Man, what a heartbreaker. The Denver Broncos had the final in the final seconds within the red zone, a touchdown away from taking the lead and likely extending their win streak to six games. However, a third interception of the game by Russell Wilson ended that and the Broncos five-game win streak.
This was a rollercoaster of a game that saw the Broncos come alive in the second half of the game but in the end, it wasn’t enough. Three turnovers by Wilson ultimately doomed the Broncos. With all that said, here are the winners and losers from the Broncos 22-17 loss to the Houston Texans.
Broncos pass rush
The Broncos pass rush has not been wonderful this year, but in today’s game, they had an impactful game for the Broncos defense. They got after and sacked Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud five times in this game.
Alex Singleton, P.J. Locke, Ja’Quan McMillian, and Baron Browning/Matt Henningsen all combined for the five sacks. The defense could not come up with a turnover, but they at least got after the passer.
Broncos rush defense
The Broncos rush defense has been a weakness all year but today vs. the Texans, they held their own. They allowed just 89 yards rushing and held the Texans top rusher to just 41 yards.
They have been getting blown up in the run game so seeing this effort from them is promising moving forward. Hopefully, they can continue this trend moving forward.
WR Courtland Sutton
Sutton had just two catches in this one, but one of them was for a LONG touchdown reception which included another highlight reel catch by him.
His impact otherwise was minimal and he had a costly drop in the first drive, but overall, he had himself another solid game for the Broncos. I included him in the winners list because of the highlight reel touchdown catch.
QB Russell Wilson
Wilson and the offense did nothing in the first half outside of a field goal drive before halftime, but he really turned it on in the second half leading the offense for two touchdown drives. Unfortunately, he also threw three interceptions including the game-sealing one in the final seconds in the end zone.
The three interceptions were costly for the Broncos and one led to what ended up being the game-winning touchdown by the Texans. That interception was costly because it came right after the defense forced a turnover and sack on C.J. Stroud and the momentum was shifting toward the Broncos favor.
Later, he would throw a pass down the middle of the field and Texans cornerback Derek Stingley made a great play on the ball. Finally, the final interception came in the final seconds when Russ lofted a ball into the end zone, and Texans defensive back Jimmie Ward came down with it and ended the game.
He also missed a wide-open Jerry Jeudy earlier in the game and underthrew a wide-open Marvin Mims Jr. earlier in the game. He did find the end zone twice but the three turnovers and missed open receivers ended up costing them big time in this game.
LB Alex Singleton
Singleton’s stat line looks good and includes a key sack but his costly penalty in the first quarter on fourth down ended in a Texans touchdown. The Broncos defense made a play, held the Texans to three and likely keep the score to 6-0, but Singleton got into a shoving match with C.J. Stroud and it drew a flag by the officials.
Was it a soft flag, sure, however, it was an incredibly stupid penalty on fourth down. Inexcusable and unacceptable flag on Singleton that ended in a Houston touchdown.
Whoever was covering Nico Collins
The Broncos secondary has been strong, but in this game, they had no answers for Texans wide receiver Nico Collins. He finished the game with 9 receptions for 191 yards and 1 touchdown.
He absolutely roasted the Broncos secondary and they had no answer for him. He extended multiple drives, made big plays down the field, and was a big reason for the Texans success in this one.
Broncos 3rd down offense
I’ll keep this short and sweet.
The Broncos went 0 for 11 on third down in this game. You can’t win football games if you’re going 0 for 11 on third down. Unacceptable and likely something head coach Sean Payton will stress all week.
Offensive line pass-blocking
The pass blocking in this game by the Broncos was awful. Rookie Will Anderson was a game-breaker at times and Wilson was under pressure throughout the game. He was able to avoid the pressure at times but the Texans still were able to 3 sacks on Wilson.
We saw them play much better last week vs. the Browns, but in this one, they struggled in protection.