OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Al Davis is probably delighted that the
clinched their third straight AFC West title at the expense of Mike Shanahan.
After losing 12 of 14 games against their former coach over the previous seven years, the Raiders completed a sweep of the
with a 28-16 victory.
The last time the Raiders (10-5) won three consecutive division titles was from 1972-76 when they captured five in a row under John Madden. Oakland won the AFC West in 2000 and 2001 under Jon Gruden and did not skip a beat under rookie coach Bill Callahan.
"My hat goes off to the coaching staff," Callahan said. "(Coordinator) Chuck Bresnahan did a great job with the defense and (coordinator) Marc Trestman had great gameplans for the offense. Today, Chuck attacked them and we were all over the quarterback and Marc called an excellent game."
The Raiders can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over Kansas City on Saturday.
"It's really not that sweet," Raiders Pro Bowl tackle
said of the latest division title. "We expected to be in the playoffs."
broke Warren Moon's NFL record for completions in a season and passed for 201 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score.
Needing 12 completions to eclipse Moon's mark of 404 in 1991 for the Houston Oilers, Gannon completed 18-of-27. He set an NFL record with 10 300-yard games this season and has passed for a league-high 4,610 yards.
"I played with some of the best quarterbacks to play the game and Rich is right up there with him," Raiders receiver
said of Gannon.
Denver (8-7), which won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 under Shanahan, is still alive in the wild card race and hosts Arizona next week.
"We're down right now," said Broncos star tight end
. "We'll see what we're made of next week, whether we have something to play for or not. We'll see if we've got some guys who want to jump on the bus."
Fired as Raiders coach by Davis 13 years ago, Shanahan had been a thorn in Oakland's side until this year.
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," Shanahan said. "Our playoff destiny doesn't look good right now. But we got in a hole early and they made the plays, we didn't."
The Raiders rolled to a 34-10 rout at Denver on November 11 and picked up where they left off on Sunday, storming to a 21-0 lead on their first four possessions with the help of interceptions by defensive end
in Denver territory.
Armstrong had three of Oakland's six sacks along with his first career interception which came off a deflection by safety
again made a major impact against his former team. Last month, he made the tackle that caused Broncos star tight end
to dislocate his left elbow. This time, he knocked
out of the game with a sack in the second quarter. Griese went to the sidelines with a left knee injury and did not return.
"I didn't mean to hurt him, but I did want to put my hat (helmet) on him," said Romanowski, who played for six years with Shanahan in Denver before signing with the Raiders last March.
"I tell you what, I'm glad he's on our team now," Gannon said of Romanowski. "You talk about additions to your football team, that's one particularly that has really helped. He brings so much to the table. Not just his performance on the field but his presence in the locker room and the way he is with young players."
replaced Griese in the second quarter and engineered three scoring drives to pull the Broncos within 21-16.
But Oakland fullback
rushed for his second one-yard touchdown with 6:58 left to thwart the rally.
Armstrong sacked Griese for a six-yard loss on Denver's second play of scrimmage. When Oakland took over, Gannon hit
with a six-yard pass and connected with
on a 27-yard pass to the Denver 13. Rice caught a 10-yard pass before Crockett scored on a one-yard run 3:33 into the game.
On Denver's second series, Gibson deflected a pass by Griese into the hands of Armstrong at the Denver 38.
rushed twice for 21 yards and Gannon completed two passes for 16 yards to running back
. On a 3rd-and-goal at the Denver 3, Gannon faded back to the 10, looked for an open receiver and zig-zagged into the end zone to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead with 4:14 left in the quarter.
"That's why Rich is so good. He can create and keep plays alive with his running ability," Callahan said of the quarterback who turned 37 on December 20.
Oakland's defense set up the third touchdown when Woodson, who was named to his 11th Pro Bowl earlier in the week, returned an interception 16 yards to the Denver 25. It was the 68th career interception for Woodson, tying him for third all time.
"That was a miscommunication between me and
and Woodson made the play," Griese said.
Five plays later, Gannon hit Garner with an eight-yard touchdown 2:11 into the second quarter, increasing the lead to 21-0.
Beuerlein directed an eight-play, 91-yard drive from Denver's own 2, resulting in a 25-yard field goal by
with two seconds left in the half.
Beuerlein scored on a one-yard run with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter to cap an 11-play, 80-yard drive.
The Broncos then took advantage of a 44-yard punt return by Deltha O'Neal to the Oakland 32. Two plays later, Beuerlein hit Sharpe with a 30-yard pass and then
scored on a two-yard run three seconds into the fourth quarter. But the two-point conversion pass by Beuerlein failed, leaving the Broncos behind, 21-16.
"It was a big hole to climb out of but we put ourselves in a position to do it," said Beuerlein, who was 13-of-28 for 234 yards. "We believed in our hearts we could do it, but it's asking a lot against a team like the Raiders in a place like this."
But Oakland didn't need Gannon on its game-clinching drive. Instead, Garner broke off two 19-yard runs and Wheatley had a 17-yard run before Crockett's second touchdown.
intercepted a pass by Beuerlein at midfield with 5:39 left to virtually secure the win.