For 60 minutes, Denver defensive tackle Trevor Pryce kept reaching for Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon and coming up empty. Finally, in overtime, he came up with the biggest hit of the game.
Pryce sacked Gannon, forcing a fumble and recovering it at the Oakland 24. On the next play, Olandis Gary bolted off the left side for a touchdown 2:40 into overtime to give the Broncos a 27-21 victory Monday night.
Gary said the huge hole off the left side on his winning TD was "unbelievable because it was hard getting yards all day."
Jason Elam kicked two fourth-quarter field goals, including a 53-yarder with seven seconds left in regulation, to produce a 21-21 tie.
Broncos take advantage of the Raiders in OT 27-21.(AP)
A questionable pass-interference penalty against Oakland's Charles Woodson covering 31 yards was the key play on the drive.
Gordon's return appeared to clinch it for the Raiders (5-5), but the Broncos answered.
Denver won the coin toss in overtime and elected to receive, but went three-and-out. Tom Rouen's 46-yard punt was downed at the Raiders 19, and three plays later Pryce forced the critical turnover, damaging Oakland's playoff hopes.
"Rich was looking for an alternate receiver and they made a heck of a play," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "They got around the horn and knocked the ball out of his arm. That was the devastating play in the ball game."
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Miller appeared to have a mild concussion, the same injury that caused him to retire after the 1995 season before getting medical clearance to play again this year.
Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak "was talking to Chris on the headset and felt something was wrong with him," Shanahan said. "He got hit in the head earlier. We felt something wasn't right, so we made the change."
The Raiders overcame a 15-0 second-quarter deficit to take an 18-15 lead, thanks to two touchdown passes from Gannon.
The game was played in 26-degree weather on a field dusted by light snow before the game, the remnants of a storm that dumped nine inches of snow on the Denver area since Sunday night.
"The elements weren't very conducive to the kicking game at all," Elam said. "It was cold, the ball wasn't traveling very well. The field was kind of a mess. All you can do is just whale away."
The Broncos led 15-7 at halftime but squandered several scoring chances, failing to capitalize after taking possession on three straight series at the Oakland 40, Denver 48 and Denver 40.
They also managed only a field goal after Dale Carter returned an interception to the 9, and they wasted another opportunity when Gary broke several tackles on a short run but fumbled the ball away at the Raiders 5.
|Broncos' running back Olandis Gary (22) fights for extra yardage.|
Barely four minutes into the game, Denver cornerback Ray Crockett popped the ball loose from wide receiver Terry Mickens on a 9-yard pass play, and linebacker Glenn Cadrez picked the ball out of the air and returned it 37 yards to the Oakland 21.
Miller scrambled 10 yards to the 1, and fullback Howard Griffith plunged the final yard with 8 minutes left in the opening period.
Denver scored again on its second possession when Elam kicked a 30-yard field goal.
Midway through the second quarter, the Raiders were backed up to their 1-yard line after Gannon was sacked on third down. Detron Smith then bulled his way up the middle to block Leo Araguz's punt, and the ball squirted through the end zone for a safety and a 12-0 lead.
Moments later, Carter's 34-yard interception return put the Broncos at the Oakland 9, but they had to settle for Elam's 24-yard field goal.
Napoleon Kaufman's 47-yard return of the ensuing kickoff ignited a sluggish Oakland offense. Gannon passed 22 yards to tight end Rickey Dudley on third-and-13, and fullback Jon Ritchie turned a short pass in the left flat into a 20-yard TD.
Less than a minute into the second half, the Raiders tied it. Denver's Chris Watson fumbled the kickoff, and Travian Smith recovered at the 14. Gannon passed 12 yards to Dudley for the touchdown, then hit James Jett for the 2-point conversion with 14:04 left in the third period.
Gannon guided the Raiders 65 yards late in the quarter, including a 22-yard pass to Dudley and 29-yarder to Jeremy Brigham, and Husted kicked a go-ahead 33-yard field goal with 1:26 left in the period.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed