Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles offense dissected the Denver Broncos’ defense in the first half of their matchup at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. The second-year quarterback passed for 177 yards and three touchdowns in the half, scoring on five of seven first-half drives to give the Eagles a 31-9 lead at the intermission.

Turnovers and penalties again proved to be Denver’s undoing. Brock Osweiler, making his first start for the Broncos since 2015, threw an interception deep in his own territory and Denver amassed nine penalties in the half for 70 yards.

Denver jumped out to an early lead – the only real positive in the half – but it would not last.

After winning the coin toss and electing to take the ball, Osweiler connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 14-yard first down on the first play of the game. Denver then had to burn a timeout with too many men on the field ahead of the very next play. A defensive holding converted another first down and Denver had the ball into Philadelphia territory. Cody Latimer climbed the ladder on Patrick Robinson for a nice 19-yard reception two plays later to get the Denver offense into field goal range, but a holding penalty on Garett Bolles backed them up 10 yards. Osweiler nearly gave up a pick-six on the very next play, targeting Emmanuel Sanders who was playing for the first time in three weeks, but the ball went in and out of Robinson’s hands along the sideline. Brandon McManus was true from 52 yards and the Broncos had their first lead in a game since Week 4 against Oakland. It was McManus’ longest field goal on the season to date.

Wentz went right to work attacking the Broncos’ defense, converting a third-and-nine to tight end Trey Burton on a 14-yard pickup. He followed that with a nine-yard pickup to tight end Brent Celek before a Shane Ray neutral zone infraction pushed the ball into Denver territory with a fresh set of downs. Denver flushed Wentz into an incompletion on third-and-one after stopping LeGarrette Blount on a pair of runs, but a defensive holding on Aqib Talib gave Philadelphia new life. Wentz went after Talib on the very next play, floating a ball over the All-Pro to Alshon Jeffery for a 32-yard catch and run to the end zone. Jake Elliott made it a 7-3 game with the point after.

An illegal block in the back on a return to the 17-yard line on the ensuing kickoff backed up Denver to their own eight. It was already Denver’s fourth penalty of the quarter, although Philadelphia returned the favor with a neutral zone infraction on the first play from scrimmage after the kick. C.J. Anderson was shaken up on the replay of first down, taking a huge hit in the backfield after Vinny Curry blew up Bolles. Brandon Graham got to Jamaal Charles in the backfield on the very next play and Denver was suddenly looking at third-and-eight. Bolles again drew a false start penalty to back Denver all the way up to their 5-yard line. A screen to Charles as Osweiler was hit in the end zone set up a Riley Dixon punt from his own end zone.

Wentz took over at his own 44-yard line after a 48-yard punt. Talib remained the focus on the first play of the drive, as Wentz connected with Torrey Smith along the sideline for a first down along the near sideline. Wentz hit Celek with linebacker Brandon Marshall in coverage for a 15-yard gain on the next play. Philadelphia went for the jugular on the next play, targeting Burton in the end zone, but Wentz overthrew his man. The Denver defense bowed its back from there, holding Blount to a three-yard gain on second down and forcing an incompletion on third-and-seven. Elliott connected from 45 yards to give the Eagles a 10-3 lead with 1:58 remaining in the quarter.

The tide continued to go Philadelphia’s way on the ensuing drive. Robinson, who had been creeping on Osweiler’s passes throughout the quarter, predicted a Thomas route perfectly and picked off Osweiler with a 17-yard return to the Broncos’ 15-yard line.

Wentz looked to the end zone again on first down, but his pass was too strong for Burton. Corey Clement found it on the very next play, though, when the running back took a screen pass through the middle of the Denver defense to extend the Philadelphia lead, 17-3.

Devontae Booker picked up 25 yards on a nice run to start the drive. A six-yard run by Anderson after the quarter change was negated by a Ronald Leary holding penalty. Osweiler was nearly intercepted a second time, throwing into triple coverage on third-and-12, and Denver was again forced to punt.

Momentum started to turn Denver’s way after the defense forced their first stop of the game, getting a three-and-out on the ensuing possession. McKenzie ran for Denver’s biggest punt return of the season with a 44-yard effort to give the Broncos the ball back at the Eagles’ 43-yard line.

Osweiler connected with Thomas for an eight-yard gain on second down. Sanders was unable to maintain possession on a pass that would have converted on third-and-two, however, and the Broncos were forced to try another field goal. It appeared that Sanders took two steps with possession before fumbling the ball out of bounds, but head coach Vance Joseph elected not to challenge the play. McManus, who struggled early in the season, was good from 53 yards to cut slightly into the Philadelphia lead.

Denver again forced the Eagles into a third-and-long situation on the very next drive, but Shane Ray was flagged for a neutral zone infraction. Bradley Roby was then flagged for defensive holding on the next play, but a 14-yard completion to Jeffery negated the need to take another free set of downs. Celek made his third catch of the day, galloping 15 yards for a first down into Denver territory. On the ensuing play, Denver was flagged for a pair of penalties; Philadelphia accepted a roughing the passer penalty on Zach Kerr, but declined an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Darian Stewart. Wentz went right for the end zone on the very next play, hitting the tight end Burton at the near pylon with Brandon Marshall in coverage for a 27-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 24-6. The pass was Wentz’s 22nd touchdown on the season.

Osweiler and the offense finally got something going on the next drive. He connected with Thomas for a pair of 10-yard completions, and later a 30-yard bomb downfield to Sanders into Eagles territory. Thomas converted a crucial third-and-six after Osweiler was flushed from the pocket to give Denver their first goal-to-go opportunity of the game. It was also Denver’s first third-down conversion of the game. A pair of runs by Anderson resulted in only minus-one total yards, though, and Osweiler was forced to throw on third down. He missed Latimer in the end zone and Denver again had to settle for a field goal.

Wentz and the Eagles offense went to work again as the 2:00 warning approached, drawing yet another penalty on Denver when Von Miller jumped offside. It was officially Denver’s ninth penalty to that point in the game. Philadelphia then put the ball on the ground with their new running back, Jay Ajayi, who went for 14 yards then broke a 46-yard run that resulted in the former Dolphin diving over the near pylon for the Eagles’ fourth touchdown of the half.

Denver went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, including a sack of Osweiler on second down. Philadelphia picked up 23 yards on their final drive, but could not get into Elliott’s field goal range and took a 31-9 lead into the locker room.

Philadelphia’s 31 points in the first half were more points than the Broncos had surrendered in any full game through their first seven.

Here’s how the first half played out on social media, with commentary from the MHS team and some of our favorite follows…