Raiders blow Broncos a mile high

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

DENVER -- It took a record-setting performance from their old folks to get the Oakland Raiders out of deep trouble.

With 36-year-old Rich Gannon completing 21 straight passes and 40-year-old Jerry Rice becoming the first player to score 200 career touchdowns, the Raiders broke a four-game losing streak by beating the Denver Broncos 34-10 Monday night.

Rod Woodson, 37, extended his own career mark of interception returns for touchdowns with a 98-yarder in the first quarter that sent the Raiders on their way.

''It was Monday night, it was a big game, everyone was hyped up. I'm very proud of how our team came out tonight,'' said Rice, who scored twice for a total of 201 TDs and also broke Walter Payton's record for total yardage.

The win on ABC's celebration of its 500th Monday night telecast brought Oakland (5-4) within a game of the Broncos (6-3) in the AFC West.

A loss and the Raiders would have had five straight losses and a losing record with Super Bowl champion New England coming to town next week.

They also reignited an offense that had averaged 40.5 points during a four-game winning streak to start the season but just 16 in the four-game losing streak that followed.

''It was a big win but we can't start looking at the standings,'' said Gannon, who completed 29 of his first 30 passes and finished 34-of-38 for 352 yards. ''We certainly can't get carried away with another big game coming up this weekend.''

Gannon's 21 straight completions set a record for one game, breaking the mark of 20 by Ken Anderson of Cincinnati set on Jan. 2, 1983.

The overall record of 22 was set by Joe Montana for San Francisco in two games in 1987.

''Obviously, I wasn't counting,'' Gannon said. ''But I knew we were moving the ball. I knew we were having success. That's what counted.''

Gannon had TD passes of 6 and 34 yards to Rice and 22 to Jerry Porter. On a 96-yard, third-quarter scoring drive, Gannon was 9-of-9 for 94 yards.

Rice had nine catches for 103 yards. He now has 21,817 total yards for his career, 14 more than Payton.

Woodson's return, late in the first quarter, turned the game after Denver, trailing 3-0, had driven to the Oakland 4.

Woodson stepped in front of Clinton Portis, grabbed the ball and outran the fast-closing Rod Smith, extending his own NFL record with his 12th career TD return.

Rice, who holds every major career receiving record got his 200th TD late in the first half on a 6-yard pass from Gannon.

The Raiders, who had lost seven straight games in Denver, took over the game early and led 21-7 at halftime.

It was an overall bad night for Denver, which lost tight end Shannon Sharpe with a dislocated elbow in the first quarter and defensive end Trevor Pryce with a knee injury in the third.

''They came into our backyard and kind of kicked us all over the field,'' coach Mike Shanahan said.

''That's about as bad as it gets,'' added Denver linebacker John Mobley. ''I wouldn't say they wanted it more than us, but they came in here pretty desperate.''

Sebastian Janikowski's 47-yard field goal gave Oakland a 3-0 lead on the first drive of the game.

The Broncos reciprocated by driving from their own 38 to the Oakland 4. But on second down, Woodson made the interception that turned the game.

Janikowski's 32-yard field goal early in the second quarter made it 13-0 before Denver scored, going 68 yards on 13 plays to score on Portis' 1-yard run.

But Oakland came right back.

Gannon hit Charlie Garner for 49 yards on a scramble and the 80-yard drive was capped by Gannon's fade to Rice over Tyrone Poole in the corner of the end zone. Gannon then hit Porter for a 2-point conversion to make it 21-7. That was Rice's 200th TD.

After Gannon engineered the long drive that made it 27-7, Jason Elam hit a 27-yard field goal 1:36 into the fourth quarter to make it 27-10.

But the Raiders came right back with Gannon hitting Rice for the 34-yard score and TD No. 201.

Notes: Denver punter Micah Knorr, signed two weeks ago to handle kickoffs, sent the opening kickoff out of bounds for a penalty. ... Woodson's interception return was the second-longest in Raiders' history. Eddie Anderson had a 102-yard return on Dec. 12, 1992 against Miami. ... LB Bill Romanowski, who left Denver for the Raiders in the offseason, was booed after making his first tackle in the first quarter. He finished with four tackles. ... Trace Armstrong's sack of Brian Griese late in the second quarter was his first with Oakland and the 100th of his career. ... Oakland's win was just its third in 15 games against Shanahan, its former coach. ... Griese didn't throw a TD pass for the first time in 24 games, ending the league's longest active streak.

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