points! On the board! And the extra point is good!

You'll have to excuse me; I need to do the Touchdown Dance. I don't get to do it very often.

13:08 Andre Hall catches the kickoff in the end zone. D-Mac and Burgess have both gone to the locker room with possible injuries. My moment of delight is short-lived. There's a flag. Wilson went and personally fouled Hall. YAAARGH.

12:43 Cutler tosses to Young, who gains about 8 yards. And there's a flag on Richardson for a facemask. At least some things in this world stay constant: the Raiders play dirty as always.

12:03 I missed that last play in a state of misery. The Broncos got about 5 yards.

11:27 Cutler throws to Royal again, who gets about 20 yards running. I could be cutting and pasting half this game.

10:46 Cutler hands off to a very large Bronco, who doesn't get too far.

10:08 Another pestiferous Broncos touchdown, this one thrown to Young. The Raiders fans in the stands are despondent. The Raiders fans on the sofa are too.

9:56 JaMarcus connects with Miller for about 8 yards.

9:21 JaMarcus hands off to Fargas, who makes a nice but short run. 3rd and short.

8:44 Fargas makes a noble effort to get the first down, but nothing doing.

8:16 They're going for it. Might as well!

8:06 Ack. Turned over on downs. That's why I'm not an NFL coach. Then again, Kiffin is.

8:01 Eddie Royal has been pulled out of the game, possibly solely to save DeAngelo Hall from committing seppuku right here on the field.

6:53 (I missed a play there. The Broncos made some yards.)

6:35 Hillis rushes for a few yards

4:46 The Broncos continue their inexorable march to the end zone. Another touchdown. In the background, a Raiders fan can be heard wailing piteously.

4:35 Higgins catches the kickoff and is stopped at the 20.

4:22 JaMarcus throws to somebody, who doesn't go very far.

4:14 JaMarcus hands off to Fargas, who tears through the Broncos' line and almost makes it out the other side. 3rd and 4.

3:32 Fargas gets the ball, zips through a hole, and makes it 41 yards.

3:00 JaMarcus throws a lofty pass way out of bounds.

2:45 JaMarcus fakes and throws to Miller, who catches at the end of a nice route.

2:11 JaMarcus throws to Griffith, who gets it to the 4-yard line.

2:00 JaMarcus hands off to Fargas, who gets it... to the 4-yard line.

1:38 JaMarcus has nobody open and throws incomplete.

1:34 JaMarcus exhibits tremendous patience and throws to Curry, who is open as can be. Touchdown! Eee! And the final point is good! Touchdown dance!

1:31 Eddie Royal sensibly takes a knee after catching the kickoff, sparing me another minute and a half of blogging.

Final score: Broncos 41, Raiders 14. It's gonna be a long season.