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Published on 09/23/2012 at Sun Sep 23 20:09.
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(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Early on, it looked the Denver Broncos—especially their defense—were going to have a great game on Sunday.  On Houston’s first offensive play, Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub was sacked in his own end zone by Broncos’ defensive end Elvis Dumervil, giving the Broncos an early two-point advantage.

It was Dumervil’s 53rd and 1/2th sack of his career and set the Broncos up with the ball and momentum early in the game (after the offense has originally stalled and punted on their first possession, pinning Houston deep and setting up the ensuing safety).  Quarterback Peyton Manning led the Broncos down the field but the drive ended with a Matt Prater field goal, foreshadowing the kind of afternoon the Broncos’ offense would have.

Unable to finish drives effectively, Prater kicked three field goals in the first half and as a result, the Broncos scored four times and only had eleven points on the scoreboard to show for it.  Meanwhile, Houston’s Schaub was having a good day, leading the Texans to a 21-11 halftime lead after tossing three touchdown passes.

After the half, Denver’s defense stiffened, allowing just two scores and forcing several three-and-outs late in the game.  The Broncos offense rallied and Manning threw two touchdown passes—including his nineteenth career touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley, a 38-yard pass in the fourth quarter—but ultimately Denver was unable to match Houston’s four touchdowns and fell 31-25 after failing to score as the game clock expired on a last ditch lateral-heavy effort.

Although in a losing effort, Manning did throw for 330 yards, which marked his 64th career 300-yard game.  Manning now holds the record for most 300-yard games by a quarterback in NFL history, after passing Dan Marino (63) on Sunday.

The Broncos will return home to face the 1-2 Oakland Raiders next week.  The Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 34-31 earlier today.

What were your thoughts of the game?  Are you panicking, or are you confident the team will be able to bounce back after losing to a pair of 3-0 teams?  Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

  • Jay

    We need to play to PFM strengths and stop being so damn conservative. What made PFM great in Indy is pass first run second. Now we run first and pass second which is not working. We all saw what happened when PFM got loose in the 4th quarter.

    For me the biggest issue is Fox he is old and old fashioned! He needs to change and he needs to change fast or he needs to go!

  • Jon Heath

    I agree that Fox is too conservative, but it’s way too early to talk about him going anywhere. We’ll get into a role within the next week or so, we just played two tough teams back-to-back and Peyton’s still getting back into his groove.

  • Jim_Jebow

    the sky is not falling yet, but if we lose to the Raiders, all of the chicken littles will start squawking

  • anthony33

    Carbon copy game of Monday night, at least in the 4th Quarter.
    Houston’s defense is terrific, no place to run. Very coordinated well coached 3-4 defense. Our dink and dunk does not work well against a defense that makes few mistakes as you simply have to run too many plays to get the ball down field.
    I thought Manning was so-so. He was under pressure on most throws, but he threw his share of clunkers. The play calling was terrible, especially mid-way through the second quarter all the way through the 3rd quarter. And what the heck was Decker doing sliding when they are down by 20? At the very least he should give up the #87 jersey, Eddie.Mac would have NEVER done that.
    Overall, the defense was terrible. Too many deep passes, the tight end continues to torch us, weak pass rush and Houston ran all over us. Not sure how Houston only scored 31 points as it felt like they crushed us. In the end, once again, we could not stop them on crucial 3rd down when it counted most.
    I felt a lot better after the Atlanta game than I do this game. Manning and the offense are a long ways off from being consistent, but I think they will get there. The defense… I don’t know. In fairness to them, the constant changing of D corrdinators has them learning new schemes every year. Look at Houston with just one year under Wade Phillips.
    Next week is a must win,

  • Gordon

    I don’t understand the choice to not try the onside kick. Feels like they made the same mistake two games in a row. I don’t know am i missing some thing?

  • Matt Dierking

    As of right now, the Broncos are not the type of team that can overcome mistakes. Monday night was turnovers. Today was dropped passes, bad penalties and an inability to score TDs early. Manny Ramirez is a liability and we can’t get Kuper back healthy soon enough. Houston and Atlanta are as if now top tier teams.

