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Case Keenum leads Broncos’ game-winning drive to spoil Derek Carr’s near-perfect outing

September 17, 2018

Miracles apparently can happen in Denver, too.

Case Keenum led a game-winning drive in only his second start with the Denver Broncos, who rallied from a 19-7 third-quarter deficit to beat the Oakland Raiders, 20-19, on Brandon McManus’ 36-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining.

Denver trailed 12-0 at halftime, when maligned Raiders QB Derek Carr was 18-of-19, compared to just 5-of-11 for Keenum, including his fourth interception of the season.

Keenum really wasn’t special Sunday — not nearly as much as Carr, who completed 90.6 percent of his passes (29-of-32, 288 yards and one TD, 114.6 rating), one week after tossing three picks in the home-opening loss to the Rams. Carr, whose completion percentage Sunday was the highest in NFL history by a quarterback attempting at least 30 passes, was a lot more comfortable in his second start in Jon Gruden’s offense, after appearing skittish and erratic Monday night vs. the Rams.

Keenum also had three interceptions in the opener, when Von Miller and the ‘D’ bailed out the Broncos with a stifling performance vs. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. The Broncos weren’t as stout Sunday, but they stiffened late, forcing a Raiders punt on their lone fourth-quarter possession, which gave Denver a shot at its 20-yard line with just under two minutes remaining, trailing 19-17.

Keenum found Emmanuel Sanders for a gain of 21 yards on 2nd-and-20 and connected with TE Jeff Heuerman for four yards on 3rd-and-3. With 18 seconds left, Keenum hit reserve WR Tim Patrick, who slipped past Gareon Conley’s tackle attempt and turned a short throw a 26-yard gain to position McManus for the win.

Keenum didn’t manage the two-minute drill all that well, wasting a bunch of time on an ill-advised scramble on second down. But he got the desired finish — a victory — which propels the Broncos to 2-0 and into an early tie in the West with Patrick Mahomes’ high-octane Chiefs.

Denver received another big performance from hometown RB Phillip Lindsay (14-107 rushing), who became the first-ever undrafted rookie to tally 100 yards from scrimmage in his first two NFL games, and another delivery in crunch time from Keenum, the Minnesota miracle worker who also overcame a fourth-quarter deficit a week ago.

The Raiders fell to 0-2 but at least received the necessary response from Carr and Amari Cooper, who went from the back of a milk carton in Week 1 to a game-high 10 catches and 116 receiving yards vs. a Broncos secondary that generally gives him fits.

But the Raiders couldn’t get Keenum on the ground, managing only one sack — none in the final 30 minutes — and badly missing one of the game’s best closers, Khalil Mack, who was traded to Chicago two weeks ago.

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