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Denver Broncos vs. Washington Football Team NFL game story

Denver Broncos vs. Washington Football Team NFL game story

Broncos led 10-3 at half on Bridgwater TD pass to Gordon. Denver D allowed yards all game. Two blocked field goals helped keep Broncos tied.

DENVER — The matchup between the stumbling Broncos and struggling Washington Football Team drew little interest nationally, and it wasn’t exactly the talk of the town among the locals, either.

The Washington-Broncos game was the least-bet matchup in the NFL this week, according to the Action Network, and the sellout crowd at Empower Field at Mile High on a gloomy Halloween Sunday afternoon included 11,755 no-shows.

In fairness, trick-or-treating is a legit conflict.

There is also the disappointing reality that after a 3-0 start, the Broncos have not been must-see entertainment. Two blocked field goals by Denver defensive linemen Shelby Harris and Dre’Mont Jones and two touchdowns by running back Melvin Gordon put the Broncos up 17-10 with less than 4 minutes remaining in regulation.

Denver entered with a four-game losing streak and 3-4 record. Washington was 2-5.

During the halftime ceremony, former Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning thanked the Bowlen family and Broncos organization for taking a chance on him in 2012 after he missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury. He then capped his Ring of Fame induction ceremony with one last pass to friend and former receiver Brandon Stokley.

Manning moved up to the 30 and lofted a nice spiral to the end zone where Stokely caught it, then raised his arms in triumph. Stokley raised his arms. that is.

With all the attention paid to the return of receiver Jerry Jeudy from his six-week ankle injury, Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam came off the injured list accompanied by relative obscurity. Yet is was Albert O who came up with receptions of 12 and 19 yards and helped the Broncos to their halftime lead.

While Denver’s defense played the ultimate bend-but-don’t-break style – allowing Washington to penetrate inside the Broncos’ 40 yard line on each of its four, first-half drives, but surrendering just 3 points total – Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos’ offense didn’t reach the end zone until after the 2-minute warning of the first half.

Completions of 19 yards to Okwuegbunam, 19 yards to Tim Patrick and 15 yards to running back Melvin Gordon III, who dove in for the touchdown with 1:11 remaining in the first half put the Broncos ahead. Jeudy seemed to struggle to get his ankle loose as he had just one catch for 5 yards in the first half. He did come alive in the second half, though, when he added three more catches for 34 yards. Patrick had three catches for 64 yards.

The two blocked field goals, though, were the difference. Harris got the first to thwart a 45-yard attempt and Jones came through big in the fourth quarter to deflect a 47-yard attempt.

It was scoreless after the first quarter, not that this was indicative how the Denver defense played. Washington’s had one full drive and half of another and compiled 104 yards and six first downs in the quarter. The reason the Football Team stayed scoreless was on a fourth-and-1 from the Broncos’ 18 on their first drive, quarterback Taylor Heinicke had his pass to the right flat deflected away by outside linebacker Malik Reed.

That was a 9-play, 56-yard drive for naught. On Washington’s next drive it went 56 yards again, this time over 11 plays. Again, it got nothing as Blewitt’s 45-yard field goal attempt was drilled into defensive lineman Shelby Harris’ arm.

The Broncos’ offense was erratic in its only first quarter possession. Bridgewater had an interception dropped, then followed with a 31-yard strike down the right side to top receiver Courtland Sutton. But from first and 10 at the Washington 30, the Broncos fell apart and wound up punting from the Washington 49.

On his second possession, Bridgewater hit another 31-yard completion downfield, this time to Tim Patrick, setting up first down at the Washington 23. Again, the Broncos went backwards, with Bridgewater getting sacked after he didn’t pick up the cornerback blitz and again came a 45-yard field goal attempt.

This is where the Broncos were lucky to have Brandon McManus, who nailed it to remain a perfect 13 of 13 in field goal attempts this season. Jinx! McManus had his first miss — a foot wide right — on a 53-yard attempt in the fourth quarter, leaving the score tied, 10-10 with 10:57 remaining and Washington with the ball at its own 43.

The Broncos led, 3-0 with 10:27 left in the second quarter. Justin Simmons intercepted Heinike’s Hail Mary heave into the end zone to preserve the Broncos’ halftime lead. Newcomer Stephen Weathelry had a sack while playing in place of Von Miller, who missed the game because of a sprained ankle.

Washington had outgained the Broncos for most of the game but momentum turned when Jones came up with the second block on Blewitt’s field goal attempt.

That woke up Bridgewater and the Broncos’ offense. Bridgewater hit Patrick for 14 yards, then after getting sacked for the third in the game, came back to connect with Sutton for 9 yards and 18 yards to Jeudy, who got open on an out cut. 

Javonte Williams then ran for 14 yards and after another 7-yard catch by Jeudy, Gordon scored his second touchdown of the game, this time on a 7-yard run. The Broncos were 17-10 with 4:27 left in the game.

Washington behind quarterback Taylor Heinicke, though, marched right back down the field. Heinicke, who threw a beautiful 20-yard deep go route to DeAndre Carter for a touchdown that beat cornerback Bryce Callahan in the third quarter, hit Dax Milne for 22 yards to again move the ball deep into Denver territory. A 14-yard completion to Carter gave Washington a first down at the Broncos’ 11 as the 2-minute warning approached. 

It became third-and-6 at the Broncos’ 8 with 1:16 remaining when Reed sprinted in for a strip sack. Washington recovered but the Football Team had fourth and 19 at its own 20 with 49 seconds remaining.

Simmons again intercepted the ball in the end zone to secure the Broncos much-needed win.

RELATED: Peyton Manning: No serious talks with potential new ownership group

RELATED: Washington game could determine whether Broncos are buyers or sellers in trade market

Broncos podcast: Klis’ Mike Drop

Denver Broncos headlines, game previews and interviews with our 9NEWS insider Mike Klis.



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