The Denver Broncos opened up the game winning the coin toss and, as they usually do, deferred possession to the second half. It’ll be the Broncos defense vs. C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans offense to start the game.
The teams traded three and outs, but Will Anderson Jr. for the Texans tipped the punt from Riley Dixon to set the Texans up with excellent field position after the ball landed out of bounds for a short 22-yard punt.
C.J. Stroud found an open tight end for a short pass who was completely uncovered and ripped off a 27-yard gain to get the Texans to the 20-yard line of Denver. The Broncos defense stiffened from there to force a field goal attempt.
Texans 3, Broncos 0.
The Broncos offense came out with back-to-back runs, then on third and three Russell Wilson was sacked with an offensive line completely collapsing around him to force Denver into their second three-and-out to start the game.
C.J. Stroud immediately goes deep for a 52-yard gain to Nico Collins, but even worse is that Patrick Surtain II went down on the play.
STROUD WITH A BOMB TO COLLINS pic.twitter.com/SV0KJK98aC— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) December 3, 2023
With Surtain out, the Texans looked to go for the jugular. After stopping the Texans to a fourth and short, C.J. Stroud was able to dive forward for the first down inside the 20. Two plays later on third and two at the seven yard line, Stroud rolled out and hit Nico Collins in the end zone who dropped the pass.
Then on fourth and two, a false start penalty was disregarded by a dumb Alex Singleton for personal foul to give the Texans and first and goal.
ALEX SINGLETON PUSHING CJ STROUD— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) December 3, 2023
STROUD GETTING IN HIS FACE pic.twitter.com/YjHArcY0bs
That would lead to a predictable touchdown as Denver implodes in the first quarter.
Texans 10, Broncos 0.
With just under four minutes left in the first quarter, Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense would get another chance to avoid going three-and-out for a third consecutive time to start the game. They would get a first down finally on a pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey, then an eight yard sweep to Marvin Mims Jr. got Denver out to the 45.
Jaleel McLaughlin would get sopped for a loss to bring up a third and three. Wilson, from the shotgun, he would scramble up the middle for a one yard gain to bring out the punt unit again.
The first quarter would end with a 59-yard pass play to Nico Collins to set up Houston with another scoring opportunity.