Originally written on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 9/23/12

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Early on, it looked the Denver Broncos—especially their defense—were going to have a great game on Sunday.  On Houston’s first offensive play, Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub was sacked in his own endzone by Broncos’ defensive end Elvis Dumervil, giving the Broncos an early two-point advantage.

It was Dumervil’s 53 and 1/2th sack of his career and set the Broncos up with the ball and momentum early in the game (after the offense has originally stalled and punted on their first possession, pinning Houston deep and setting up the ensuing safety).  Quarterback Peyton Manning led the Broncos down the field but the drive ended with a Matt Prater field goal, foreshadowing the kind of afternoon the Broncos’ offense would have.

Unable to finish drives effectively, Prater kicked three field goals in the first half and as a result, the Broncos scored four times and only had eleven points on the scoreboard to show for it.  Meanwhile, Houston’s Schaub was having a good day, leading the Texans to a 21-11 halftime lead after tossing three touchdown passes.

After the half, Denver’s defense stiffened, allowing just two scores and forcing several three-and-outs late in the game.  The Broncos offense rallied and Manning threw two touchdown passes—including his nineteenth career touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley, a 38-yard pass in the fourth quarter—but ultimately Denver was unable to match Houston’s four touchdowns and fell 31-25 after failing to score as the game clock expired on a last ditch lateral-heavy effort.

Although in a losing effort, Manning did throw for 330 yards, which marked his 64th career 300-yard game.  Manning now holds the record for most 300-yard games by a quarterback in NFL history, after passing Dan Marino (63) on Sunday.

The Broncos will return home to face the 1-2 Oakland Raiders next week.  The Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 34-31 earlier today.

What were your thoughts of the game?  Are you panicking, or are you confident the team will be able to bounce back after losing to a pair of 3-0 teams?  Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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