The Denver Broncos struggled mightily on offense in their 22-17 loss to the Houston Texans. They turned the ball over far too many times and despite all that still had a chance to win the game late, but a Russell Wilson interception ended it.
Zero third down conversions also played a huge role in the demise of the Broncos five-game win streak and they are once again on the outside, looking in on that AFC playoff hunt. Their ‘must-win’ status for every game remains in effect as they prepare to get back on track next week.
Broncos vs. Texans final score
The first quarter was one of missed opportunities for the Broncos as a couple of misses on deep balls let them to back-to-back three and outs to start the game.
Beautiful throw by Russell Wilson— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) December 3, 2023
Courtland Sutton has to catch that.pic.twitter.com/ZuruCZQVYy
Meanwhile, the Texans put together scoring drives after their initial three and out to start the game. The biggest play was this personal foul on Alex Singleton when Houston was facing a fourth down and had also committed a false start.
ALEX SINGLETON PUSHING CJ STROUD— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) December 3, 2023
STROUD GETTING IN HIS FACE pic.twitter.com/YjHArcY0bs
That dumb penalty cost Denver big as the Texans would score a touchdown two plays later to go up 10-0 in the first quarter. The quarter would end with a 59-yard pass to Nico Collins to set Houston up with another scoring opportunity to start the second quarter.
Texans 10, Broncos 0. Full first quarter recap.
The second quarter just proved to all of us that the NFL has a serious officiating problem. A massive no-call right in front of an official staring at the clear penalty, held off throwing the flag.
That no-call wiped out a 50-yard play and if the NFL can’t get this right they will find fans losing interest in the sport over time. Call a clean game or why bother watching?
The Broncos were able to finally get points on the board late in the second quarter, but would go in the halftime down by 10 and it should have been much closer if NFL officiating actually did their jobs.
Texans 13, Broncos 3. Full second quarter recap.
Down by 10, the Broncos offense needed a big third quarter. Instead, they dropped back-to-back three and outs while the Texans continued putting up points and putting this game away.
Broncos drives so far today:— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) December 3, 2023
Kneeldown, end of half
Denver would finally answer to Houston’s scoring with the biggest play of the game for them up to that point on a beautiful deep ball to Courtland Sutton for a 45-yard touchdown to bring the Broncos to within six of the Texans late in the third quarter.
The Broncos defense then nearly broke the game wide open with a stripe-sack on C.J. Stroud, but despite five Broncos players being around the ball it was recovered by Houston. That was important, because just before the third quarter ended a Russell Wilson pass was tipped and intercepted to give Houston the ball just outside of the red zone.
Texans 16, Broncos 10. Full third quarter recap.
Stroud and the Texans would convert that critical turnover into a decisive touchdown to a wide open Nico Collins to put Houston back up by 12 after the failed two-point conversion attempt.
On the Broncos next possession, they needed a touchdown to stay in the game and Wilson delivered a strike to Jerry Jeudy who fought his way down to the one yard line for a 41-yard gain where Wilson would plunge in for the touchdown to get it back to a one-score deficit.
Jerry Jeudy with a huge play that sets up a Broncos TD on the next play!pic.twitter.com/Q6zOyuaTp0— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 3, 2023
With a bit of a momentum shift, the Broncos defense came out with the ears pinned and Alex Singleton came up with a massive second down sack and ultimately forced a three and out to give Denver a chance to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Javonte Williams would open up the Broncos next drive with a four yard gain on first down, then Russell Wilson would go deep to Courtland Sutton who was open but a diving safety intercepted the ball just in time to give the Texans the ball at their own 23-yard line.
The Texans took their next drive and got the ball across midfield before back-to-back big plays by P.J. Locke - one a tackle for a loss and the other a big sack on C.J. Stroud to force the Texans into a third and 23. They would be forced to punt it away with just over four and a half minutes left in the game.
Russell Wilson immediately went deep to Courtland Sutton for a 32-yard gain. Two plays later the Broncos faced a third and four and had not converted a third down all game. Wilson found a streaking Samaje Perine who was interfered with for Denver’s first third down conversion of the game.
Two plays later, the Broncos were again faced with a third down. On third and eight, Wilson would take off running and be tackled one yard shy of the first down marker at the two minute warning. On fourth and one, with the game on the line, Javonte Williams was nearly stuffed behind the line but he fought his way through two tackles to get across the first down line by the length of the football.
Again, another two plays later facing yet another third down on the drive - that time two. Wilson, from the shotgun, had to throw the ball away to bring up a fourth and two. Wilson would be flushed out and ran forward for the first down to bring up a first and goal with 23 seconds left in regulation.
The Broncos just couldn’t escape third downs on that drive and would face another on third and goal with 16 seconds left. From the eight yard line, Wilson would almost be sacked and then threw it up for an interception in the end zone.
Texans 22, Broncos 17.
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