Once again, the Broncos looked to be in the drivers seat for much of the first half, just to discover that they were being left behind in the rearview mirror by their opponent while at home as Houston won this contest 13-6.
In the first quarter, the Denver defense looked the complete world championship caliber part as they held Houston without any first downs and were on the receiving end of three Anthony Sloan interceptions. The Denver defense seemed to be everywhere at once to the struggling and shellshocked visiting Texans as everything that could have possibly gone wrong for Houston did.
But, on the other side of the ball Denver proved why they have so much more to work on this week. Despite holding Houston to a usually easily surmounted 13 points for the game, the offense has little to be excited about as all of their first downs - 9 - came via pass plays, and many of those were caught short of the first down marker and required some more post-catch heroics by the receiving players. In addition, despite their 4 first half turnovers all they could muster offensively was a paltry two converted field goals and were down 7-6 at the half after Sloan and company began to find their rhythm through the air with a 15 yard touchdown pass from Sloan to Kenneth King near the end of the first half.
Despite their lack of scoring in this matchup, the fans in Denver can find some offensive side hope in the easy pocket presence of starting quarterback Matt Johnson. In addition, young Denver running back Louis Havens, despite his lackluster final numbers, looked to create some excitement and had a couple decent pickups before being removed at the halftime break. He is obviously young and will take some time to develop. No doubt the Denver coaching staff would like to ease Havens gently into his role as the primary load bearer for the Denver running game but depth at the position is poor for the Broncos and find themselves pressured into moving Havens into the full time position very early in his career.
Houston proved that slow and steady can win the race as they overcame 4 first half turnovers and a swarming Denver defense to stifle the Broncos offense and slowly build a lead to rest upon throughout the fourth quarter. A couple of Houston field goals in the second half were enough to put the game out of reach for Denver. Houston showed some solid pressure along the defensive line and a well spaced defensive backfield, though individually not particularly impressive.
The Denver coaching staff will need to find a cohesive means to move the football much better than their first half showings have demonstrated thus far. If they do not do so, the defense will slowly be picked apart by opposing teams and Denver will find themselves near the bottom of their division. Thereâ€™s still time to get it all figured out and, as Denver fans will repeat to themselves often this week, it was only a preseason game, after all.
Last edited at 9/30/2014 7:29 am