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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Raiders win possible final game in Oakland 27-14 vs. Broncos

Mon Dec 24 11:36pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Marshawn Lynch, Dwayne Harris, Case Keenum, Doug Martin, Andre Holmes, Jalen Richard, Phillip Lindsay, DaeSean Hamilton, Courtland Sutton

Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin (28) runs against Denver Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) and inside linebacker Todd Davis (51) during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph reacts while talking to an official during the second half of an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Broncos in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard, top, celebrates with tight end Lee Smith (86) after scoring against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Denver Broncos wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton (17) catches a touchdown pass against Oakland Raiders defensive back Marcus Gilchrist (31) during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, right, watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph gestures during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin (28) scores against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


An Oakland Raiders fan holds up a sign before an NFL football game between the Raiders and the Denver Broncos in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


Oakland Raiders' Dwayne Harris, center, celebrates with fans after returning a punt for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Oakland Raiders' Dwayne Harris (17) returns a punt for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Fans watch the opening kickoff from a general view of Oakland Alameda County Coliseum during the first half of an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Dwayne Harris returned a punt 99 yards for a touchdown after Denver failed to down it, and the Raiders gave their fans plenty to celebrate in their possible final game in Oakland, beating the Broncos 27-14 on Monday night.

The Raiders (4-11) are set to move to Las Vegas in 2020 and have no lease for next year. With Oakland officials having sued the team over the move, the Raiders are looking into other options for 2019, including AT&T Park in San Francisco.

A decision is expected before the Super Bowl, but many of the die-hards came out for this game knowing it could be the last NFL game ever in the stadium that opened in 1966.

It has been almost that long since the Broncos (6-9) had gone back-to-back seasons with losing records, having last done it in 1971-72. After going 5-11 in coach Vance Joseph's first season, Denver has done little better in year two and general manager John Elway could be ready to make a change after the season.

The Broncos opened the month with playoff aspirations, but three straight losses to teams that entered the game with losing records ended those hopes and have the team searching for answers.

Shortly after Oakland native Marshawn Lynch lit the torch in honor of late owner Al Davis before the game, Harris delivered the biggest highlight with a punt return that was tied for the second-longest ever.

Andre Holmes deflected Colby Wadman's punt just before it crossed the goal line and Isaac Yiadom was in position to down it at the 1. But he couldn't hold onto the ball and Harris picked it up before racing 99 yards down the sideline for the touchdown that stunned the Broncos. Only Patrick Peterson (99 yards) and Robert Bailey (103) have punt returns that long in NFL history.

The Broncos weren't much better at the other phases of the game, committing pre-snap penalties, generating almost no consistent offense in the first half and then allowing Doug Martin to scamper 24 yards untouched around the end to make it 14-0 midway through the second quarter.

Martin, who was born in Oakland, finished with 107 yards for his biggest rushing day since 2015.

Case Keenum got the Broncos on the board with a pair of TD passes in the second half to DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton. But it wasn't enough as Jalen Richard scored on a 3-yard run for Oakland and the Raiders sealed the win with interceptions by Marcus Gilchrist and Erik Harris.

RED FLAG ALERT

Raiders coach Jon Gruden threw his challenge flag after Keenum's 19-yard TD pass to Sutton, believing that Keenum crossed the line before the throw. But scoring plays are automatically reviewed and the replay booth confirmed the call without a stoppage. Oakland was charged with a timeout, the second time this season Gruden has tried to challenge a TD.

FIRST-HALF SHUTOUT

The Raiders came into the game allowing the most points per game in franchise history since 1961, but gave up nothing in the opening half against the Broncos. It's the third straight meeting between the teams where Denver failed to score in the opening half. Those are the only times in the past 90 games that Oakland has pitched a first-half shutout.

MILESTONE WATCH

Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the first half, joining Dominic Rhodes and LaGarrette Blount as the only undrafted rookies to top 1,000 in a season in the Super Bowl era. Lindsay ran for 46 yards before leaving with a hand injury and as has 1,037 on the season. He needs 68 more to break Rhodes' record set in 2001 for Indianapolis.

UP NEXT

Broncos: Host the Chargers on Sunday.

Raiders: Visit the Chiefs on Sunday.

Player Notes
Tee Higgins Aug 5 8:20pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft and has a high ceiling without a doubt, especially since he will be catching passes from No. 1 overall selection Joe Burrow. Both rookies have built a rapport already as the duo conducted workouts together during the offseason. Higgins finished his final season at Clemson with 59 catches and 13 touchdowns off of 1,167 yards. While he is a risky selection in redraft leagues this season due to his potential limited playing time, he is surely worth a first-round pick in dynasty formats as he will likely rack up plenty of receptions from Burrow for years to come.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Boyd Aug 5 8:10pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has begun catching passes from rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow as the team kicks off training camp. The 25-year-old has plenty of hype heading into the 2020 season after racking up over 1,000 yards in his previous two seasons. With A.J. Green seemingly healthy along with the addition of Clemson wideout Tee Higgins, Boyd could see things open up more on the offensive end, while also remaining the team's top pass-catcher.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Green Aug 5 8:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green went through his first walkthrough under second-year head coach Zac Taylor on Tuesday. The veteran, who recently signed a one-year tender a few weeks ago, missed all of 2019 after injuring his ankle during training camp. While consistent ailments have been the theme for the 32-year-old over the past seasons, there is no denying his ability when healthy. He is no longer considered an elite wideout, however, he is worth a mid-round pick for those looking for an option with an enormous upside.

