OAKLAND -- In the movies, the Raiders would have beaten the Denver Broncos on Thursday night and handed the game ball to their coach, Dennis Allen.
In the real world of the NFL, the Broncos seized control of the game in the third quarter and cruised to a 26-13 victory over the Raiders at O.co Coliseum before 53,507 fans and a national television audience.
With Peyton Manning carving up the Raiders on third down, the Broncos improved to 10-3 with their eighth straight win with an AFC West title already in tow as they position themselves for the playoffs.
The Raiders, 3-10 and losers of six in a row, continued a downward spiral that shows no signs of abating.
Allen faced many of the same questions he has dealt with all season, with the tragic exception of being asked about doing his job two days after the death of his father.
Grady Allen, 66, died of cardiac arrest Tuesday in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"I went home on Sunday and took my father off life support, and that's not easy to do," Allen said. "Was it hard? Yes, it was hard. But I know my father would want me to be here, with this team, and I wanted to be here for this team. I'm sure you can imagine it wasn't an easy situation."
Linebacker Philip Wheeler said Allen handled the situation as he handles most everything else -- with a minimum of drama.
"Coach Allen is the type of coach who doesn't want attention on him like that," Wheeler said. "He wants to stay focused. He's where he wanted to be, with us. He wouldn't want to be anywhere but with us for this game. He did what he had to do."
The hard reality is that the Raiders aren't good enough in any area to come through with a feel-good story with so many self-inflicted wounds, particularly against a superior opponent such as Denver.
The Broncos racked up 30 first downs and Manning completed 26 of 36 passes for 310 yards, a 6-yard touchdown pass to Joel Dreessen on the opening drive and one interception. Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 119 yards on 32 carries, scored the Broncos' other touchdown on a 1-yard run.
The Raiders stiffened often enough on defense to force Matt Prater to kick field goals of 43, 34, 20 and 33 yards or the score would have been more along the lines of the 37-6 rout when the two teams played on Sept. 30.
"Obviously in the red zone we'd like to score more touchdowns," Manning said. "That's something we have to continue to work on, and we will work and we will get it fixed. We did a good job of moving the ball all night for the most part."
The Raiders scored on a 6-yard screen pass from Carson Palmer to Darren McFadden with 1:59 left in the first half, which closed Denver's lead to 13-7 and gave the home crowd some hope.
As it usually does for Oakland, it all came apart in the third quarter.
After the Raiders held the Broncos out of the end zone despite being first-and-goal from the 1, with Prater kicking his 20-yard field goal, Mike Goodson elected to field the ensuing kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone.
Goodson was tackled at the 8-yard line. A short time later, the Broncos' Von Miller got past tackle Khalif Barnes and sacked Palmer, who lost a fumble at the 2-yard line. Moreno scored from the 1 two plays later and the score was 23-7.
"Obviously, looking back on it now, I wish I would have chucked it out of bounds," Palmer said.
"It was a competitive game and that was where the momentum kind of turned around," Allen said.
Palmer finished 19 of 30 for 273 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 56-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Palmer's pass was intercepted by Champ Bailey on a pass into the red zone intended for Brandon Myers in the first quarter.
The Raiders had the ball for only 22:41 to 37:19 for Denver and had just 47 plays -- 14 of which came in the second-quarter drive that resulted in the touchdown pass from Palmer to McFadden.
Palmer completed 9 of 11 passes for 73 yards on the drive, which consumed 6:36 -- the longest Raiders drive of the season in terms of clock time.
The Raiders quarterback was hard-pressed to answer the question of what it will take to get a win.
"I wouldn't say that we're on the cusp of it," Palmer said. "I wouldn't say it's really close. Obviously with some of the scores of these games, and each week it's something different. It's been a handful of things that have stopped us. I just know we've got to keep grinding.
"We've got less than a month left in the season