The Denver Broncos likely would have won against the Houston Texans if it weren’t for poor clock management by head coach Vance Joseph.
In Sunday’s matchup with the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum went the entire day without throwing an interception.
Unfortunately, running back Devontae Booker fumbled the football.
The Broncos allowed Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins to catch ten passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. They also had to cover former Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, who they traded earlier in the week.
However, those were not the worst things to happen to Denver on Sunday.
Poor clock management at the end of the first half, as well as at the end of the game, hurt the team badly.
The Broncos received the football from the Texans on a punt around the 2:00 warning. Adam Jones returned the ball for a decent gain after running back and forth multiple times trying to find a lane.
The play was called back because of a Shamarko Thomas penalty, pinning the Broncos back at the five-yard line.
At the 1:34 mark in the second quarter, the Broncos called a pass play, and Case Keenum threw a very short pass to Emmanuel Sanders, short of the first down. The clock continued ticking away.
Denver had two timeouts and refused to use one at the time.
Then it got worse. The Broncos called a run play, wasting more time. However, a Texans player was injured on the play, causing the clock to stop.
On 3rd-and-1, the Broncos called another run play. They got the first down and on the next play, Emmanuel Sanders caught a pass for a first down, then got injured on a hit that caused a penalty.
With 47-seconds left, on the 45-yard line of the Texans, Keenum threw a pass to a falling-down Booker. Incomplete.
With 43 seconds left in the half, the Broncos lost center Matt Paradis to a devastating leg injury that was later determined to be a broken fibula. Denver’s offensive line looked significantly worse after the loss of Paradis.
Connor McGovern was inserted in the lineup as the replacement center for Paradis. Pressure from Texans star linemen Jadeveon Clowney and JJ Watt came fast.
With 40 seconds left in the half, Keenum threw a pass to Sanders that went for no gain. Keenum then was under pressure on the next play.
He tried getting the ball to Devontae Booker but it was incomplete, forcing 4th-and-9 and a 62-yard field goal in which kicker Brandon McManus missed wide right. It was not even close.
The Texans got the ball at the spot where Denver lined up for their field goal, giving Houston great field position. Houston got the opportunity to kick a 46-yard field goal.
The Broncos called a timeout to try and ice the kicker but the Texans kicker missed the attempt that initially did not count. He got it right the second time when it did count making it 16-10 Houston at the end of the half.
Fast forward to the end of the game with the Broncos down 19-17 at their own 24-yard line.
Another short pass, this time to Jeff Heuerman was short of the sticks but the tight end picked up the first down anyway.
Jared Veldheer was called for a very untimely false start at 1:24, putting the Broncos back five yards. A pass to tight end Matt LaCosse went for a few yards but Max Garcia was called for a holding penalty.
Bad, bad, and bad.
A few plays later, on 3rd-and-8, Keenum attempted a first-down pass to Sanders that went incomplete. The Broncos had to go for it on 4th-and-8 and completed a pass to Sanders for the first down.
The ball was now at the 36-yard line. Heuerman caught a four-yard pass. However, Denver continued to waste more and more clock.
The next play was, for some reason, a handoff to running back Phillip Lindsay. No yards were gained on the play, and McManus was tasked with making a 51-yard field goal. McManus missed the would-be game-winning field goal, giving Houston the victory.
At the end of the day, McManus was put in a terrible position. The play calling leading up to the attempt was absolutely terrible. It made no sense at all.
And now the Broncos head into their bye week with a 3-6 record because of it.