The Denver Broncos continue to be weighted down by their offense in games they lose and today was no different as the Cincinnati Bengals ground its way to a 15-10 defensive road victory. The Bengals keep their playoff hopes alive and well while Denver’s have seen their playoff hopes go up in smoke.
The 15-10 defeat showed a pretty poor offensive gameplan from offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in what has been a common theme for the Broncos losing close, low scoring games. At 7-7, they are left looking on the outside in on the AFC playoff picture.
The first quarter went by quickly as both defenses forced more punts than gave up first downs. Bradley Chubb had a solid first quarter with multiple plays including a tackle for a loss and a pass deflection.
Great play by Bradley Chubb to make the tackle for loss pic.twitter.com/39c915UzSg— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 19, 2021
Cincinnati did get just inside field goal range to tack on a 53-yard field goal for the early lead, but outside of that drive neither team did much of anything in the first quarter.
Bengals 3, Broncos 0. Full first quarter recap.
While the Broncos defense continued to dominate, the Broncos offense continued to have miscues and suspect play-calling. Denver had a chance for a big play, but a great pass breakup led to a field goal instead.
Teddy Bridgewater dropped in the bucket for Courtland Sutton.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 19, 2021
Should have been a TD, but it's incomplete. pic.twitter.com/GWPwFXdtXX
Then entered the two-minute drill. Somehow Denver kept getting first downs, but the play-calling seemed to be focused on getting a long field goal attempt rather than scoring a touchdown or going for a big play. The result was a 51-yard field goal miss by Brandon McManus with 9 seconds left in the half, then Joe Burrow completed a 19-yard pass to give Evan McPhearson a 58-yard field goal try that he nailed to put the Bengals in the lead heading into the halftime.
Bengals 6, Broncos 3. Full second quarter recap.
The third quarter was kind of boring until the final 90 seconds. With Bridgewater suffering a scary injury that led to him being carted off the field and sent to a local hospital as a precaution, Drew Lock threw a ball up for Tim Patrick who hauled it in for a 25-yard touchdown to put Denver up 10-9.
Drew Lock with a touchdown toss to Tim Patrick on 2nd and 9. pic.twitter.com/Ddodw88Z51— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 19, 2021
However, just a few plays later Joe Burrow found a wide open Tyler Boyd who outran everyone for a 56-yard touchdown to retake the lead.
Burrow. Boyd. @Bengals answer back! #RuleTheJungle— NFL (@NFL) December 19, 2021
: #CINvsDEN on CBS
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/JwV3pU7S9L
The Bengals would miss on their two-point try, but they still had to the lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Bengals 15, Broncos 10. Full third quarter recap.
Needing to get a drive going after the Bengals scored just before the third quarter end, Melvin Gordon fumbled on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Bengals great field position. After review, the Broncos a massive break with the fumble being overturned and Denver maintain possession. Lock immediately made the Bengals pay to get Denver out across midfield on the next play.
Clutch throw by Drew Lock on 3rd and 8. Stared down the barrel and delivered to Albert Okwuegbunam. pic.twitter.com/n683EpvAhs— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 19, 2021
Lock continued attacking deep drawing a pass interference on Courtland Sutton to get Denver into field goal range. The first downs kept coming as Denver quickly found themselves just outside the Bengals 20 yard line.
A big run by Melvin Gordon set up a first and goal at the 10. Drew Lock then had the ball ripped from his hands and as the Bengals defender was returning the ball back near midfield he had the ball ripped from his hands too where Garett Bolles recovered.
Two fumbles on one play! Chaos in Denver.— NFL (@NFL) December 19, 2021
: #CINvsDEN on CBS
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/NJGd19YGJ0
After review, the Bengals were ruled down by contact at the 15. So the entire sequence of events was moot. Drew Lock still has just two games he has played in where he didn’t have at least one turnover.
Denver’s defense held and Lock seemed ready to move past that turnover. Backed up to their own end zone, Javonte Williams beastmoded his way for a 10 yard gain and Lock then fired a bullet to Albert Okwuegbunam to get the ball out to the 40 yard line. They would go nowhere from there after a Garett Bolles holding penalty and punted the ball back to the Bengals with under four minutes to go in the game.
Cincinnati would run the clock out from there giving Denver no chance to score to win 15-10.
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