The Denver Broncos won the coin toss in what might be the first time in a great number of weeks and chose to keep their offense off the field until the second half. The New Orleans Saints and the high-powered Drew Brees led offense took the field first.
Brandon McManus kicked the ball short and Tim Hightower returned it all the way to the Saints 40-yard line. Immediately, the Saints establish the run game as Mark Ingram got some running room early. The Broncos stiffened at midfield to force a third and long that the defense was able to stop.
Devontae Booker got things rolling on first down with a six yard gain. Trevor Siemian on a rollout on second down made a poor throw to Demaryius Thomas, but Thomas was able to adjust to make the one-handed grab for a big gain down the field for a first down.
The Broncos first third down of the day resulted in a quick slant to A.J. Derby for a first down. That was Derby’s first catch in the NFL.
After a short gain from Kapri Bibbs, Siemian hit a wide open Jordan Taylor in the middle of the field for a nice solid gain to set the Broncos up in field goal range.
After a short two yard run on first down, Siemian took a bit too long under center and nearly had a delay of game called. He smartly called a timeout in that situation. Siemian made a nice throw to Thomas again who was stopped just short of the first down marker to setup a third and a foot.
Siemian took the ball on a quarterback sneak, which probably surprised everyone on the planet. So surprised, Siemian ran forward for three yards on a sneak.
All those good feelings evaporated on the next play as the Saints Nick Fairley gang busted the Broncos offensive line to sack Siemian hard for a five yard loss. A draw on the next play to Booker netted 10 yards to setup a manageable third and five. Siemian, from the shotgun, hesitated and then fired into the end zone to Taylor who caught the ball just as he was lit up by the defender for the touchdown.
Broncos 7, Saints 0.
Brees and the Saints went right back to the running game, but the Broncos defense was up to task to force a third and five. Brees hit on a deep pass down the sideline for a nice 19 yard gain.
Von Miller was lined up outside on Cody Fleener on the next play to put the Saints into field goal range. Miller had excellent coverage on the play, but what the hell was he doing lined up outside on a tight end?
On their next series, the Broncos held the line for yet another third down attempt for the Saints. Brees went down the field to the end zone, but Darian Stewart read the pass perfectly and broke on the ball for the interception.
The Broncos fed Booker the rock to get out of the shadow of their own endzone, netting 16 yards on two carries. The Saints stiffened from there after a short run and a Siemian throwaway. On third and nine, Siemian was hit and sacked to end the drive.
That’s the end of the quarter.