OAKLAND, Calif. –Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was just getting started with a pair of catches for 31 yards in a three-play stretch at the end of the first quarter.
But then a shoulder injury sent the third-year receiver to the locker room for the rest of the half. The offense stalled in Thomas' absence, scoring zero points on the drives after he left the game.
After receiving treatment throughout the second quarter and halftime break, Thomas reentered the game on the Broncos first drive of the second half and immediately made his presence felt.
On the Broncos' second play from scrimmage, quarterback Peyton Manning looked Thomas' way, and though the pass went incomplete, it drew a pass interference penalty against the Raiders, giving Denver 11 yards and a first down.
After a Knowshon Moreno run and reception, Manning went back to Thomas for a 22-yard completion. Later in the drive, Manning threw for Thomas in the end zone, again drawing a pass interference penalty to give the Broncos a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
Though the stats show he only caught one pass for 22 yards, he really accounted for 56 yards on the drive.
Though the team didn't punch it in the end zone as it would have liked, instead settling for a Matt Prater field goal, Thomas showed no ill effects of the injury.
"It's frustrating a lot because you know you want touchdowns," Thomas said. "That's our goal – to score touchdowns. Moving the ball like that, you get frustrated because you're just getting three points. We've got some things to work on. We've got a great team coming up, so we're going to have to work on them a lot because we're going to need touchdowns instead of three points to beat them."
While Thomas said his shoulder was "sore" after the game, he said he doesn't expect the injury to be a setback.
"Oh, I'll be fine," Thomas said. "As long as I can play, I'm good."