Broncos lead Raiders 30-14 after 3 quarters

Associated Press
Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) is congratulated by teammates after catching a pass for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
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DENVER (AP) — Peyton Manning threw three short touchdown passes to three different targets and bounced back up after a big hit, helping the Denver Broncos to a 30-14 lead over the Oakland Raiders through three quarters on Monday night.

Marcel Reece caught a 16-yard TD pass from running back Darren McFadden just before the end of the third quarter as Oakland took advantage of a Manning fumble when he was sacked by defensive end Lamarr Houston.

Manning's 12 TD passes this season is an NFL record for the opening three games, breaking Tom Brady's mark of 11 in 2011. Manning has yet to throw an interception this year.

With plenty of time to throw, Manning threw TD strikes to Eric Decker, Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas, an emerging new target for Manning.

Manning was brought down hard when Houston beat new left tackle Chris Clark around the corner in the third. Manning fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Raiders, but quickly popped up, drawing a cheer from the crowd.

Clark has drawn the assignment of protecting Manning's blindside with Ryan Clady sidelined for the season with a left foot injury. He also had a holding call earlier in the game, saving a potential sack of Manning.

Welker nearly had a second score in the third quarter, but couldn't corral a pass in the end zone with Tracy Porter covering him. On the next play, Manning found Demaryius Thomas down the sideline, only Thomas couldn't hold onto the ball following a crunching hit from Brandian Ross.

The Broncos had to settle for Prater's 40-yard field goal on a time-consuming 13-play drive to open the second half. It was Prater's third field goal of the game.

Denver's defense kept the Raiders in check except for one play in which a breakdown in the secondary led to a long score by Denarius Moore. The third-year wideout caught a pass over the middle from Terrelle Pryor and then stepped up, causing cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and safety Duke Ihenacho to collide. After that, Moore was gone, racing 73 yards for the TD.

Through three quarters, it was all Manning; he was 30 of 35 for 333 yards. Manning spread the ball around, too, with eight different players catching a pass.

Thomas hauled in nine catches while Decker had eight receptions for 133 yards receiving, including a short TD score in the first quarter.

The Broncos offense was so efficient, they outgained the Raiders 428-244 and ran 23 more plays.

Pryor was 12 of 18 for 195 yards and one score through three quarters. He also had 38 yards rushing.

McFadden couldn't find any running room, carrying the ball 10 times for 8 yards. But he did have that TD pass to Reece on a halfback pass.

The Raiders struggled from the start with three straight three-and-out possessions.

With Manning's three TD passes along with Prater's three field goals, the Broncos now have 120 points through 11 quarters, which is more than any other team in the league.

Oakland's defense was missing linebacker Sio Moore, who sustained a concussion in an auto accident over the weekend.

The Broncos also were without linebacker Von Miller (suspension) and cornerback Champ Bailey, who returned to practice last week and warmed up before the game on his balky left foot, but was still ruled out.

The Raiders-Broncos game marks a record 17th Monday night meeting between the longtime rivals. It also extends the Broncos' run to 22 consecutive seasons playing on MNF (1992-2013), the longest current streak of any NFL team.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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