The Denver Broncos offense sputtered with inconsistency in an overtime loss on Thursday Night Football against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. What was attributed to Russell Wilson’s rough night, the defense’s hard-fought effort? Where does Denver go from here with injuries to key players?

Denver Broncos offense is missing in action on TNF

One area the Broncos offense needed to do better heading into this week’s game was moving the chains and avoiding being behind them. They were able to on their first drive. Denver’s first offensive drive saw them move the ball well, capping off a 10-play 49-yard drive with a 33-yard field goal from Brandon McManus.

Denver picked up three first downs on their first drive that included Russell Wilson scrambling for 18-yards on one play and Melvin Gordon catching a pass and running for 13-yards.

After forcing a three-and-out on their first defensive series, the Broncos defense buckled down after allowing an early 21-yard catch by Colts running back Deon Jackson. D.J. Jones roared through the a-gap and sacked Matt Ryan for a 6-yard loss. Denver took over possession after forcing the Colts to punt for their second consecutive drive.

Denver’s offense took over at their own 14-yard line but the excitement would be short-lived after Wilson was sacked on 3rd and 10, once again setting them backward and forcing Corliss Waitman to punt 50-yards for his second attempt on the evening.

The Broncos defense did its job once again, forcing the Colts to punt the football away. This time, the Denver offense would get the ball back on their own 13-yard line for their third offensive drive, but it resulted in the same outcome as the previous drive. On one play, Wilson went downfield to Jerry Jeudy, but it appeared there was a miscommunication on the depth of the route as it fell incomplete, leading to another punt.

Bradley Chubb would take matters into his own hands for the Broncos defensively on a key 3rd and long play for the Colts, screaming off the edge and sacking Matt Ryan, registering his 4th sack on the season and forcing the Colts to punt.

Denver went into the second quarter with a 3-0 lead needing to capitalize on the defense’s strong performance early on. McManus helped extend the Broncos lead to 6-0 after booting in a 44-yard attempt.

On that drive, the Broncos moved downfield with several chunk plays, grinding away at the Colts defense. However, a false start on Garett Bolles backed the Broncos up five yards to make it 1st and 15. Wilson took two shots downfield on the next two plays, but both attempts fell incomplete, forcing the Broncos to face a 3rd and 15. Welcome back, KJ Hamler, who caught a pass for six yards to give Denver a more manageable distance for McManus.

The Colts on their next offensive series found some momentum despite facing several long-field situations. Safety Caden Sterns, who is filling in for Justin Simmons who is on injured reserve, read a Colts route underneath intercepting Matt Ryan and giving Denver’s offense the ball back near midfield.

The same story from the rest of this season was copied and pasted. Penalties drops, and missed execution resulted in the Broncos punting once again after gaining only a few yards on 3rd and 15, unable to reward the defense for getting them the ball back.

After bending on the next drive, the Broncos defense didn’t break with Dre’Mont Jones and Josey Jewell combining for a sack on Ryan that dropped the Colts back 18-yards. On the very next play, Baron Browning came around the edge and sacked Ryan again, forcing the Colts offense to face a 3rd and 38.

The Colts would cut the Broncos deficit to 6-3 heading into halftime. Going into halftime, the Broncos offense had only 103 total yards of production. Could the Broncos offense come out in the second half as a different unit? That was the million-dollar question heading into the second half of play.

The story didn’t change for Denver to start the second half, having to punt once again after picking up 8-yards on 3rd and 17. Another punt and a loud chorus of boos echoed throughout Empower Field at Mile High.

Alex Singleton filled in at inside linebacker for the Broncos defense after Josey Jewell was ruled out with a knee injury to start the second half. The Colts offense tied things up with 8:51 remaining in the third quarter after kicking a 51-yard field goal.

The Broncos offense found a spark after Russell Wilson found Courtland Sutton downfield for 51 yards, but Denver’s offense would continue to trend backward after Colts defensive lineman DeForest Buckner came free on a sack. To make matters worse, the Broncos field goal attempt was blocked on the very next play.

