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Broncos Texans final score: Peyton Manning looks rusty in 14-10 win

Peyton Manning had four drives that ended in four punts. Meanwhile, backup QBs Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian each led touchdown drives to give the Broncos a preseason victory against the Texans.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning hasn't played a (half-)competitive football game in over seven months. It showed a little bit in Denver's Week 2 preseason outing against the Houston Texans.

The Denver Broncos' new first-team offense - with Gary Kubiak's schemes and playcalling replacing Adam Gase, rookies replacing veteran o-linemen, Owen Daniels replacing Julius Thomas, and 39-year-old Manning stepping in for 38-year-old Manning - looked like it needed some work in Manning's 2015 debut. Manning played the entire first quarter and one series in the second quarter, four possessions that all ended in punts.

Manning had four possessions that all ended in punts.

Manning finished 8 of 14 for 52 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions (a lowly 65.2 passer rating). Some of those struggles were drops - Demaryius Thomas and James Casey each had drops on third downs that may have spoiled Manning's night.

"I thought he was fine," Kubiak said of Manning. "We hurt him; we dropped two big third downs, and had a couple of penalties that stalled drives."

Some of those struggles were also a result of questionable, if not intentionally conservative playcalling. Gary Kubiak may not be in any hurry to show opposing defenses what he and Manning will do, so Manning ran a conservative offense that didn't look unfamiliar, aside from the apparent rust.

Peyton's struggles were all the more interesting given the juxtaposition of backup QB Brock Osweiler's first series. Osweiler completed 3 of 5 passes that included a 57-yard touchdown to Bubba Caldwell immediately following Manning's move to the bench, boasting a 143.8 passer rating in his first series that emphasized what Kubiak's offense can do.

Of course, Osweiler's big mistake in the 3rd quarter will quiet any possible (premature) (preseason) quarterback controversy. The Texans' Kourtnei Brown snagged a Brock interception and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown, giving Houston a 10-7 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Trevor Siemian came in as the third quarterback (ahead of Zac Dysert) and led the Broncos to a comeback. Completing 70% of his passes, Siemian found Corbin Louks for a 26-yard touchdown with under two minutes to play, and the Broncos went on to win 14-10.


Denver's defense did a hell of a job in the first half making Texans quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer uncomfortable. The two QBs were limited to a total net gain of 62 passing yards and boasted 75.3 and 74.8 passer ratings respectively.

The Broncos' two sacks of Hoyer played a big part of it, including this juicy spin-move sack from big Sylvester Williams.

Sly's sack moved the Broncos into some rare territory - 12 sacks by 11 different players through two games of preseason football as all three teams of the defense nearly shut out the Texans.

Brandon Marshall started at linebacker for the Broncos and made his presence felt, tallying three tackles and two passes defensed in limited work. Darius Kilgo netted his second sack of the preseason.


Broncos first round draft pick Shane Ray averted disaster in the third quarter- an apparent leg injury that looked bad then didn't look bad then looked bad again but ultimately wasn't bad. He enjoyed a half-sack on the play that knocked him out of the game.

Ronnie Hillman continued to solidify himself as Denver's #2 running back, leaping ahead of Montee Ball with a 6.8-yard average (Ball had 1.0 yards per carry).