On a cold and blustery day in Orchard Park, the Denver Broncos 2019 season officially came to an end. They had played well even in their losses for the most part, but against the Buffalo Bills they were exposed in all three phases of the game and completely blown out 20-3.
At 3-8, the season probably ended weeks ago, but this loss is the final nail in that coffin. The rebuild will continue, but now is the time to see young guys like Drew Lock get some playing time and evaluate these players for the rebuild to continue in the offseason.
The Broncos lost the opening coin toss and the Bills deferred to give Denver the ball to open up the game.
Early on, the game plan was to feed Phillip Lindsay and it paid off on the first two carries for seven yards and then Brandon Allen hit Tim Patrick at the sticks for a three yard gain and the Broncos first first down of the game.
Courtland Sutton got into the action two plays later as Allen went play action deep for 27 yards to the 35 yard line of the Bills for the first big play of the game.
After a questionable personal foul call on Dalton Risner, the Broncos were pushed out of field goal range. On third and 19, Allen was nearly picked on a late throw. Colby Wadman would punt the ball away after a missed scoring opportunity for Denver.
Josh Allen converted the first third and long of the game, hitting Cole Beasley over the middle to get the Bills out of the shadow of their own end zone on their first offensive possession of the game. They would convert their next third down, too, that one from half a yard out to put the ball out near their own 35-yard line.
Jeremiah Attaochu blew up a run play to former-Bronco Isaiah McKenzie on the next first down, but two plays later Josh Allen converted a third and 12 with his legs to keep the drive going. It didn’t take Buffalo long from there to get into the red zone as the Broncos defense began to get gashed. The Broncos defense did finally get a stop on this drive, though. On third and six from the Broncos 16-yard line, the Von Miller converged on Allen for the sack to bring out the field goal unit.
Bills 3, Broncos 0.
The Broncos allowed an 18-play drive to Minnesota last week and just gave up a 17-play drive to open this game. Denver’s defense has allowed scores on five consecutive series.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) November 24, 2019
On the first play of their next drive, Brandon Allen hung in there taking a huge hit and delivered a short pass to fullback Andrew Beck who turned it up field for an 18-yard gain. The quarter ended with a stretch run outside to Lindsay that went for negative yardage.
Allen was sacked to open up the second quarter and on third and forever Allen would essentially throw it away for another Broncos punt. So far up to this point in the game, the Broncos had kept the advantage in starting field position with the Bills starting their second drive in even worse shape than their first at their own 7.
On another third and long, Allen was nearly sacked twice but he broke free for an 18-yard gain and a first down. Frank Gore got his first two carries of the game and churned out 10 yards and a first down.
From there it was big play after big play with a 22 yard end around and then a 30 yard gain to Cole Beasley to the Broncos four-yard line.
A holding penalty on the next play pushed Buffalo back to a first and goal from the 14 yard line. A designed run by Allen gained four yards on first down, then Allen threw it away on second down. The Broncos got the stop on third down as well to force another field goal.
Bills 6, Broncos 0.
Back-to-back five yard penalties helped the Broncos to a first down to open up their next drive. Two plays later the Broncos were faced with a third and three near midfield. Allen, from the shotgun, tried to scramble away from Shaq Lawson and was sacked for a fourteen yard loss and another punt.
Fortunately, the Broncos defense woke up a bit with Justin Simmons intercepting a pass that sailed on Josh Allen to set the Broncos offense up on the Bills side of the field. A personal foul penalty on the return, pushed Denver back to their side of the field at the Broncos 47-yard line.
Allen hit Noah Fant on a deep crosser to the Bills 37-yard line on first down to get things going. A four yard gain by Lindsay and a no gain on a blown up screen pass set up a third and six at the two minute warning. Allen scrambled out of pressure on third down for a seven yard gain to get the first down to keep this vital drive before halftime alive.
Garett Bolles made the key block to spring Allen free for that first down, but then he followed it up with a holding penalty to push Denver back to the Bills 36-yard line. Allen would then be intercepted to end the Broncos drive.
With less than a minute to go, the Bills made it interesting on two long runs. Things would stall from there as the Broncos headed into halftime down 6-0 and fortunately so to be only down one score with how things had gone in the first half.
The Broncos third down defense continued to be exposed on the Bills first drive to open the second half.
#Broncos D ...— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) November 24, 2019
Games 1-10: Allowed eight conversions on third-and-8 or longer.
It didn’t take long before the Bills were again in the red zone. Two blown pass plays set up another third and long (this time 10). Devontae Harris was beat badly by Cole Beasley who took it in for the easy touchdown.
Bills 13, Broncos 0.
2019 Broncos football is hard to watch— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) November 24, 2019
Undeterred by the two score deficit, the Broncos went back to feeding Phillip Lindsay who gained 20 yards on two consecutive carries to open up the Broncos first second half drive. Two plays later Royce Freeman got in on the big carries with a 13 yard gain and another Broncos first down.
A delay of game penalty almost ruined the drive from there, but a personal foul on Ed Oliver kept things going for Denver. From the Bills 24-yard line, the Broncos kept things on the ground. However, a terrible screen pass to Noah Fant led to negative yardage and a fumble that Denver recovered. On third and 13, the results were predictable and incomplete.
Brandon McManus booted a 45-yard field goal into the wind to break the goose egg for Denver in this game.
Bills 13, Broncos 3.
Somehow the Broncos defense let John Brown wide open on the next drive for a first down, but he dropped it and the Bills were forced to punt for the first time in the game.
That is the first punt forced by the Broncos in 69 minutes and 18 seconds of game time.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) November 24, 2019
A strong inside run by Lindsay on first down set the Broncos up good on second down, but Freeman was chased down and tackled for a on yard gain on second down. On third and three, Allen overthew DaeSean Hamilton for a quick three and out for Denver.
The Broncos defense answered the call on the next drive that started close to midfield to force their own three and out on the Bills defense and back-to-back punts for Buffalo.
After an incompletion on first down, Freeman found some running room after a nice block by Sutton sprung him for another four to five yards on second down. On third and three, Lawson got another big sack who came unblocked to get Allen for an 11 yard loss and another three and out for Denver.
The Bills were faced with a third and two to end the quarter and found an easy first down with Devontae Harris in coverage on Isaiah McKenzie.
A holding penalty on the Bills pushed them back and on third and 12, Allen went short to Devin Singletary shy of the first down.
Ed Oliver sacked Brandon Allen on the first play of the Broncos next drive. From their own two yard line, Allen fired a pass into quadruple coverage and it was nearly picked. From there, Denver tried to throw it again, but Allen wisely threw it away.
With -16 yards this half, Denver might want to consider just taking knees on each down to curb the decline.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 24, 2019
The game came to its official conclusion as Josh Allen hit John Brown deep who beat Chris Harris Jr. for a 34-yard touchdown to put the Bills up for good.
Bills 20, Broncos 3.
Before the game would end, Frank Gore would pass Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing yardage list. A bit of NFL history that is always something to appreciate.