    What is Jim Leonard doing returning punts? He is slow and unimpressive. Decker was good in the stat book, but made a major bonehead mistake on the punt return. Lots of blame it go around. I do tip my hat to Houston though. They play the way the Broncos once played on both sides of the ball. It makes me miss Kubiak.

  • Matt Dierking

    You have about 3 mins with a couple of timeouts and a Defense that had some momentum, you take your chances kicking it deep. If you blow the onside kick, Houston could have kicked a FG that would have put it out of reach. It’s a probability game and the D failed to make a true stop to allow the O some time to make a move.

  • Doom92

    Hey I have to agree with JJ Bow, its not time to panic but for different reasons. Last week we had a bad game and this week we were exposed a little bit. I still loved that first game but that really isn’t who the Broncos are. They were playing high and well over achieved. The secondary is clearly not what we thought or hoped for, Joe Mays, once again, is NOT a starting middle LB, Kieth Brooking is past his even good playing days and the D-Line is a bit weak, especially against an O-Line that can play.

    Peyton is struggling no question, our line isn’t that good against the pass rush and doesn’t run block super well, the fact is that our RB’s are not that great either. Put this altogether and you have what has happened in the last two games. Although I loved it, had they not played on the emotion that the did against the Steelers it would have been the same.

    ALL is not lost though, not only will they improve and get better but we will continue to learn what we need to “really” get better. You simply can not start playing in the last 9 min, as the last two weeks, and expect to win. I’ll bet any one of you if you were to ask Peyton strait up “Do you think you can win if you only play for the last 9 min each week will you will win many games?” he would say “absolutely not”.

    BUT… those 9 min has shown that they can play! Yes of course some of it is soft play from both Atlanta and Houston at the end but it creates a rhythm none-the-less and they need that for sure. The Raiders game is, of course, win-able but will be a tough game just the same. As I’ve said before if we can get through the fist half of the season with a few wins its possible for a later run.

    Even if we do go say 8-8 (or whatever) and miss the play-offs, once again all is not lost, these guys are learning to play together and that is an absolutely positive thing. I watched the game today as calm as I have watched a Broncos game in a few years.

    Now some will dog me as being negative but I’m truly not at all, on the contrary, I feel this is a solid evaluation from a fan that loves the sport and this team win-loose-or-draw. When they fully learn to play together it will be good stuff for sure. Jim is right, all the nayers and negative will come out after we loose a couple more. But everyone just chill and realize this will take a little time and not simply be grand all the time, especially this year.

    The next great Broncos team cant be built in one off season ;-).

    I know its not the same but it equates to what I’m saying. The first year I was a High School Head Coach we went 0-9, but lost our last 4 games by 3 or less. The next year we went 5-4 made the play-offs, went to the Championship and won the damn thing. Because we learned to play together. LOL… totally different level but that is what these guys are doing….. Learning to play together!!!

  • Doom92

    Comprehensive statment… I “liked” it…

  • T-Money

    It’s only week 3. It’s not the end of the season. Keep things in perspective.

    1. For everybody who thought PFM was going to walk in a run a flawless offense… you are simple naive. I don’t care who you are, there are going to be growing pains adjusting to life on a different team with different personnel. The game against Pittsburgh was a grate example of what this team CAN look like with some experience, but that game was played without anybody having tape of the broncos and knowing what, where, and how to scheme.

    2. Although I don’t like how we have played over the last two weeks – and I strongly believe that we have shot ourselves in the foot over anything else – but it would be arrogant to ignore the fact that we have played three top tier teams back to back to back. Everybody that had a realistic feel for the schedule, knew that these first 6 games were going to be rough (if not the whole season). It’s should not be news to anybody that the Broncos were not going to go 16-0 and walk into the playoffs like a sparkling diamond. NFL teams are rarely defined by how they play at the beginning of the season. It’s always the teams that are playing well at the end of the season that make an impact on the playoffs and, like last year, win the super bowl.

