By Rich Kurtzman
Denver brought their physicality for a third straight game, running the ball all over the Buffalo Bills and their vaunted pass-rushing defense. C.J. Anderson ran wild again for two touchdowns to begin the Broncos scoring and Denver led 14-3 at halftime in the Mile High City. Anderson ran home a third score to start the second half after his fellow back Juwan Thompson broke off a big-time run. Following that score, both teams exchanged three turnovers as the defenses shined. The Broncos’ Connor Barth booted a 50-yard field goal just over the crossbar while Kyle Orton answered by leading Buffalo on an 80-yard drive and touchdown to bring the game to 24-10 Broncos in the fourth quarter. Then Orton did it again, leading another long drive which was finished with a touchdown, but after a failed onside kick the Broncos held on to win 24-17.
The offense was good but not great, disjointed in sustaining momentum. They went three-and-out on their first drive in part to a hold on Will Montgomery. They got it going on the next drive as Peyton Manning found Wes Welker up the seam for over 30 yards and nearly into the red zone. C.J. Anderson capped that drive with a powerful run and the 7-0 lead. Manning’s next pass became an interception on an under thrown ball which was returned deep but brought back to Buffalo’s 40 due to a hold. Anderson got it going again, running the ball with toughness up the middle for his second score of the day before halftime to push Denver’s lead to 14-3. But with the Broncos threatening to put another score on the board, Jacob Tamme fumbled at the Bills’ 10. The offense exploded to start the second half with Juwan Thompson busting a 47-yard run outside, and Anderson put it in the end zone. 21-3, Broncos. They couldn’t keep it going though as Manning threw a second interception of the game. Five penalties and three turnovers were each too many and Manning wasn’t even able to throw a touchdown results in the so-so grade.
Rookie Bradley Roby punched the ball out of fellow rookie Sammy Watkins’ hands on the Bills first drive and Rahim Moore recovered in Buffalo’s end of the field. Defense held on the second drive to force the Bills to go for it on 4th and 6 and Brandon Marshall broke up the pass for the turnover on downs. Again, the defense held on Buffalo’s third drive, with Dan Carpenter booting through a 44-yard field goal. Just before the break, Malik Jackson and Von Miller each sacked Kyle Orton and the Bills punted the ball back to Denver with two minutes left. In the second half, Brandon Marshall picked off Orton’s first pass. Then there was Chris Harris Jr. jumping in front of another pass by Orton for a second interception by the unit. They did allow Orton to march his team down the field for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to bring the contest to a one-score game, downgrading the performance.
Special Teams B
Brandon McManus booted the ball deep well almost every time through the end zone. Omar Bolden let the ball bounce off his leg and into the end zone on the first punt, a bone-headed play. The Broncos sent a punt block in the 2nd quarter which couldn’t get there but still put enough pressure on to create a shank. Connor Barth booted though – just barely – a 50-yard field goal nicely. Overall, it was a solid outing for special teams.
For the third straight week, Adam Gase worked to establish the run game, which worked well and was a smart strategy. Being able to run the rock makes the offense less predictable and gives the advantage to Manning. Sending a punt block was a good gamble and John Fox’s not challenging of a questionable catch by the Bills paid off as Harris picked off Orton on the next play.
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.