The Denver Broncos played host to the Houston Texans in the third game of the preseason Saturday night. The third game is used as a tuneup for the regular season, but the 2013 league MVP, Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning, didn’t look like he was in need of one. Although he threw an interception, Manning led all three Broncos’ scoring drives.
The Broncos drove 66 yards on their opening drive and ended that march with a Matt Prater field goal. After Manning’s second quarter interception (A.J. Bouye picked it off), Jonathan Grimes rushed for a one-yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Texans. Manning answered with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, then a 29-yard touchdown toss to Sanders, both in the last 1:07 of the half to make it 17-7. The drives were two plays, 93 yards and three plays, 64 yards, showing just how powerful the Broncos’ offense is and how quick it can strike. Manning was 21-of-27 for 243 yards.
Manning’s counterpart, Ryan Fitzpatrick, did lead one nice drive, but overall he was very unimpressive, completing 10 of 17 passes for just 80 yards. Veteran Case Keenum wasn’t much better, going 11-of-18 for 74 yards.
After a third quarter field goal made it 17-10, rookie Tom Savage entered the game. He found Ryan Griffin on a 31-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine-play, 74-yard drive with just 59 seconds to play. Savage then hit Travis Labhart for the two-point conversion to give the Texans an 18-17 victory. Savage was five-of-six for 68 yards.
The Broncos will put a bow on the preseason Thursday night when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys while the Texans will wrap up their preseason by hosting the San Francisco 49ers.