Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Broncos cruise past Texans

DENVER — The Denver Broncos ruined Brock Osweiler's homecoming Monday night, incessantly hurrying, hitting and harassing their former teammate in a 27-9 win over his Houston Texans.

Coach Gary Kubiak returned to the sideline following his second health scare in three years, and he had to like what he saw as the Broncos (5-2) snapped a two-game skid in sending the overwhelmed Texans home at 4-3.

C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker energized Denver's sputtering ground game, both running for a touchdown. Anderson gained 107 yards on 16 carries and Booker had 83 on 17 hand-offs.

But the big story was Trevor Siemian, Peyton Manning's surprise successor, outplaying Osweiler, who was groomed to be Denver's next QB but instead bolted to Houston in free agency.

Osweiler left for bigger numbers in Texas — both in his bank account and his stat sheet — but he spent this night quickly getting rid of the ball, constantly overthrowing DeAndre Hopkins in double coverage and otherwise running for his life from Von Miller & Co.

Although he avoided sacks, Osweiler was just 22 for 41 for 131 yards with no TDs and no interceptions. Siemian was 14 of 25 for 157 yards, a TD and no interceptions.

Osweiler's fumble at his own 25-yard line was scooped up by Chris Harris Jr. on the first play of the fourth quarter. That led to Brandon McManus' chip-shot field goal that made it 24-9 and snuffed out Houston's hopes of a comeback.

Anderson scored on a 7-yard run and Siemian hit Demaryius Thomas from 4 yards out as the Broncos took a 14-6 halftime lead.

Osweiler took a couple of big shots from safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward in the first quarter but the Texans led 6-0 on a pair of 43-yard field goals by Nick Novak.

Novak's 29-yarder made it 14-9, but Stewart punched the ball from running back Alfred Blue's grasp and linebacker Todd Davis plucked it out of the air. That led to Booker's 1-yard TD run.

Kubiak missed Denver's last game when doctors ordered him to take a week off after he was transported via ambulance to the hospital following Denver's last home game, on Oct. 9, with a complex migraine condition, which can mimic a stroke. Kubiak had a mini-stroke in 2013 while coaching the Texans.

Like Osweiler, this was his first game against his former team.

STREAK BREAKER: Denver's dazzling defense is a real dawdler , having allowed scores on five of six opening drives coming into the game. That didn't stop them from deferring when they won the toss. The Texans went three and out on their first two possessions, the first time all season the Broncos hadn't allowed points on their first two defensive series.

OH NO, OKUNG: Broncos left tackle Russell Okung cleared concussion protocol to make the start. But he was rusty a week after his pair of penalties resulted in a nullified touchdown and a safety in a 21-13 loss at San Diego. This time, he was whistled for a pair of holds that negated a nifty first-down run by Booker and a 28-yard grab by Thomas.

INJURIES : Texans right tackle Derek Newton was carted off the field with what looked like serious injuries to both knees in the first half. He crumpled to the grass while blocking Miller. Newton was dropping back to pass block midway through the first quarter when his left knee buckled first and then his right knee gave way. For Denver, linebackers Brandon Marshall (leg) and Dekoda Watson (head) left in the second half.

RING OF FAME : The Broncos honored former safety John Lynch, linebacker Simon Fletcher and kicker Jason Elam by inducting them into their Ring of Fame during halftime ceremonies. Lynch, who played in Denver from 2004-07 after 11 seasons in Tampa Bay, will be inducted into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor next month.

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