    3. It would also be unjust to ignore the 4th quarter of all three games. It gives me hope personally that we have the ability to run down the field and score points. Our defense has been outstanding in the 4th quarter of every game this season. However, with that said, I don’t think that we should ever have to be in this “f#$% we need a comeback” mentality. We need to get into that rhythm, at the beginning of the game… smell blood in the water and finish.

    4. This just pisses me off – Why the hell do we punt when we have one of the best kickers in the league… I would put money on Prater making a 70+ yard field goal. But when you are on the opponents side of the 50 and your punt?!

    5. We need to stop over reacting. It’s not news to anybody that Manning had 4 neck surgeries – so are you really all that surprised that his passes are off and on… you shouldn’t be. He has told you himself that they would be. But to be quite honest he has shown that he can throw the deep ball – granted we have either dropped it or been flagged – interceptions aside. He can throw on the run and he can still manipulate defenses. He’s a different Peyton than we all know but it’s not all that different. Give it some time to come together. Remember he hasn’t been with this organization for 14 years. Try 6 months.

    6. Most importantly, in my opinion, I think Mike McCoy and John Fox are holding Peyton back. They are taking the same approach to games that they did with Tebow… establish a running game and them use a balanced attack to finish out games. STOP THAT! It’s not working. The only success that I have seen from the Broncos is when they go no huddle and they let Peyton Manning be Peyton Manning. Granted there needs to be a little structure, but for the love of god realize that you have a weapon and use it!

    Take a deep breath you guys. Even Dante Alighieri walked into hell and back without panicking. I’d rather lose now than with the playoffs on the line (assuming we get there of course.) Just saying.

  • areferee

    Re: Eric Decker.

    I had the same thought except I see it as Eddie Mac INSISTING that he give up the #87. Years ago, Otis Armstrong showed similar “yellow-feather, rather than Orange” by intentionally running out of bounds rather than taking a hit in an effort for additional yardage, and he was also booed and never completely forgiven thereafter.

    I have never been strong on Decker as a sure-handed receiver, but in the face of his “giving up” on the effort… I’m inclined to feel the same way about his roster spot.

  • Michael Gibbons

    It’s weird when decker has as many yards and catches as he did, I’m still wondering if he will stop dropping so many passes

  • Mike Honig

    I agree with you to a point. I agree the play calling seems to not play to Manning stregnths. I also think the reasons he is not 100% which he admits to. He does does not have the arm strength he wants (yet). I think in time as he heals this will change. Remember along with strength not where it should be he has a new team new receivers. They dropped 14 balls. That’s a lot of drops. Lets give it time and see how everyone improves. This is only week three. We have a played three great teams and we have been in every home even with all the mistakes. I think we will be fine.

  • Jon_BT

    “But acorns neva fla!”

  • anthony33

    As usual, spot on. The real issue is the offense is not in sync yet and the defense is once again starting over with a new DC. What is very clear to me, especially on defense, is that many of the players simply don’t know their assignments. Is talent lacking, yes, but they are just not coordinated. People are wide open, no one cover the tight end and very few stops by the LB’s.
    Hopefully Del Rio brings them along.

    Offensively, Manning and his receivers are not yet on the same page. I think that will come given Manning’s work ethic and what he demands. I am about done with Decker, time to give Willis shot.

  • DougEngland

    I would like to just point out that at the top of Peter King’s fine 15 this week:
    (1) Houston
    (2) Atlanta
    Trust me, P-Money will get better, and hopefully the Broncos will make the playoffs and be hiitting their stride when it really matters.

  • Mike Tritz

    I like reading the posts her much more than the DP. It seems to me, the posters here have more class and are supportive of each other,as opposed to the constant backbiting and negativity so prevalent at the Post. I wonder why there seems to be such a marked difference? Anyway, keep up the good work, fellas and Go Broncos

  • Doom92

    Oh it happens here as well for sure but it is hands down a better realm of folks here. I for sure don’t agree with all the posts here but I do respect others a opinion here and there is a great group of writers and guys. Thanks for the complement Mike hope to see you around more often.

