Broncos beat Raiders 16-15 to keep rival from playoffs

Monday, December 30, 2019
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Denver Broncos nose tackle Mike Purcell reacts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, in Denver.

DENVER (AP) — Shelby Harris capped his breakout season with a knockdown that officially knocked out the Oakland Raiders.

The nose tackle who was cut three times by the Raiders before blossoming in Denver batted down Derek Carr's 2-point pass to Hunter Renfrow with 7 seconds left Sunday and the Broncos put at end to the Raiders' dim playoff hopes — and to Oakland's run as an NFL city with a 16-15 win.

"He's a knockdown artist," Chris Harris Jr. said. "He's clutch."

Shelby Harris said he knew all he had time to do was get his hands up high.

"You knew it was going to be a quick pass and it was going to be pretty tough to get a sack on that, so you have to do the next best thing and knock the ball down," he said.

The Raiders (7-9) nearly made the Broncos (7-9) pay dearly for Garett Bolles' 15th penalty of the season. His personal foul long after the whistle pushed Brandon McManus way back for a 57-yard field-goal attempt, which sailed wide, giving Oakland the ball at its 45-yard line with 1:41 remaining trailing by 7.

Carr hit Renfrow for the touchdown on second-andgoal from the 3 — the first time the Raiders reached the end zone in five red-zone trips — and coach Jon Gruden decided to go for the win instead of the tie.

"We lost our linebackers. We only had 1½ linebackers left," Gruden said. "We really didn't want to go to overtime. We were running out of men."

At the snap, he had an inkling it was the right call, too.

"We felt we're going to win that game right there with that route," Gruden said. "Doggone Shelby Harris batted it down."

Carr said had Harris not gotten his hand on the ball, Oakland wins.

“Oh, 100%,” Carr said. “Renfrow ran the perfect route and was wide open. I went to throw it and Harris moves and gets his hand on it.

“I'm sure someone will blame me for that one, but you've got to give Shelby credit for making that play,” Carr added. “It's just tough in that situation. Especially like you get this feeling inside when it opens up and you're like, ‘We have it. This is the win!' For the ball to get batted down, it hurts your heart.”