The Denver Broncos lost a wild thriller on the road on Sunday against the Houston Texans. Despite shaking off some of their struggles, the Broncos had every opportunity late to win the game, but turnovers were the story for them and Russell Wilson.

Denver Broncos come out flat in first half vs. Texans

The Denver Broncos came out flat in the first half of Sunday’s AFC conference matchup against the Houston Texans while CJ Stroud carved up Denver’s defense. Penalties once again impacted Denver in crucial moments early on.

One of those penalties was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on inside linebacker Alex Singleton on fourth down after he and Stroud got into an altercation. Stroud ran his helmet and facemask into Singleton’s, leading to him pushing Stroud which drew the penalty flag.

Houston proceeded to punch it in for a touchdown several plays later, putting the Broncos into a deficit.

The Broncos’ offense punted on their first four possessions of the game while kicking a field goal on their fifth possession, which gave them their first points of the afternoon. One of Riley Dixon’s punt attempts was blocked by rookie pass rusher Will Anderson Jr., which gave the Texans great field position early on.

Stroud and the Texans’ offense capitalized on several explosive plays that pushed them deep into Denver territory, setting up three scoring drives on their six first-half possessions.

Russell Wilson and Denver’s passing attack struggled to get going due to pressure from Anderson Jr., who had several impact pressure plays in combination with the Texans’ front seven. Wilson was 5-of-10 passing for 44 yards in the first half.

The Texans marched into halftime with a 13-3 lead, accumulating over 259 yards of offense in the first half alone. Denver, on the other hand, went into halftime with 103 total yards of offense, including going 0-of-6 on third down.

Broncos unable to rally after three interception day by Russell Wilson

Denver’s offense didn’t get off to an ideal start to the second half after starting it off with possession, punting it two straight times to start. After Denver’s defense forced a Texans punt that put them near midfield, Russell Wilson dialed up a deep shot to Courtland Sutton down the left sideline for a 45-yard touchdown grab, trimming the deficit to 16-10.

With newfound momentum, the Broncos’ defense tightened up with Zach Allen and Ja’Quan McMillian getting back-to-back sacks on Stroud, leading to a Texans’ punt.

Unfortunately, on Denver’s first play, Russell Wilson threw an interception to Derek Stingley Jr, which gave the Texans the ball inside the red zone. Anderson Jr. tipped Wilson’s pass as it floated out to the flat, leading to the takeaway.

Houston took advantage and capitalized with a scoring drive to open up the start of the fourth quarter, extending their lead to 22-10 after Stroud found Nico Collins wide-open for an easy touchdown.

Collins torched the Broncos secondary all day long, hauling in nine catches for 191 yards and a touchdown.

Trailing 22-10, Wilson and the Broncos offense looked to make up ground. Wilson took a shot on a rushing attempt while he slid from Texans safety Jimmie Ward, leading to a 15-yard penalty. Two plays later, Wilson connected with Jerry Jeudy deep down the left sideline for a 45-yard gain and followed it up by calling his own number on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown to trim their deficit to 22-17.

Denver’s defense generated another punt by the Texans, but Wilson threw his second interception of the game as he attempted to connect with Sutton downfield. Stingley Jr. jumped and grabbed it for his second interception of the afternoon, giving the Texans possession of the ball once again.

P.J. Locke would come up big for the Broncos defense on the Texans ensuing possession, coming up with a big sack on 2nd down. Denver’s defense would hold up, forcing another Texans punt.

Russell Wilson shook off his last throw and struck a dart to Courtland Sutton down the middle of the field for a big gain that brought them past midfield. Coming out of the two-minute warning, with the Broncos offense facing a 4th and 1 and the game on the line, Javonte Williams powered himself through for a tough first down conversion.

For some reason, the Broncos’ time management in the final minute allowed nearly 35 seconds to roll off the clock. Facing a 4th and 2 and the game at stake with 30 seconds on the clock, Wilson picked up the first down inside the 10-yard line, forcing Denver to burn their final timeout with a 1st and goal opportunity.

Denver’s first two pass attempts were incomplete, leaving them facing a 3rd and goal with 16 seconds left. On third down, Wilson threw his third interception of the game, allowing the Texans to seal the victory.

The loss drops Denver to 6-6 and 3-5 in AFC conference play with five games remaining.