  • Bryandotcom

    I ain’t gonna lie..I was a bit freaked out about this team after the 1st Quarter in Atlanta. Since then, I feel good about them. We’ll be fine. We have a lot of football to play, albeit against some really good teams.

    Two things we MUST improve on fast:

    1: LB play. It sure would be nice to have DJ in there.

    2: Our WR’s need. to. catch. the. freaking. football!!! DT gets 3 catches on 12 targets. Dropped a TD against Atlanta. Decker..ugh..dude needs Stick’em or something on those mitts. If we could eliminate just half of our drops, we’d be sitting much better.

    Fox..I don’t about this establishing the run deal while you’re opponent is winging the ball down the field early and often. It seems that in this day and age you have to use the pass to setup the run game, which is backwards from years ago. Going pass first then run may also give us the opportunity to benefit from.a couple of PI calls instead of being on the receiving end of the bad calls.

    I still have alot of faith in this team tho. With our schedule however, this “sync’ing up with your teamates” thing needs to happen at a much faster rate than normal.

  • O-SEE

    is getting kuper back gnna keep scores like da first 3 off da board, or help decker/thomas create seperation and catch the ball …point is there are still huge concerns even with kuper back…..not to mention coaching. .most teams game plan for a premier pass rusher like watts…the fact there was no answer other than leavn watts 1on 1 with any of da oline should be a concern…kuper wudnt have faired that much better vs a guy like watts

  • O-SEE

    is gettn kuper back gnna keep scores like da first 3 off da board, or help decker/thomas create seperation and catch the ball …point is there are still huge concerns even with kuper back…..not to mention coaching. .most teams game plan for a premier pass rusher like watts…the fact there was no answer other than leavn watts 1on 1 with any of da oline should be a concern…kuper wudnt have faired that much better vs a guy like watts

  • (dee)

    I agree with T, it isnt the end of the world alot of good teams are 1-2, we just need to re-group and beat the Raiders.

  • MSUFan#1

    It’s funny that last year the receivers dropping balls was all Tebow’s fault, but now with Peyton throwing perfect spirals, they’re still struggling. What’s the differenc between Peyton’s 4th qtr comebacks and Tebow’s? Oh ya….. Tebow WON! Where’s the Bronco’s excitement and passion? Love Peyton, but it’s time to win!!!

  • Speer999

    That was a good read. Thanks for posting

  • Speer999

    If our team plays l33t in the 4th and are polar opposites in the 1st, it’s because we have a new team, new system, new quarterback, etc… It’s obvious to me why the games turned out the way it did. With that said, we don’t have much experience in the NFL as a team, and to go up against leet teams and only lose by 6 points, we too have a l33t team. These loses will make the team stronger, and its proving, once we figure out the system, that we are better than the texans and falcons and are a forced to be recogned with. Come play-off time, other teams and fans will be scared. The tough schedule is only make this team stronger. The raiders won’t stand a chance.

  • Speer999

    Oh yeah, DT needs to step it up and practice keeping his feet in bounds.

  • BroncosWin

    For sure… he needs to ride the bench to think about what he’s done… lmfao… He’s a grown man.

    Decker realizes the mistakes he made; there is no need to punish him. Especially when it’s a scientific and sociological fact that PUNISHMENT IS INEFFECTIVE AT CHANGING BEHAVIOR.

    What Decker needs is some confidence. He has lost it in the last couple weeks and you can see it in his eyes and his body language (when he slides like a QB for instance)
    This team desperately needs a win if for no other reason then giving the players some much needed confidence.

  • BroncosWin

    Nice post. I agree. Let’s get a win against the much hated faders and start pulling this thing together!

  • BroncosWin

    Remember his toe tapping corner of the endzone catch against Atlanta???

    When you are at full sprint/ full stride it’s a bit of a different story.

    Thomas is young and if any player can drag a second foot in an all out sprint it’s him…

    Maybe he lost track of where he was on the field?


  • BroncosWin


  • BroncosWin