DENVER -- Through three weeks of the season, the fourth quarter had been the Broncos' sweet spot, outscoring opponents 45-6 in the frame.
On Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, the Broncos didn't need those late-game heroics, doing their damage in the third quarter en route to a 37-6 victory, snapping Oakland's four-game winning streak at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“I know one thing -- our fans love this type of win," cornerback
After falling behind early in both of the team's losses, the Broncos talked all week about getting off to a fast start.
"That was something we really emphasized all week in practice, coming out of the blocks early and having good execution," said Manning, who finished the game 30-of-38 for 338 yards, three touchdowns and a 130.0 passer rating. "So that was encouraging."
But Denver came out of the locker room with a vengeance.
"We came in to change some things at halftime and we just lit it up," said Thomas, who led the game with 103 receiving yards.
The defense forced four Oakland three-and-outs in the third quarter, while the offense racked up 21 points and began a fourth drive that rolled into the fourth quarter and ended with a
With Oakland facing a fourth down on its next possession, safety
The ensuing Broncos drive belonged to running back
"I know (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (McCoy) said, 'Next time we get a shot to get down there, let's give (McGahee and) the line a chance to pound it in,'" Manning recalled. "I thought that was a good plan by Mike kind of leaning on Willis and the O-line, and it was a good job punching it in there."
After the defense forced another three-and-out, it was
Oakland didn't pick up a first down in the second half until two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Denver defense halted that drive as well, and the Broncos offense marched down the field for a 53-yard Prater field goal -- the last points of the game.
"It was nothing but a good, old-fashioned butt-whooping," Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said.
By the end of the afternoon, the Broncos had scored 27 unanswered points and kept the Raiders out of the end zone.
"That's one thing you pride yourself on, not giving up offensive touchdowns," Bailey said. "When you can go into an NFL game and come out like that, that says a lot about what we did out there."
Denver had a 300-yard game from a passer -- the NFL-record 65th time Manning accomplished the feat -- a 100-yard game from a rusher -- the 32nd of McGahee's career, which leads all active running backs -- and a 100-yard game from a receiver -- Thomas' second of the season -- for the first time since 2007.
Meanwhile, the defense limited Oakland running back Darren McFadden to just 38 yards from scrimmage, held the Raiders to 237 total yards and allowed just one third-down conversion in the game.
"It just feels good right now," Dreessen said. "Total team effort. Anytime you can win by more than four touchdowns in the NFL, it's a good day."
Even after a satisfying victory, the Broncos know -- as Head Coach John Fox said in the locker room after the game -- that it's just one win.
Four of the team's next five games are on the road, including next week against the 2-2 New England Patriots, fresh off a 52-28 win against the Buffalo Bills.
"When you lose two in a row, everybody talks about how bad we are and you can’t believe that," linebacker