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Buffalo Blues: Turnovers doom Broncos in first loss of season

Henry Chisholm Avatar
September 24, 2017


After putting up Star Wars numbers against a Super Bowl contender last week, the Denver Broncos’ offense wanted more of the same Sunday in Buffalo. Instead, it got the 2016, meager rations version of offense.

Rather than playing it safe by leaning on the running backs and playing the field position game, Denver opted for an all-out air raid. The Broncos called twice as many passing plays (46) as they called running plays (23).

Buffalo won the contest 26-16, despite posting fewer rushing yards, passing yards and first downs than the Broncos. Two Siemian interceptions were enough to give Buffalo a two-score win. The Bills totaled only 197 yards through the air and 75 on the ground.

After trading early punts, Denver opened the scoring with a 12-play, 53-yard field goal drive, that featured just three designed running plays.

The Bills answered with a long drive of their own, which ended four minutes later with a two-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor to Andre Holmes.

C.J. Anderson broke free for a 32-yard gain with 11 minutes left in the first half. At the end of the play, Bills safety Micah Hyde was flagged for dragging Anderson to the ground out of bounds, setting Denver up at the Buffalo 25. A roughing the passer call picked up 13 yards and Jamaal Charles capped the series with a shifty 12-yard touchdown run to give the Broncos a 10-7 lead.

The Bills made two field goals and the Broncos made one in the last three minutes of the second quarter, sending the teams into halftime with a 13-13 stalemate.

The second half opened with a quick three-and-out for Buffalo that set Denver up for the first possession of the third quarter at their own 41. Siemian drove the offense down to the 10-yard line, leaving a 28-yard chip shot for kicker Brandon McManus. The Broncos led 16-13.

Buffalo bounced back quickly with a four-play touchdown drive. First, Taylor found Nick O’Leary deep for 31 yards. A play later Taylor hit Jordan Matthews 25 yards downfield at Denver’s six-yard line. Taylor capped the drive with a 6-yard strike to Charles Clay, and the Bills led 20-16.

Trevor Siemian threw his first interception of the game, during the next drive, to E.J. Gaines, who returned the ball to Denver’s 32-yard line. A holding call on Richie Incognito sent the Bills back 10 yards and a Shelby Harris sack on third down forced a punt.

The most controversial play call of the game came at the end of the third quarter. After Siemian found Emmanuel Sanders for a three-yard gain on third-and-five, the Broncos lined up to punt from their own 21. The snap went to De’Angelo Henderson who was unable to pick up the first down.

The Bills managed a field goal despite losing three yards on the next series. With 14 minutes remaining in the game the Bills led 23-16.

Trevor Siemian orchestrated another solid drive, leading the offense 38 yards to Buffalo’s 24-yard line, before throwing his second interception of the game.

The Bills ran over seven minutes off the clock with a 16-play 53-yard field goal drive that used up all three of Denver’s timeouts. Buffalo converted five third downs on the drive.

The Broncos took over at their own 22 with three minutes on the clock and down 10 points. At the two minute warning, Denver held the ball at midfield with a third-and-four looming. Two incomplete passes to Emmanuel Sanders later, Buffalo took over and iced the game.


In addition to his late interception, Tre’Davious White also broke up four passes and made seven tackles. The rookie had a breakout game and slowed down one of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Without White, who knows what would have happened in Buffalo on Sunday.


The Broncos were down seven and driving in Bills territory with 10 minutes left in the game when Tre’Davious White picked off an underthrown pass to Bennie Fowler on the sideline. Buffalo drove 53 yards in over seven minutes to ice the game with a 27-yard field goal.


“The whole world is so sensitive it makes me want to throw up.”

-Derek Wolfe on a crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Von Miller in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game`


272 – Total yards for Buffalo, who ran for 75 and threw for 197

77% – Tyrod Taylor’s completion percentage

-2 – Denver’s turnover differential


Sunday’s loss was a reality check for a Broncos squad that looked virtually unbeatable in the first two weeks of the season. Denver came back to Earth and doomed themselves with turnovers. Luckily, there are at least 13 games left this season and the Broncos have the tools to compete with any team in the league, if they can polish themselves like they did last Sunday.

The Chiefs play the Chargers and the Raiders play the Redskins, Sunday. Kansas City and Oakland sit atop the division with two wins and no losses, with Denver falling behind with a 2-1 record.


Oakland Raiders, 2:25 p.m. MST, Sunday, October 1; CBS

The Broncos will return to Mile High Stadium, next weekend, where they’ve been dominant this season. The Raiders should provide the toughest test of 2017 so far, in what will be a huge AFC West matchup.

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