The Denver Broncos continued their season-long tradition of deferring possession to the second half after winning the coin toss. The third quarter has been particularly brutal for them with just 10 total offensive points all year, but hey, the analytics say to defer so Nathaniel Hackett defers.
With that opening Carolina Panthers drive, Sam Darnold got a quick first down pass for 15-yards. They went nowhere from there and would punt it away to Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense who took over inside the 5-yard line.
A screen pass to Montrell Washington nearly ended in a safety and after gaining a couple of yards back to the 4-yard line. The drive would end in a predictable three and out.
A deep, line-drive punt allowed a nice return to the Broncos 40-yard line to give Sam Darnold and the Panthers excellent field position to start their next drive.
The Panthers would open with a holding penalty, however, which led to a third and 18 and another punt. Denver’s defense has showed up to play today, but the offense has yet to make an appearance.
The three-and-out streak continued for the Broncos next drive as they failed to convert on a third and three to punt it away again.
First half of the first quarter in the books — so, the first eighth, as it were:— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) November 27, 2022
Combined totals for the Broncos and Panthers:
First downs: 1
And wouldn’t you know it, the Panthers offense backed this up with another potential three-and-out. However, they ran a fake punt and caught the Broncos sleeping for a first down.
That woke at least one of these two offenses up as Darnold found DJ Moore open for a 26-yard gain and into field goal range at the Broncos’ 31-yard line. D’Onta Foreman then took a handoff up the middle for a 15-yard gain to set the Panthers up in the red zone.
A few plays later Darnold capped the drive with a dime to Moore in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with less than a minute to go in the first quarter.
Panthers 7, Broncos 0.