After the opening kickoff, Matt Ryan would start from the shotgun and throw a pass outside to Nyheim Hines who dropped the easy pass and catch on first down. Hines would pick up three on second down, then on third and seven, Ryan would feel the pressure up the middle and complete a pass outside where the Broncos’ defense would make the stop to force a three and out.
Russell Wilson and the Broncos came out with a run inside and a short pass to Courtland Sutton to bring up their first third down. On third and 2, Wilson hit Jerry Jeudy on a slant for a first down into Colts’ territory.
A quick checkdown to Gordon on the next play ended up netting 13 yards into field goal range. Gordon was stuffed at the line on first down for a short loss. Wilson then scrambled outside for a big gain to the Colts 13 yard line for an 18 yard gain.
After an incomplete pass, they tried a quick toss outside to Gordon that went absolutely nowhere to bring up a third and 12. A shot to the end zone to Jeudy bounced incomplete to bring Brandon McManus out for an early lead.
Broncos 3, Colts 0.
The Colts next drive got a boost right away with their third string running back (not Phillip Lindsay) taking an underneath pass upfield for a 21 yard gain out near midfield. Deon Jackson then took the next handoff for four yards to actual midfield. Phillip Lindsay entered the game on the next play where Matt Ryan was sacked by D.J. Jones. On third and 11, Ryan dumped it off to Jackson for a short gain to force another punt.
Denver wasted no time going three and out on their next drive with a no gain run on first down, a dropped pass by tight end Eric Saubert on second down, and a Russell Wilson sack on third down.
Caden Sterns brought the wood for the Broncos’ defense on the Colts first play on their next series. Ryan nearly connected with Michael Pittman into Broncos’ territory, but Sterns jarred the ball loose to force the incompletion. After a short run, Ryan overthrew his intended receiver for another three and out.
Sterns made that drive.
The Broncos started their next drive with Mike Boone in at running back over Melvin Gordon. He took the first down handoff nowhere. Wilson went deep for Jerry Jeudy, but the Colts safety read the ball well and got there before Jeudy for the pass breakup. On third and seven, Wilson his Saubert well short of the sticks for ... you guessed it, another three and out.
On their next drive, the Colts gave Denver a heavy dose of Phillip Lindsay to start who gained eight yards on two carries. On third and two, Ryan connected with a wide receiver for a first down but a holding penalty made it a third and 12. Ryan had orange jerseys all over the place in the pocket and it was Bradley Chubb who got him for the sack.
The first quarter would end in a battle of three and outs.