The Denver Broncos picked up their first preseason loss Saturday night at the hands of the Houston Texans as they countered with 11 unanswered points in the second half. Denver could have had the game wrapped up if it weren’t for two missed field goals — one each from Matt Prater and Mitch Ewald.
Peyton Manning and Emmanuel Sanders weren’t in-sync right away as Manning’s pass for Sanders was picked off by A.J. Bouye at Houston’s 42-yard line. The Texans would capitalize on that as Jonathan Grimes would cap off a 8-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Manning and Sanders would get on track later on in the quarter as Manning’s deep ball to the speedy wide-out was caught for a 67-yard touchdown — Sanders first touchdown in a Denver Broncos uniform. Denver ran a hurry-up, two-minute drill towards the end of the half as Manning would connect with Sanders yet again for a sweet, 29-yard touchdown pass which Sanders laid-out for in the end zone.
With the starters out in the second half, Broncos back-up quarterback Brock Osweiler struggled mightily. During his second series out on the field, Osweiler threw the ball deep right for Cody Latimer which was intercepted by Texans defensive back Eddie Pleasant. Osweiler would finish the game going 4-of-11, 43 yards and one interception.
It was all Houston in the second half as Randy Bullock drilled a 24-yard field goal in the third to bring Houston within seven. In the fourth quarter, Texans back-up quarterback Tom Savage drew up a 9-play, 74-yard drive — striking Ryan Griffin for a 31-yard touchdown. Houston would go for two as Savage hit Travis Labhart to convert the 2-point conversion, going up 18-17.
Despite the loss, Denver’s rushing attack was consistent all night as the team carried the ball 24 times, compiling 127 yards. Juwan Thompson led the way with four carries for 33 yards while Montee Ball made his return to the lineup, carrying it four times for 13 yards.
Wes Welker left the game and was diagnosed with a concussion. In case you missed it, Peyton Manning got into the face of Texans safety D.J. Swearinger and was called for a taunting penalty as he was flagged for 15-yards after the play.
Denver wraps up their fourth and final preseason game next Thursday as they hit the road and take on the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET, 6:00 PM MT.