The Denver Broncos won the opening coin toss against the Cleveland Browns and elected to defer to the second half to give Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Browns offense the first possession of the game.
The Denver defense came out with some fire and forced a quick three-and-out with P.J. Locke getting a tackle for no gain and a pass breakup on third down to bring that punt unit out. Two straight run plays by Javonte Williams and a Russell Wilson sneak secured the Broncos a first down to get their opening drive going.
Their drive would nearly stall, but on third and ten Wilson heaved it deep to Courtland Sutton where he was basically tackled before the ball arrived to get the pass interference call into Browns territory. The drive almost stalled again from there after a fumbled snap on second down forced a third and long. However, Wilson found Sutton on a deep crosser wide open to get Denver down the Browns three yard line.
Russell Wilson Courtland Suttonpic.twitter.com/CxvYLtYf1B— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 26, 2023
One play later, Samaje Perine would plunge in from three yards out to put Denver up by a touchdown early.
Broncos 7, Browns 0.
The Browns got things going a bit on their next drive with an opening first down and converted their second first down on a fourth and inches conversion at midfield. A fumbled snap was recovered by the Broncos and Denver found themselves in business again in the first quarter.
Another takeaway for this defense.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 26, 2023
: FOX pic.twitter.com/6MnVMVuBpV
From the 50 yard line, Wilson missed a pass to Javonte Williams on the boundary on first down and then Williams was stuffed for a short loss on second down. On third and 12, Wilson took off running and was stopped three yards shy of the first down. Not settling for a punt, Sean Payton decided to go for it.
Wilson didn’t like what he saw and took off running getting the first down, but he had the ball knocked loose on the tackle where the Browns recovered.
Denver’s defense quickly forced a three-and-out and a punt with two minutes left in the first quarter. The Broncos picked up a first down on their next drive and would have a huge run by Javonte Williams negated by a holding call on Courtland Sutton. Perine would get another big run up the middle across midfield to end the first quarter.