DENVER – Tim Patrick didn’t need to look at the clock. He knew he had time, and he used it to put the Denver Broncos in position to steak a win from Oakland on Sunday.
Patrick’s catch-and-run heroics in the final seconds of the game set up Brandon McManus’ 36-yard field goal with six seconds left that gave Denver a 20-19 win and a 2-0 record.
It was his only reception of the game – and of his career – and he made it count. It also made up for having a touchdown denied in the third quarter.
“I still want to score a touchdown, but that's much better, getting my team a win,” Patrick said.
The play capped a 52-yard drive in the final 1:58 to help the Broncos rally from 12 down. On 2nd-and-10 from the Oakland 44 with 18 seconds left, quarterback Case Keenum threw a short pass to Patrick at the 40. He fooled Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley by turning inside, and then went up the field for 10 more before cutting to the outside and avoiding a tackle by Leon Hall.
He gained 12 more yards before stepping out of bounds with eight seconds left.
“I knew I had plenty of time to go up the field,” Patrick said. “The whole purpose was once I went up the field I was getting as much yardage as I can while getting of bounds at the same time.”
Keenum said he and Patrick developed chemistry in the preseason, and it paid off Sunday.
“I was really glad he got that catch because we had the one called back earlier in the game,” Keenum said. “It is trust. He has made plays like that all preseason, made plays in practice and in camp.”
Patrick’s catch is more enjoyable considering what he has gone through to get to the NFL. He suffered a compound fracture of his left leg during his junior year at Utah and he didn’t play again until 2016. He was still an impressive enough talent to be drafted by Baltimore in 2017.
The Ravens cut him in the summer, San Francisco signed and cut him during training camp and Denver signed him to its practice squad last fall.
He has always known if he was given a chance he would show he belonged in the NFL.
“You always have to have that confidence,” he said. “I feel like I can make any play on the field and I got a chance to make one today.”
ROUGH OUTING AGAIN: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas led Denver with five receptions but it was a couple of dropped passes that stood out more than his catches.
Thomas struggled with drops in the opener against Seattle and it was an issue again Sunday. He had let and easy one go late in the first quarter and in the third quarter he had one go right through his hands that would have been a first down.
In the two games he has been targeted 21 times and only has 11 catches while teammate Emmanuel Sanders has 14 receptions on 15 targets.
ROOKIE IMPACT: A week after tying teammate Royce Freeman for the lead with 71 rushing yards, Phillip Lindsay led the Broncos with 107 yards on 14 carries on Sunday. He also took a couple of direct snaps and broke off a 53-yard run in the second quarter.
“I’m here to be a spark player. I’m here to get my teammates going,” said Lindsay, who grew up in the Denver area and played college football at Colorado. “If I can do anything I can with a kickoff return, anything, I’m going to do it.”
IMPORTANT POINT: Linebacker Shaquille Barrett blocked Oakland’s extra point attempt on the first touchdown of the game. It was 12-0 at the time and seemed like a minor play, but it turned out to be big in a one-point win.
“Coaches always say you never know what play can end up being the game-winning play, that's why you play every play like that,” Barrett said.
WARM GREETINGS: It was 92 degrees at kickoff, making it the warmest regular season home game in franchise history. The previous high was 91, which happened three times, the last being Sept. 19, 2010, vs. Seattle.