The Denver Broncos came out moving the football, but after turning the ball over a few times and falling behind to the Washington Redskins the wheels came off for Denver offensively. From there it was all Washington as they shut down the Broncos offense and put up a few touchdowns of their own en route to a 27-11 victory over Denver.
Brock Osweiler and the Broncos received the ball first and immediately hit the ground running with C.J. Anderson taking the first two carried for just four total yards. On third and six, Osweiler hit Anderson for the checkdown who was stopped a yard short of the sticks.
Broncos Country got their first look at Kirk Cousins against the No Fly Zone, but not until after the Denver defense shut down the first down run for a short loss. Shaquil Barrett nailed Cousins on his first pass attempt where the ball landed incomplete. After a false start, Cousins fired a bullet that was on target, but Aqib Talib made a great play to break the pass up.
On first down, Demaryius Thomas ran a beautiful route for an easy throw and catch for Osweiler out to their own 40-yard line for a 24-yard reception. Two plays later, Thomas grabbed another 10-yard reception out past midfield.
After two more Anderson runs, Osweiler was faced with a third and five. His pass was errant as the pass rush closed in to keep the Broncos out of field goal range. Riley Dixon’s punt was perfect to pin the Redskins on their own one yard line.
The Redskins tried to run it out of the end zone, but were stuffed for a short loss. Cousins on his next throw was well overthrown, despite his wide receiver breaking free. Chris Harris Jr. was closing fast on that play. On third down, Cousins hit his tight end in the hands who dropped it.
A poor punt set the Broncos up just outside the Redskins 45-yard line. After two solid runs from Anderson, they faced a short third and two. Devontae Booker picked up the first down with a five-yard gain. Two plays later on third and two, Booker took it up the middle for another five-yard gain.
From the Redskins 21-yard line, Osweiler hit Anderson over the middle for a four-yard gain. Osweiler was flushed out and scrambled for a short gain. On third and four, Osweiler hit Booker in the flat who was stopped two yards short of the sticks.
Brandon McManus would boot the field goal to put Denver up 3-0 over Washington late in the first quarter.
Kapri Bibbs completely whiffed on a catch over the middle as he was wide open, keeping Cousins from that first completion. However, Jamison Crowder finally hauled one in on second down to set Cousins up with a third and four. The pressure was on, but Cousins escaped to run for the first down.
After a short run, Cousins picked on Marcus Rios deep down the field, but Rios made an incredible play on the ball to knock it loose.
The quarter came to an end with Kirk Cousins going 1/7 for a paltry six yards.
Broncos 3, Redskins.
The Broncos defense opened the second quarter shutting down the Redskins drive and forcing another punt.
After a five yard run, Anderson burst through the middle and bounced it outside at the second level for a 21-yard gain. Two plays later, Osweiler hit Andy Janovich out of the backfield. The catch and run would go for 17-yards to the Redskins 37-yard line.
Two plays later on third and nine, Osweiler overthrew Isaiah McKenzie to end the drive. McManus fake field goal punted instead where it was downed at the 10-yard line.
The Redskins offense gained nearly 20-yards on the first two plays of their next series. Cousins would hit Ryan Grant outside right in front of Talib for another first down for 14-yards. Cousins followed up with a 32-yard bullet to Grant for a huge gain into field goal range at the Broncos 28-yard line.
Samaje Perine accounted for the next eight yards on two plays, then Cousins went to Vernon Davis for the easy pitch and catch for 11-yards down to the Broncos 10-yard line for a first and goal opportunity.
A dime to Josh Doctson in the end zone should have been caught, but was dropped. On third and goal from the nine, Cousins was flushed out of the pocket and chased to the throwaway and a field goal attempt to tie the game up at 3.
Anderson wants that 1,000 yard season badly as he ripped off his second 21-yard gain to get the Broncos back out of the shadow of their own end zone.
Another big hole for C.J. Anderson, this time to the left side … he has two 21-yard runs today … 69 yards on 11 carries so far today. He is now 73 yards from 1,000.
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) December 24, 2017
After a short 5-yard pass to Janovich, Osweiler from an empty set escaped pressure to throw a catchable ball to tight end Austin Traylor who dropped it. On third down, Osweiler fumbled it away to the Redskins at the Denver 38.
Bibbs ran it up the gut for a 13-yard gain on first down for Washington. After another first down, Cousins could sniff the end zone. He overthrew Vernon Davis on first down who was fairly open having beaten linebacker Todd Davis easily on the route. On second down, Cousins his Crowder over the middle for the touchdown to give the Redskins the lead 10-3.
After the two minute warning, Osweiler hit Booker for a screen pass and took it for 21-yards to get Denver’s next drive going. Unfortunately, Osweiler couldn’t shake the turnover bug as he had his next pass intercepted after being hit as he threw the ball.
Von Miller forced a fumble on Cousins which was called a fumble at first, but then Ed Hochuli changed the call to an incomplete pass for some reason.
How fun. The refs called it a fumble on the field…then when the play was over they changed it to an incompletion. Awesome!
— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 24, 2017
A poor snap on third down resulted in a sack and a 12-yard loss for the Redskins to give the ball back to Denver with less than a minute to go in the half.
After an incompletion and a short pass to Anderson, Osweiler on third down hit Jordan Taylor over the middle down to the Redskins 30-yard line with 22 seconds left in the half.
Bennie Fowler was wide open and saw his pass go right through his hands near the end zone, then McKenzie catches the ball outside and instead of running out of bounds he turns it up inside for an 8-yard gain and the end of the half.
Redskins 10, Broncos 3.
The Redskins got their first second half drive going early with a Cousins to Crowder connection for a 17-yard gain against Bradley Roby who is getting worked by Crowder in this game.
On defense, the Broncos go a good run stop to force a third and six. Cousins would buy some time moving up in the pocket and faked the defense to rush forward then fired it to Grant who was wide open over the middle who would scamper down to the Broncos 21-yard line.
Two plays later, Cousins was faced with a third and nine. He would hit Brian Quick for a 10-yard gain and a first and goal opportunity. Cousins, however, would make a pretty bad throw into double coverage and intercepted by Will Parks in the end zone to kill the drive.
Garett Bolles came out of his stance unbalanced and was trucked by Ryan Kerrigan for a huge sack on Osweiler to setup a 2nd and 20 for Denver. A pass deflection would force Denver to keep it on the ground and punt it away.
Cousins, knowing covering running backs in the flat is a problem for Denver, hit Perine and Bibbs on consecutive throws to move them quickly across midfield. A 15-yard catch by Doctson moved the Redskins right back into field goal range.
Cousins went to Crowder on the next play for a 13-yard gain and right back into the red zone. From the Broncos 17, Cousins went to Niles Paul who was just overthrown at the end zone. After a solid run by Bibbs, Cousins facing a third and four went to Doctson who was well covered by Roby.
Dustin Hopkins kicked the field goal to put the Redskins up 13-3.
With momentum fully in the Redskins corner, Osweiler and the Broncos offense needed a first down badly to start their next drive and got it. From there, however, Donald Stephenson took over after Osweiler held the ball a bit too long.
On third and 18, Osweiler tossed it outside to rookie De’Angelo Henderson for an eight yard gain and fourth down to end the quarter.
Redskins 13, Broncos 3.
With the belief in being able to win the game fading, the Broncos defense got softer with each series. Cousins hit Doctson deep for a 48-yard touchdown pass and the game basically.
The Broncos, down 17, might as well have just run the ball with 12 minutes to go in the game as the likelihood they would come back from this was slim to none.
The tank is back on for the Denver Broncos.
Final score: Redskins 27, Broncos 11.