Thursday Night Football, folks.

Caden Sterns would once again prove to be a hero for the Broncos on the evening, jumping another Matt Ryan pass for his second interception of the evening, giving Denver the ball back on the Colts 30-yard line. Denver once again couldn’t capitalize offensively, setting for another field goal attempt by McManus who put it through the uprights to extend the Broncos lead to 9-6 with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter.

Denver’s offense would get the ball back once again late in the 3rd quarter and would get some movement downfield after Mike Boone caught a screen pass and got downfield for a gain of 34 yards, taking the Broncos offense into the fourth quarter.

Offense was impossible for Denver on Thursday Night. Wilson attempted to throw downfield to KJ Hamler but overthrew him leading directly to an interception on a desperation heave. On the play, Wilson took a shot during the interception return and was checked inside of the blue medical tent for a possible concussion but was cleared to return.

The Broncos defense came up big once again as Bradley Chubb and Baron Browning combined for a sack on Ryan knocking the Colts offense out of field goal range and forcing them to punt.

Another offensive drive, another punt. Broncos fans became restless in the stands with boobirds echoing throughout the stadium, sharing their dismay about the offensive product.

Enter Mike Boone. The second-year Broncos running back would provide the Denver offense with a spark in the fourth quarter ripping off runs of 7 yards, 18 yards to push the Broncos into Colts territory.

More bad news Broncos. Left tackle Garett Bolles was carted off with an ankle injury and was taken back to the locker room and straight into the X-ray room according to NFL Network’s James Palmer.

Denver faced a 4th and 1 and converted on it. More bad news came as Wilson threw a direct interception to Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore allowing them to take over, ending the Broncos chance to ice the game.

It would be on the Broncos defense to try and win the game with the Colts past midfield with just 47 seconds remaining. The war on attrition set in as the Colts broke open several big plays to get to the Denver 14-yard line. Denver was able to stop the bleeding, forcing Ryan’s pass on third down to fall incomplete, resulting in Chase McLaughlin booting in a game-tying field goal to send things into overtime where the Colts received the ball first.

With attrition setting in, the Broncos defense allowed several plays that allowed the Colts offense to move downfield. Fortunately, Denver’s defense stopped Ryan one yard short of the first down marker and forced the Colts to kick a 48-yard field goal, extending their lead to 12-9.

Denver had one final shot in this game, needing a touchdown to win or a field goal to tie. On the Broncos first play from scrimmage, Melvin Gordon caught a screen pass and took it 24 yards downfield. The very next play, Wilson found Jerry Jeudy wide-open for a 37-yard reception that brought them to the Colts 14-yard line. Gordon would handle a series of run that brought Denver to the 5-yard line, facing a 4th and 1.

Nathaniel Hackett opted to go for it, but Wilson’s pass intended for Courtland Sutton in the endzone was broken up, falling incomplete and dropping the Broncos to 2-3 on the season.

Denver’s offense has a multitude of issues that have crippled them through five weeks and with injuries piling up to key players, the outlook appears very gloomy moving forward, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Broncos news and notes vs Colts

Broncos Gameday Inactives:
Safety P.J. Locke (concussion)
Wide receiver Jalen Virgil
Cornerback Darius Phillips (hamstring)
Running back Latavius Murray
Outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper (hamstring)
Offensive guard Quinn Meinerz (hamstring)
Outside linebacker Aaron Patrick (concussion)

Billy Turner active. This was a huge first step for the Broncos offensive line with Turner activated for his first game action of the season. However, he did not play. Cam Fleming got the start for the Broncos at right tackle against the Colts on Thursday Night Football.

Broncos injuries vs Colts.
Cornerback Ronald Darby (knee) came up limping late in the 2nd quarter did not return.
Linebacker Josey Jewell (knee) did not return after being injured late in the 2nd quarter.
Defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones (head) left action in the 4th quarter and was evaluated for a concussion but did return to the game.
Outside linebacker Baron Browning (wrist) left the game in the 4th quarter and did not return and is being evaluated further.