OAKLAND, Calif — Peyton Manning threw his 30th touchdown pass of the season on the game's opening drive and the Denver Broncos rolled to their eighth straight victory, beating the Oakland Raiders 26-13 on Thursday night.
Knowshon Moreno ran for 119 yards and a score on a career-high 32 carries and Matt Prater kicked four field goals for the Broncos (10-3), who moved a half-game ahead of New England and Baltimore for the second-best record in the AFC. Denver visits Baltimore next week in a game that will help decide who gets a first-round playoff bye.
Carson Palmer threw one interception that thwarted a possible scoring chance for the Raiders (3-10) and lost a fumble that set up a touchdown for the Broncos as Oakland lost its sixth straight game.
Denver converted three straight third downs on its opening drive and took command from the start.
The first came when officials whistled Philip Wheeler for defensive holding after an incomplete pass. Manning hit Eric Decker for 16-yard completion on the next, and Moreno took a short pass on a blitz for a 26-yard gain on another.
That set up a seamless 6-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Dreessen that put the Broncos ahead 7-0 only 4:30 into the game.
The Raiders were playing the game with heavy hearts. Head coach Dennis Allen, the defensive coordinator in Denver last season, had been in the Dallas area all week because the death of his father, Grady.
McFadden and Mike Goodson also returned for the Raiders after missing the previous four games with sprained right ankles. McFadden, who had nine carries for 49 yards, made the kind of impact the Raiders were hoping for in the second quarter.