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Broncos Come Up Short vs the Commanders 35-33

Washington Commanders v Denver Broncos

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos looks on prior to a game against the Washington Commanders at Empower Field At Mile High on September 17, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)Photo: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The Broncos came up short vs the Commanders 35-33 to fall to 0-2. The recap and postgame interviews are below:

Denver won the coin toss and deferred to the 2nd half.

Sam Howell and the Commanders began their first drive of the afternoon from their own 25 yard line. Howell, showing a lot of poise, completed an impressive pass to Jahan Dotson for 18 yards and a screen pass to Brian Robinson for 21 yards, as the Commanders marched down the field quickly to the Broncos 25 yard line. For a moment, it seemed like a repeat of the start of last week's game where the Raiders drew first blood and set the tone for the game but Randy Gregory sacked Howell, forcing a field goal attempt. The Commanders missed the 49-yard attempt, giving the Broncos offense a huge opportunity to start their drive from their 39 yard line.

Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense didn't waste much time marching into Commanders territory as Javonte Williams, Marvin Mims and Wilson expertly ran the ball all the way down to the 5-yard line. Jaleel McLaughlin needed one carry to get the Broncos on the board where he ran in untouched to give Denver a 7-0 lead with 6:14 remaining in the 1st quarter.

Now in a hole, the Commanders offense went back to work and, once again, quickly moved into Broncos territory with the quick passing game. Once again, a big sack by the defense, this one coming from Nik Bonitto, helped stall the very promising drive. Washington settled for a 44-yard field goal from Joey Slye, closing the gap 7-3.

Now with their 2nd drive of the game, the Broncos got an early break with a roughing the pass penalty that put Denver at their own 40 yard line. Russell Wilson changed the play at the line and loaded up a beautiful deep pass to rookie Marvin Mims who beat the safety for a 60-yard touchdown, extending the Broncos lead 14-3! Russell Wilson finished the 1st quarter going 2-2 for 71 yards and a TD.

Commanders offense, now in an 11-point hole, were back on the field but this time the Broncos defense didn't allow them to have much breathing room as Jonathon Cooper sacked Sam Howell on 3rd down, forcing Washington to punt for the first time today.

Broncos offense, starting deep in their own territory for the first time today, began their drive at their 10 yard line. Once again, Marvin Mims showed off his speed and beat rookie Emmanuel Forbes down the sideline for a huge 54-yard reception, setting up the Broncos at the Washington 30 yard line. After a 4th down conversion, Russell Wilson found Brandon Johnson on a crossing route and he took it the rest of the way into the end zone for a 16 yard touchdown. Broncos lead now 21-3 with 9:01 remaining in the 2nd quarter.

After another 3-and-out from the Commanders offense, Marvin Mims returned a punt 45 yards to the Washington 40 yard line as the Broncos were looking to tack on more points before halftime. Unfortunately, as Russell Wilson was scrambling out to the left, he fumbled the ball as he was being tackled to the ground, setting up the Commanders at the Denver 49 yard line with 6:34 remaining in the first half.

The Commanders, with a shift in momentum, quickly moved the ball down the field with the quick passing game and a big reverse by Curtis Samuel. On 4th down, the Commanders went for it on the Denver 4 yard line and successfully converted a touchdown pass to Logan Thomas who took a huge shot from Kareem Jackson, who was ejected from the game. Brian Robinson converted a 2 point play, cutting the Broncos lead 21-11 with 1:47 remaining in the 2nd quarter.

A quick 3-and-out for the Broncos offense, gave the ball back to Washington with 1:20 remaining in the half. Howell found his TE Bates down the sideline for a 35 yard gain, setting up a 49 yard field goal for Joey Slye to bring the game within a score, Broncos still leading 21-14 at halftime.

The Broncos offense took the field to start the 2nd half and, once again, went 3-and-out after Russell Wilson was sacked on first down. After a 46 yard punt, the Commanders took over at their own 40 yard line. Sam Howell made quick work of the Broncos defense and eventually hit Terry McLaurin on a deep touchdown for 30 yards and tied the game at 21 a piece.

Russell Wilson, now in a tie game, takes the field and, on 3rd down and 10, Emmanuel Forbes picked him off and set up the Washington Commanders at the Broncos 44 yard line. With all the momentum, Washington started imposing their will on the ground with Brian Robinson. On 3rd and 3, Jonathon Cooper with a monster play as he strip sacked Howell and the fumbled ball was recovered for a 16 yard loss. Joey Slye missed the 59-yard field goal and the Broncos stole the momentum. The offense was able to string together a nice mix of run/pass but the drive stalled at the Commanders 13 yard line. Wil Lutz converted a 31 yard field goal to give the Broncos back the lead 24-21.

Unfortunately, that lead was short lived as Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson put Washington on their back, moving the ball 75 yards in 3:46 and punched in a 2 yard touchdown run to give the Commanders their first lead of the game 28-24.

Trailing by 4 with 13:25 remaining in the game, the Broncos offense took the field but couldn't get much going and punted the ball back quickly.

The Commanders, once again, made quick work of the reeling Broncos defense and strung together an 8-play 64 yard touchdown drive to give Washington a 35-24 lead with 7:11 remaining in the game.

With their backs against the wall and trailing by 11, Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense moved quickly down the field but their desperation drive stalled at the Washington 14 after Wilson was sacked. Wil Lutz converted a 32 yard field goal, bringing Denver within 8, 35-27.

The Broncos failed an onside kick attempt and, after a 3-and-out, the Denver offense got the ball back at their own 13 yard line with no timeouts and 48 seconds remaining in the game. After a couple of quick completions to Courtland Sutton, the Broncos had one last chance with 3 seconds remaining at the 50 yard line. Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary that was tipped by Sutton to Brandon Johnson and the Broncos pulled within 2 points. Courtland Sutton was interfered with on the 2-point conversion but no whistle so the Broncos lost to the Commanders 35-33.

The next broadcast will be on Sunday, September 24th starting at 7am MTN as the Broncos travel to Miami to face the Dolphins.

Below are postgame interviews with Sean Payton and Russell Wilson with Voice of the Broncos Dave Logan.

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