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Broncos dominate Redskins, earn first win of preseason

Henry Chisholm Avatar
August 25, 2018

The Broncos took another step forward on Friday.

Case Keenum led a potent starting offense that scored 17 points in five possessions and the Broncos’ defense held Washington to just 120 passing yards. The Broncos had a 14-point lead before halftime and never looked back.

Denver beat the Washington Redskins 29-17 at FedEx Field on Friday night. Washington made a late run, scoring 14 points in the last 10 minutes, but Denver’s starters were too dominant early on to allow a comeback. It was the Broncos’ third of four preseason games—and their first win—with their final test coming in Arizona on Thursday.

The Redskins, led by former-Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, received the opening kickoff but couldn’t get anything going against the Broncos’ defense, gaining just two yards before punting the ball away.

Keenum’s offense responded with an 11-play, 52-yard field goal drive that featured an 18-yard pass to Phillip Lindsay, who received extensive work with the starters as a third-down back. Lindsay carried the ball more with the reserves and finished the night as the Broncos’ most efficient back with 31 yards on five carries.

Adrian Peterson carried the ball seven straight times on the next drive as the Redskins made it into field goal range but tried—and failed—to pick up a 4th-and-3. In his first game with Washington, Peterson impressed with 56 yards on 11 carries, most of which game against stacked boxes.

Second-year safety Dymonte Thomas received playing time with ones as a dime linebacker, with Su’a Cravens and Will Parks sitting out with injuries. He played very well, posting five tackles and a pass defended. He blanketed opposing tight ends and stopped Vernon Davis at the yard-to-gain marker with a solo tackle to force a turnover on downs.

The Broncos extended their lead to 10-0 at the end of the first quarter on a 24-yard touchdown run from Royce Freeman. Courtland Sutton kicked the series off with a catch on a back-shoulder pass 27 yards downfield over cornerback Josh Norman.

Denver scored once more in the first half with a 27-yard run from Emmanuel Sanders. Case Keenum finished his night with 148 passing yards on 12 of 18 passing.

Chad Kelly took over Keenum in the second half and scored field goals on each of his three drives, extending the lead to 26-3. He didn’t shine like he did in his first two starts, but he completed seven of 11 passes for 70 yards.

Paxton Lynch closed the game out with a 15-play, 76-yard field goal drive and sat on the ball in his second series to seal the win. He completed three of seven passes for 39 yards.

For the second straight week, the Broncos’ reserve defense was outplayed by the opposition. In their last two drives, the Redskins moved the ball 153 yards on 15 plays and scored two touchdowns, only eating 5:03 off the clock.

De’Angelo Henderson was the Broncos’ leading rusher with 35 yards on seven carries and seventh-round pick David Williams caught three passes for 46 yards out of the backfield.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Emmanuel Sanders’ outstanding training camp performance is finally translating to preseason success.

Sanders was Keenum’s favorite target again on Friday, and he was targeted twice as much as any other receiver. The 31-year-old receiver caught four passes for 61 yards and carried a reverse 27 yards for a touchdown. On one drive, Sanders accounted for 75 yards from scrimmage.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Royce Freeman broke free again on Friday night for a 24-yard touchdown.

The offensive line cleared a hole for the Broncos’ fourth-round pick to run through, then Freeman bounced off of three different tacklers on his way to the end zone. The 22-year-old running back now has a touchdown in each of Denver’s three preseason games.

QUOTE OF THE GAME

“I think Emmanuel and D.T., they’re very excited to have Case as their quarterback.” – Vance Joseph

BY THE NUMBERS

0 – Total turnovers in the game

5 – Field goals converted by Brandon McManus

9 –Redskins’third-down conversion percentage

12 – Quarterback hits by the Broncos

WHAT’S NEXT

The Broncos travel to Arizona on Thursday for an 8:00 kickoff on NFL Network.

They should get their first look at quarterback Josh Rosen and wide receiver Christian Kirk, who were both potential draft targets for the Broncos this year. Don’t expect the starters to see the field as the Broncos close out the preseason.

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