The Broncos once again got completely outclassed by one of the elite teams in the NFL through three quarters, only to see their furious late charge come up short, this time a 31-25 defeat at home to the Texans.
Yesterdays game, like last week against the Falcons, was not nearly as close as the score indicated. After a safety and a field goal staked Denver to an early 5-0 lead, the Texans went on a 31-6 tear, highlighted by Matt Schaub’s four touchdown strikes. The Bronco’s simply had no answer for the Texans explosive passing game, and Manning and the offense didn’t do nearly enough to soften the blow. “We have to learn from this game, address it, be honest, everybody needs to be accountable and try to improve forward,” said Manning. “It’s not the ideal situation. Everyone would love to be 3-0. That’s not the way it is right now.”
After that early 5-0 lead, the Bronco defense was helpless in stopping the Texans. Three plays into their second drive, the secondary was burnt by Andre Johnson for a 60 yard bomb to give Houston a lead they would never relinquish. After a sack on Manning ended Denver’s next possession, the Texans offense went back to work, finishing off a workman like 14 play, 98 yard, 7 minute drive that included four third down conversion with Schaub’s second score of the day, a 3 yard TD pass to Arian Foster. Things didn’t go any better for the Broncos; following a three and out, Schaub once again shredded Denver’s secondary, this time hooking up with Kevin Walter for a 52 yard score, and just like that, the lead ballooned to 21-5.
Denver had a great chance to answer that TD score with one of their own, but inside the ten the offense couldn’t find paydirt, and they were forced to settle for a short Matt Prater field goal. Towards the end of the half, Schaub made his only mistake of the game, throwing a pick to Wesley Woodyard, which Manning and co. converted into another Prater field goal to cut the lead to 21-11 heading into the second half.
The Texans defense put the clamps on Manning and the offense in the third, forcing Denver to punt on every 3rd quarter possession. After a Shayne Graham field goal on their second drive, the Texans all but put the game away on Schaub’s fourth touchdown of the game, with his 14 yard score to Owen Daniels giving the Texans a commanding 31-11 lead.
To their credit, the Broncos once again went down swinging. After Robert Ayers forced a Brandon Tate fumble, Manning hit former Colts teammate Brandon Stokley for a 38 yard score, cutting the deficit to 31-18. After forcing a punt, the offense went back to work, finishing the drive with Manning’s second touchdown of the quarter, as he hit Joel Dreeseen to cut Houston’s lead to just six. However, just like last week, the Bronco’s defense couldn’t make that one big stop to give Manning a reasonable shot to win the game. They gave up a big third down conversion to Andre Johnson, allowing the Texans to milk to clock all the way down to 20 seconds before stopping the Bronco’s last ditch effort.
While there isn’t much shame in losing back to back games to undefeated teams, the Broncos are now in early season desperation mode, and next weeks game against the Raiders has to be considered a must win
About the Author
Written by Alex Summers
Lifelong sports fan, love the NFL, and big fan of a basketball and baseball