Saturday, September 22, 2018
Sports

Broncos 25, Saints 23

National Football Conference
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AtlantaDallasChicagoArizona
CarolinaN.Y. GiantsGreen BaySan Francisco
New OrleansPhiladelphiaMinnesotaSeattle
Tampa BayWashingtonDetroitSt. Louis


American Football Conference
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TennesseeBuffaloBaltimoreDenver
TexansN.Y. JetsPittsburghSan Diego
ColtsNew EnglandCincinnatiKansas City
JacksonvilleMiamiClevelandOakland


NEW ORLEANS — Justin Simmons' perfectly timed leap over Saints long snapper Justin Drescher brought the celebration inside the Superdome to a stunning halt and sent the Broncos galloping the other way for a first-of-its kind victory.

Just like Denver drew it up.

Will Parks scooped Simmons' block of Wil Lutz's extra point and ran 84 yards for a defensive two-point conversion that lifted Denver to a wild 25-23 victory over the Saints on Sunday.

Simmons said Denver calls the play "Leaper" and was "something we worked on all week."

"It took me a few tries to actually time it up and make sure I could clear the center" in practice, Simmons said. "We just picked up on their tendencies throughout the week watching film and executed the play."

The decisive play came while the Superdome crowd was still buzzing about Brandin Cooks' twisting, 32-yard touchdown catch between two defenders, which had put New Orleans in position to take the lead with 1:28 left. Simmons' block was scooped by Parks, who nearly stepped out of bounds as he raced down the left sideline.

"I'm still in disbelief a little bit. Especially when you score at the end," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "It's tough to play a game like that on both sides of the ball, fighting the way that we all did, and then for it to come down to something like that."

It was the first such play to provide the winning points in an NFL game and the third return for two points since the NFL began allowing defensive scores on such plays in 2015.

"We've always had that play in our arsenal," Simmons said. "You put it in the back of your pocket for a situation like this to go win the game."

New Orleans wasn't entirely unprepared. Drescher said the Saints have a pre-snap "Jumper" call that linemen are supposed to make when an opposing team's alignment tips off such a play.

"It's an awareness factor," Drescher said. "We've gone over this before and it's on me. It's my responsibility to get up and get him and I didn't do it, and I feel horrible. It's a horrible way to lose the game."

The Broncos made the play stand up by recovering an onside kick and running out the clock.

The Broncos' league-leading pass defense got the best of its matchup with New Orleans' top-rated passing offense thanks in large part to turnovers.

Safety Darian Stewart intercepted Brees twice and recovered a fumble for the Broncos. Three of Denver's four takeaways came on passes intended for Saints rookie sensation Michael Thomas. Thomas fumbled twice after catches, and one of Stewart's interceptions came on a pass Bradley Roby deflected out of Thomas' grasp.

Brees still wound up completing 21 of 29 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns, the first two going to Willie Snead.

Brees final TD pass capped a six-play, 75-yard drive that began with 2:50 left and no timeouts.

Denver's Trevor Siemian overcame two interceptions by throwing touchdowns of 14 yards to Jordan Taylor and 2 yards to Demaryius Thomas.

25

23

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