Watch: Raiders and Broncos Are Better at Fighting Than Football in 2017

The Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos found a way to breathe vitality into two listing seasons on Sunday evening: by having a wild brawl.

It didn’t take long to get going. On the second play of the Raiders’ second drive, wide receiver Michael Crabtree tangled with the Broncos’ star cornerback Aqib Talib. The two have history, as the Associated Press pointed out on Sunday evening. “Crabtree has been upset ever since Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain off his neck during the regular-season finale last season,” the AP wrote. On this occasion, Crabtree blocked Talib and the two ended up in a bundle on the sideline. Again, Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain off his neck.

The AP pointed out another possible reason for Talib’s anger. On a play moments before, another Crabtree block had injured Chris Harris, the Broncos cornerback. “I’ve never seen that in the NFL," Harris said in quotes reported by 247Sports.com, claiming that Crabtree had sucker-punched him.

 

 

Vance Joseph, the Broncos head coach, hit out at his own team in the postgame press conference. “I don’t like it [fighting]. It’s unacceptable,” Joseph told Broncos beat reporter Zack Stevens. “We can’t lose our best players because of a personal battle. That’s a personal battle. This is about the Broncos. It’s unacceptable, we can’t have it. It’s nonnegotiable… We can’t have it." Talib and Crabtree were both ejected from the game for throwing punches at each other. (Talib’s helmet was still on; he'd ripped off Crabtree’s.) Gabe Jackson, the Raiders guard, also was ejected for pushing an official in the melee.

After the fighting, a game of football broke out. The Raiders took care of the Broncos’ anemic offense, winning 21-14 to move level with the Chargers and one game behind the slumping Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC West no one seems to want to win right now.