NFL notebook: Broncos power to eighth win in row
Raiders running back Darren McFadden returned last night against Denver for the first time since being injured on Nov. 4 against Tampa Bay. McFadden was limited to 52 yards on 11 carries in Oakland’s 26-13 loss.
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, defeating the host Oakland Raiders 26-13 last 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. The Raiders played the game with heavy hearts as coach Dennis Allen’s father, Grady, died earlier in the week from cardiac arrest. Allen was away from the team for two days but returned Wednesday and coached the game. The Raiders players talked during the week about rallying around their first-year coach but came out flat against a fierce division rival and were swept in the season-series by the Broncos for the first time since 2006.
Roethlisberger to return Sunday vs. Chargers
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will start on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
Roethlisberger missed the last three weeks because of a sprained right shoulder and dislocated rib but practiced for the second straight day yesterday without incident. Roethlisberger said he felt good but didn’t go into details. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said he believes Roethlisberger can make the necessary throws.
The Steelers (7-5) went 1-2 in Roethlisberger’s absence, including a 23-20 victory over Baltimore last week behind backup Charlie Batch. Tight end Heath Miller said he hasn’t noticed any dropoff in velocity from Roethlisberger, who took 90 percent of the snaps with the first team yesterday.
Pittsburgh is tied with Cincinnati for the AFC’s final wild-card spot.
Bengals add kicker
The Bengals signed kicker Josh Brown to fill in for injured Mike Nugent, a former Buckeye who injured his right calf and didn’t practice Wednesday. Brown played five seasons with Seattle and four with St. Louis. He kicked for the Jets in the preseason and was released on Aug. 27.
The Bengals (7-5) also waived center Jeff Faine, opening the way for Kyle Cook to return from an ankle injury that he suffered in the final exhibition game. Faine played in the first eight games, starting seven, while Cook recovered from surgery on his right ankle.
Cook fully practiced for the first time Wednesday and could be activated off the injured reserve list for a game against Dallas (6-6) on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Bills lose right tackle Hairston to ankle injury
Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Chris Hairston has been placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season because of a bone injury in his right ankle.