The Denver Broncos have the NFL’s worst third quarter this season with just 20 points through 11 games, with over half their opening drives ending in a three-and-out to start the second half. Down 13-3 to the Houston Texans, that was going to have to change if they hoped to win this game.
After a first down sack, the Broncos would go three-and-out to start the second half with Russell Wilson getting sack on third down as well.
C.J. Stroud facing a third and 11 found a wide open Nico Collins for yet another huge gain to get the Texans into field goal range. That would lead to yet another score for Houston to go up by nearly two touchdowns.
Texans 16, Broncos 3.
On the Broncos next drive, the Broncos faced a third and three. Wilson hit Samaje Perine for no gain and he had the ball stripped and the Texans forced a fumble for a scoop and score. Fortune favored Denver there with the officials calling Perine’s forward progress stopped to bring out the punt unit for yet another three-and-out for the Broncos hapless offense.
Oh man that’s a tough one. Forward progress called oh so quickly and takes 6 off the board for Houston. pic.twitter.com/qMKVfS7Qj5— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) December 3, 2023
After forcing a critical three-and-out on Houston, the Broncos offense got another chance to erase their third quarter woes.
With outstanding field position after a poor punt set Denver up at their own 42-yard line that would improve after a Texans five-yard penalty. A four yard run by Javonte Williams got Denver into an excellent down and distance, which they would convert on a full back handoff across midfield.
Russell Wilson unloaded deep to Courtland Sutton on the next play for a 45-yard touchdown to blow the game wide open.
Texans 16, Broncos 10.
On the Texans next drive, they made two quick short passes to bring up a third and one. C.J. Stroud would dive forward for the first down with three minutes left in the third quarter. Two plays later after a Zach Allen and Jonathan Cooper shared sack the Texans faced a third and 13. A strip-sack and fumble, but Houston would somehow recover to bring out the punt unit.
A tipped pass resulted in an interception on the very next play for Denver to give the Texans prime scoring position at the 20 yard line late in the third quarter.