From RotoBaller

Joe Mixon Aug 5 7:40pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is still without a new deal as the team heads toward the 2020 season. However, according to director of player personnel, Duke Tobin, the organization views the 24-year-old as a "cornerstone piece of the franchise." Mixon is looking for a contract that would pay him north of $8 million per year, a significant increase from the $1.2 million that he is expected to earn in the final year of his rookie deal. The former Sooner is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and is projected by many to be a fantasy breakout by year's end.

From RotoBaller

Ezekiel Elliott Aug 5 7:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was quick to respond to Ed Werder's Twitter post regarding a potentially reduced role for the former rushing champ, quipping "we all gonna eat." Though Elliott is a shoo-in, first-round pick in fantasy drafts for the 2020 campaign, many still wonder how he will co-exist on an offense that has plenty of mouths to feed, notably Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and 17th overall pick, CeeDee Lamb. Elliott finished 2019 as a top-five back in the majority of formats. Under new head coach Mike McCarthy, who has overseen some productive runners throughout his career, the 25-year-old could be in store for another productive year.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Aug 5 6:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas broke the single-season receptions record last year by racking up 149 catches, surpassing Marvin Harrison's 2002 mark of 143. While that accomplishment would be good enough for most throughout the league, the 27-year-old is aiming to exceed his 2019 total heading into the 2020 campaign. Thomas convincingly dominated the fantasy picture last season, and in addition to his catch total, he also accumulated over 1,700 yards while finishing fifth in yards after the catch. He is expected to finish as the top fantasy wideout this season, and will likely get snagged off the draft board within the top three picks, especially in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Travis Benjamin Aug 5 5:43pm ET

Updating a previous story, San Francisco 49ers WR Travis Benjamin was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.

From TheHuddle

Albert Wilson Aug 5 5:33pm ET

Updating a previous story, Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.

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Davon Godchaux Aug 5 4:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins DT Davon Godchaux was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.

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Tyeler Davison Aug 5 4:43pm ET

Atlanta Falcons DT Tyeler Davison was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5. LB Ahmad Thomas was released.

From TheHuddle

Austin Hooper Aug 5 4:33pm ET

Cleveland Browns TE Austin Hooper lived part of the summer with QB Baker Mayfield while the two worked out together.

Fantasy Spin: It certainly could help Hooper to at least be somewhat familiar with his new QB despite all the lost reps from canceled offseason programs following his signing as a free agent. Hooper is expected to be the No. 1 tight end over David Njoku and should be drafted as a top-tier option at his thin position.

From TheHuddle

Jayon Brown Aug 5 4:33pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Jayon Brown (undisclosed) passed his physical Wednesday, Aug. 5, and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

From TheHuddle

Stefon Diggs Aug 5 4:13pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs restructured his contract Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to a source. He'll receive an extra $3.3 million in 2020, an extra $7.7 million in guaranteed money but a decrease of $300,000 cash in 2021 and a drop from $25.55 million to $22.67 million in 2022-23 cash.

From TheHuddle

LeSean McCoy Aug 5 3:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB LeSean McCoy probably will have a role in the passing game this season, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Fantasy Spin: It appears like McCoy may be in line for the third down back job, but fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. McCoy probably would see a handful of touches each games if he makes the roster but may only be a depth option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Kentrell Brice Aug 5 3:53pm ET

Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Bears) signed with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, Aug. 5. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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Avery Williamson Aug 5 3:23pm ET

New York Jets LB Avery Williamson (knee) said he expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.

From TheHuddle

Jeremy Hill Aug 5 3:13pm ET

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Ronald Jones II Aug 5 3:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II was called "the main guy" in the running back room by his coach Bruce Arians. Arians said he is confident in Jones II and that the other guys are fighting for roles. The other guys include third-round draft pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who will lose valuable practice time after he hit the COVID-19 list, and veteran running back LeSean McCoy, who won't challenge for a lead back role at this point in his career. Jones II looks the part after an offseason spent bulking up and catching hundreds of passes to address a weakness in his game. The 23-year-old has RB2 upside in the 7th round but it's likely that Vaughn and McCoy cut into his ceiling in 2020, despite what Arians said.

From RotoBaller

Kentrell Brice Aug 5 3:03pm ET

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Ronald Jones II Aug 5 2:13pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Jones rushed for 724 yards and six touchdowns last season and should improve those stats with more playing time and touches. He will be a part of one of the better offenses in the NFL and can be considered a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.

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