The AFC West-leading Denver Broncos traveled to Buffalo to take on the (1-1) Bills. The Broncos came into this matchup following a convincing win over the Dallas Cowboys and marking their fifth straight season starting (2-0). Coming off of their first loss of the season the Bills fell in an offensive struggle with the Carolina Panthers. Putting points on the board coming into this matchup has been troublesome thus far for the Bills, though not for a lack of trying as the Bills are a top-ten team in rushing in the early part of this season.
Defense in this matchup was not hard to come by as both the Broncos and the Bills represent two of the top four teams in yards allowed per game in the NFL with the Bills second and the Broncos fourth. The early going stuck to the status quo for these two teams as they traded punts back and forth starting with a three and out for the Broncos on the first possession of the game. The longest strike in the early going was a precision pass dropped perfectly into the hands of Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders running up the sideline for a 29-yard completion from Trevor Siemian. Any momentum the Broncos gained on the long pass was instantly taken away by Micah Hyde who came up with a big stop on third down to force a Bronco punt.
The first score of the game would come by the leg of Brandon McManus of the Broncos. The 38-yard field goal at the closing minute of the first quarter gave Denver a 3-0 lead. The 12-play 53-yard scoring drive was made responsible due to a costly Bills penalty on third down pushing the Broncos down into field goal position.
Just looking at the numbers it was easy to see how dominant the defense was early on as the Bills ended the first quarter with 10-yards total of offense while the Broncos managed 6 first downs. The second quarter would be a different story for the Bills offense as it immediately came alive. On the first play for the Bills, Tyrod Talyor connected with receiver Jordan Matthews for a 28-yard gain. Big plays come in bunches and that was the case for the Bills as Kaelin Clay hauled in a 28-yard reception of his own to match the Bills down into Denver territory. The Bills would punch in their first score of the game with a 2-yard deflecting off Zay Jones into the hands of Andre Holmes. The Bills would lead 7-3 over Denver.
The Broncos offense would waste no time in answering the Bills as they showed that they can make a big play as well. C.J. Anderson broke free through the Bills line for a 32-yard gain. The big run would set up a Jamal Charles 12-yard run of his one for the Broncos touchdown making it a 10-7 lead for the Broncos.
Thanks in large part to a successful challenge by Bills head coach Sean McDermott the Bills offense set themselves up for another scoring opportunity. Gaining possession with good field position Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka was able to fire in a 48-yard field goal to tie things up for the Bills at 10-10 late in the second quarter.
Trading scores going into halftime the Broncos initially tacked on a 35-yard McManus field goal. Answering back in the final seconds before half, kicker Stephen Hauschka added a 55-yard field goal of his own to tie things up at 13-13. The Bills added over 150-yards of offense and 13-points in the second quarter.
The back and forth blows would continue following the half as both offenses came out of the gates with new life. On their first drive of the second half, the Broncos would add on with their third field goal of the day as McManus would connect from 28-yards out to give them the lead momentarily. It was the Bills offense that showed the top-ranked Denver defense they came out of the half ready to play. A key reception on the sideline by tight-end Nick O’Leary for 31-yards would put the Bills in Broncos territory only to be followed by a Matthews 25-yard catch of his own. The Bills would finish off their first drive of the second in the end zone as Taylor would connect with Charles Clay for the 6-yard score as he stood wide open in the end zone. The Bills would go up 20-16 midway through the third.
The Bills defense showing why they are one of the best in the league forced the Broncos offense into mistakes. An interception by E.J. Gaines started the defensive action for the Bills. Only to be outdone the Buffalo defense stopped a fake punt attempt deep in Denver territory forcing a turnover on downs. The defense would lead to another Buffalo field goal as this time Hauschka would connect from 53-yards adding to the Buffalo lead.
Looking to close out any attempt at a Broncos comeback, rookie Tre’Davious White picked up a crucial interception of Siemian for his first career interception. The Bills would turn the turnover into points as they took advantage of the turnover adding to their lead with another field goal.
The Bills would hold on to beat the Broncos 26-16. The Bills moves to (2-1) on the season. With the loss the Broncos fall to (2-1).
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