The Detroit Lions won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half to bring Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver Broncos out to start the game. The Broncos offense took the field with 10-men on the field in honor of Thomas and took the delay of game penalty with the crowd chanting DT. Detroit declined the penalty and the game began after that moment for DT.
After an incompletion on first down, Melvin Gordon took the inside handoff for 12 yards. Sticking with the run, Gordon picked up five and three yards to setup a third and two. Bridgewater found Tim Patrick over the middle of the field for a 13 yard reception to the Lions 44-yard line.
Javonte Williams was stuffed on first down and Jerry Jeudy dropped a pass that was a little behind him on second down, which forced a long third and nine. Bridgewater looked for Courtland Sutton outside who was grabbed in what looked like a bit of a ticky tack call, but we’ll take those all day if it helps the Broncos.
Broncos get a gift on 3rd and 9 when Robey-Coleman interferes with Sutton pic.twitter.com/0Wq66HYv0n— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 12, 2021
From the Lions 28, Bridgewater handed off to Gordon from the shotgun who rumbled for a 13-yard gain to set them up inside the red zone. He then took another inside handoff and burst through the hole for nine yards. Gordon was looking fast and strong early in this game. On second and one from the six, Gordon squeezed inside for a short gain to pick up the first down.
Then Javonte Williams powered his way into the end zone with two Lions’ defenders trying to bring him down. He is an angry runner.
Broncos 7, Lions 0.
Without both of his starting running backs, Jared Goff dropped back to pass on first down. He went after Partick Surtain and the ball was off target anyway. The second down handoff netted five yards, then on third down Goff was brought down by Dre’Mont Jones for the big sack to end the Lions opening drive in a three and out.
Dre'Mont Jones brings down Jared Goff.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 12, 2021
Broncos D holds on 3rd down! pic.twitter.com/p8RcNw7JnL
Melvin Gordon was ruled questionable to return with a hand injury, so it would be Williams taking over the running back load.
On first down, he shrugged off would-be tacklers for a six yard gain outside. He picked up two more on second down, then on third and one he picked up the first down on another three yard gain.
Williams dragged three defenders with him for a nine yard gain on first down, then picked up the first down again on the next play with a short three yard gain. It was then, after five straight runs by Williams, that we saw Melvin Gordon come back into the game despite having been ruled questionable to return just a few minutes earlier.
Gordon gained one on first down, then we finally saw an actual intermediate route run by Noah Fant where Bridgewater threw a pretty ball for a 32-yard gain into the Lions red zone.
Bridgewater finds Noah Fant down the sideline. pic.twitter.com/cpIJut4ViJ— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 12, 2021
The Broncos found themselves in a first and goal two plays later. From the Lions five yard line, Gordon powered his way down to the Lions three then another run for two setup a third and goal from the one. He would plow his way in for the touchdown and the big Broncos first quarter lead.
Broncos 14, Lions 0.