Raiders fall to No. 5 seed with blowout loss to Broncos

*The Denver Broncos (9-7) jumped out to an early lead and clamped down on the Oakland Raiders (12-4) backup quarterbacks in a 24-6 win to end the season. Here is what you need to know: *

  1. Oakland's loss coupled with a Kansas City Chiefs win sinks the Raiders to the No. 5 seed. Jack Del Rio's team will head to Houston next week. Losing a first-round bye is a big blow for the Raiders who could have used the extra week to prep their backup quarterbacks. On the other hand, Houston is the division winner everyone in the AFC playoffs wanted to face. The Texans have as many quarterback question marks as the Raiders.
  1. A week after losing Derek Carr to a broken leg, the Raiders' quarterback situation got murkier. Backup Matt McGloin exited in the first half with a shoulder injury after getting battered. He did not return. Prior to exiting, McGloin did not look good. The fourth-year quarterback was scatter-shot, completing just six of 11 passes for 21 yards (1.9 average). McGloin airmailed Amari Cooper on what should have been a 60-plus yard TD pass. The Broncos secondary isn't a good matchup for most starting quarterbacks, and it made McGloin look every bit a backup.
  1. Connor Cook looked like a rookie thrust into a bad situation early. His fumble to open the second half came as he scrambled up the pocket and didn't protect the football. Once he settled in, Cook displayed some tools, and an ability to get through his progressions. He led the Raiders' only scoring drive with some solid darts. Cook finished 14-of-21 passing for 150 yards, a touchdown and an interception. We're not going to take too much away from Cook's relief appearance. The Raiders were down big when he took over against one of the best secondaries in the NFL. It won't get any easier for the rookie if he gets the nod next week in Houston. Cook looked like the better quarterback in this game, so it will be interesting to see if Del Rio sticks with the rookie even if McGloin is cleared.
  1. With Gary Kubiak planning to step away after the game, his players sent him out the right way. The defense swarmed the quarterback and the secondary smothered receivers. Quarterback Trevor Siemian got the ball out quick, aiding his sub-par offensive line, and he moved the ball early. The Broncos finally found a run game, sparked by a big Justin Forsett scamper in the first quarter. The 64-yard run from Forsett was the longest for the Broncos this season. Forsett (22 carries, 90 yards) should give Kubiak a big hug and thank him for all the millions of dollars the coach helped him earn over his career.
  1. Kubiak said he planned to play both Siemian and Paxton Lynch, but stuck with Siemian for the entire game. The Raiders didn't batter Siemian until the second half when Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack each had several pressures but couldn't record a sack on the Broncos quarterback. With Kubiak planning to retire, a new coach will have to pick between Siemian, Lynch and whatever other QB John Elway brings in (cue the Tony Romo rumors). The Broncos' offensive troubles shouldn't be blamed on Siemian, who should get a legit shot to battle for the starting gig next season.
  1. With backup quarterbacks playing in the playoffs, the Oakland Raiders should expect more stacked boxes. A previously porous Broncos run defense stymied the Raiders' three-headed rushing monster of Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington and Jalen Richard. Outside of one 20-yard dash by Washington, Oakland couldn't pop anything. Murray finished with 11 yards on five carries, Richard earned just three yards on three totes and Washington finished with 43 yards on seven carries. Things will only get more difficult for the Carr-less offense.
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