DENVER — The Oakland Raiders had a lot to lose Sunday — and they did.
A week off.
In a game that couldn’t have gone much worse, Oakland lost starting quarterback Matt McGloin to a shoulder injury in the first half and then fell 24-6 to a Denver Broncos team with nothing to play for and now in need of a new coach.
Gary Kubiak informed his players in an emotional postgame locker room that he’s stepping away for health reasons.
Combined with Kansas City’s win over San Diego, the Raiders (12-4) squandered the AFC West title and the first-round bye that went with it — and instead fell to the No. 5 seed, where they travel to Houston.
“I tell guys all the time: You get what you earn in this league,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “And we didn’t do enough to earn a win tonight.”
Leading Oakland into next week’s game could be rookie Connor Cook if the injury to McGloin proves serious.
McGloin, who got the start when Derek Carr broke his leg last week, left late in the second quarter. He completed six passes for 21 yards, missing virtually every throw downfield.
A fourth-year player out of Penn State, McGloin was making his first start since 2013. He was hurt when Jared Crick slammed him to the turf, drawing a roughing-the-passer penalty. Moments before that play, McGloin overthrew a wide-open Amari Cooper.
“I wanted to play out there tonight,” McGloin said. “If I’m not 100 percent healthy, that’s not what this team needs. I plan on being 100 percent healthy (for Houston).”
Cook was 14 of 21 with a touchdown to Cooper , an interception and a lost fumble against the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos (9-7), who ended a three-game slide.
“It was fast,” Cook said of his first NFL action. “Felt pretty good to get out there and get some reps, trying to get the timing down with the receivers, but obviously not the way we wanted it to go.”
Should Cook start at Houston, he would become the first QB in the Super Bowl era whose first career start came in a playoff game, according to NFL Research.
Ready for that sort of challenge?
“For sure,” Cook said.
Devontae Booker became the first Broncos rookie with a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game since Clinton Portis in 2002.
The speculation that Kubiak was stepping away from the game was circulating all day. He’s 11 months removed from leading Denver to a Super Bowl win over Carolina. The 55-year-old Kubiak suffered a complex migraine on Oct. 9 following Denver’s loss to Atlanta.
Kubiak didn’t want to overshadow the win, so he didn’t address his situation: “Today is about the team and the players.”
His players spoke up for him.
“It was emotional,” said quarterback Trevor Siemian, who threw two TDs passes and an interception. “Glad we sent him off with a win.”