DENVER (AP) – Justin Simmons and Denver’s defense held firm after a fumble gave Washington the ball back, and the Broncos blocked two field goals on their way to a 17-10 win Sunday that stopped a four-game slide.

Melvin Gordon III caught a touchdown pass and ran for the go-ahead score from 7 yards out with 4:27 remaining. He also fumbled with 21 seconds to go, giving Washington the ball at the Denver 24-yard line.

The defense forced Taylor Heinicke to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone on the last play of the game.

Malik Reed of the Denver Broncos sacks Taylor Heinicke of the Washington Football Team in the fourth quarter at Empower Field At Mile High on Oct. 31, 2021.

Malik Reed of the Denver Broncos sacks Taylor Heinicke of the Washington Football Team in the fourth quarter at Empower Field At Mile High on Oct. 31, 2021. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)

It looked as if the game was over when Simmons picked off a desperation Heinicke pass in the end zone with around 37 seconds left. It was Simmons’ second interception of the game.

But Gordon’s fumble gave Washington one more chance.

“They stepped it up and got it done,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said.

The last defensive stand prevented the first winless October for the Broncos (4-4) since 1967.

Dre’Mont Jones and Shelby Harris each blocked a field-goal attempt from Chris Blewitt. Jones got his hand on a 47-yard try in the fourth, and Harris batted down a 45-yarder from Blewitt in the second.

For large chunks of time, it was almost a game of who didn’t want to win — with plenty of missed opportunities, field goals and mistakes. Washington (2-6) failed to convert on a fourth down early in the game, had Bobby McCain drop an interception in his hands and allowed five sacks to a defense missing Von Miller.

Brandon McManus missed a 53-yard field goal for Denver with 10:57 remaining. He was 13 of 13 before pushing his attempt just right.

Gordon energized a sparse crowd on a 15-yard TD catch from Teddy Bridgewater just before halftime. There were an announced 11,755 no-shows on a cool day in the Mile High City. That despite tickets being available for as low as $25.

Washington tied it at 10 late in the third on Heinicke’s 20-yard touchdown throw to DeAndre Carter. It was Washington’s fourth straight loss.

The biggest cheer of the afternoon was for Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning, who was inducted into the team’s Ring of Fame at halftime. Manning even removed his orange jacket and put on his No. 18 jersey one last time. He lofted a perfect 30-yard-ish strike to receiver Brandon Stokley in the end zone.

Miller was sidelined by an ankle injury. The team’s career sacks leader walked the sideline in a jacket.

Bridgewater was helped by the return of receiver Jerry Jeudy (ankle) and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (hamstring). Jeudy had four catches for 39 yards, including a big grab on the go-ahead drive.

RING OF FAME

Manning had his Ring of Fame pillar unveiled in a pregame ceremony in front of fans outside the stadium. At halftime, there was a ceremony to honor his inclusion into the team’s Ring of Fame.

Peyton Manning is inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame on October 31, 2021.

Peyton Manning is inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame on October 31, 2021. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

He signed off on the authenticity of his new bronze bust — right down to the detail of his forehead.

“The forehead is always the key thing. You want to you want it to be accurate, right?” cracked Manning. “So there’s a lot of space there.”

INJURIES

Broncos: CB Bryce Callahan was helped off the field after hurting his left leg in the fourth quarter. His leg appeared to catch in the turf. … LT Garett Bolles walked off in the fourth favoring his left leg.

UP NEXT

Broncos: At Dallas next Sunday.

By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer

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