The Denver Broncos found themselves down by 10 early, but fought back into it and they would trade the lead with the Detroit Lions several times in the second half. However, the Broncos broke free late to extend their lead to two scores and would finish the day with a 27-17 win over the Lions.
At 6-9, the Broncos have a chance to end the season on a high note with a win next week over the Oakland Raiders. It would be a positive momentum builder to end a season 7-5 after starting 0-4.
The Broncos defense gave up some chunk yards on the Lions opening drive, but stiffened in the red zone to hole them to a field goal. From there, they stymied David Blough to the tune of multiple pressures and sacks to hold them scoreless the rest of the quarter.
Meanwhile, Garett Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson had themselves an offensive holds party to kill the momentum the Broncos offense had on their second drive as they were making some good plays to get out to midfield. That issue kicked momentum back to the Lions to start the second quarter.
Special teams has been an issue for the Broncos all season long, whether it be long returns or poor punting. This time, they would give up a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown. It is the second time the Broncos have given up a punt return touchdown this season and the first time they have given up multiple punt return touchdowns in a season since 2008.
Drew Lock and the Broncos offense would answer, however, with a long 9-play 75-yard drive down the field to score to put the Broncos on the board finally and cutting the Lions lead to 10-7 with a little over six minutes to go in the half.
#Broncos touchdown! pic.twitter.com/Zlb4VJhMba— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 22, 2019
The Broncos would close the first half with another long drive that would come up short with under 30 seconds left in the second quarter, but a Brandon McManus field goal would tie things up at 10 heading into halftime.
Denver opened up the second half with a 46-yard kickoff return by Diontae Spencer that set up the Broncos offense with prime field position. They would take advantage, driving all the way down to the Lions eight yard line before the drive would stall. McManus would put Denver up 13-10 from there.
On their opening series, the Lions ran roughshod over the depleted interior defensive line of the Broncos racking up 49 yards on the ground on a drive that was capped by a lunging Kenny Galloway who take a screen pass three yards for the touchdown to give Detroit the lead late in the third quarter.
The Broncos would begin to answer that drive getting out to midfield, but the biggest play of the game came on a fourth and one that Denver converted with this outstanding playcall:
Love the decision to go for it by Vic Fangio, and love this playcall by the #Broncos pic.twitter.com/mr199TLQtd— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 22, 2019
The Broncos offense was spurred by that fourth down conversion with a couple of big plays by Tim Patrick and Phillip Lindsay that Drew Lock capped off with a touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton to put Denver up 20-17.
That touchdown would snap a 10 game streak where the Broncos offense hadn’t scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
After stopping the Lions, the Broncos offense did something uncharacteristic to them in 2019. They methodically drove down the field eating up the clock as they did so. The drive would be capped by a 27-yard run up the middle for a touchdown to put the Broncos up 27-17 with six and a half minutes to go in the game.
Great play design by the #Broncos and one hell of a run by @I_CU_boy pic.twitter.com/JiJH7ByVo9— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 22, 2019
Denver’s depleted defense stymied Blough and the Lions offense on their next possession as Dre’Mont Jones would get another sack in the game to keep the deficit in double digits. The Broncos defense would stop them on their final possession as well to secure the 27-17 win over Detroit.