Week 15 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 28, Buffalo Bills 17
What you need to know
The Broncos struggled throughout the first half and were fortunate to be level at half time.
Jake Plummer had a good game, throwing for over 250 yards and two touchdowns. Rod Smith was by far his favorite target on the day with almost half of his passes being aimed at the veteran receiver. Smith had a huge first half and ended the day with 11 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown.
The running game failed to spark in the first half, but looked much better after the break. Anderson and Bell combined for over 100 yards rushing in the second half and Anderson had two touchdowns.
The Broncosí defense only allowed seven points in the first half as the Billsí rushing attack faltered after the opening drive. The secondary gave up a few big plays to Eric Moulds but was in control in the second half before allowing a late touchdown. The pass rush troubled Kelly Holcomb at times, but only produced one sack. Champ Bailey had a chance for an interception but dropped the ball. The defense did not generate a turnover in the game. Domonique Foxworth started over the injured Darrent Williams and almost picked a Holcomb pass for what would have been a probable touchdown.
The Billsí offense is second only to the Colts in touchdowns scored on the opening drive, and they added to their tally with another in this game. It was the first touchdown conceded by Denver on the opening possession in any game this season.
Kelly Holcomb started in place of the injured J.P. Losman (shoulder) and was quite effective early in the game. Eric Moulds returned from a one game suspension and posted over 100 yards receiving in what might be his last home game for the Bills.
Willis McGahee began the game well and ran hard, scoring the opening touchdown of the game. He did not see any action in the fourth quarter after injuring his left arm.
The Bills restricted the high-powered Denver offense to seven points in the first half, but were unable to maintain their effort. Jake Plummer was not pressured by the pass rush on many occasions and was only sacked once in the game (Jeff Posey). Nate Clements wrestled the ball away from Rod Smith to generate the gameís only turnover. The defense tired as the Broncos held possession for over 21 minutes during the second half.
What you ought to know
|QB Jake Plummer, Pass: 20 - 37 - 259 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0|
Plummer had a good game. The Broncos began with three passing plays and utilized the passing game extensively in the first half. Plummer did not complete a pass to any receiver other than Rod Smith until 25 minutes into the game. Plummer had a pass batted into the air in the final minute of the first half and the ball fell to Rod Smith in the end zone for a touchdown. Plummer ran for 18 yards earlier in the scoring drive. He led the Broncos to a score on their opening possession of the second half, finding TE Wesley Duke on a one yard touchdown pass. The Broncos went for it on fourth down in the last few minutes, and Plummer gained two yards on a sneak to keep the drive alive.
Anderson did not touch the ball on the Broncosí opening drive, but had a 15 yard run for a first down on his second carry of the game. He had a four yard gain to the three yard line before Rod Smith caught a touchdown pass. Anderson only saw seven carries for 32 yards in the first half. The Broncos improved in the second half and Anderson became more involved in the game. He scored on consecutive drives which took over 13 minutes off the clock. The first came from 11 yards out and the second from six yards out. Anderson ended the day with 21 carries for 97 yards and two scores and was the ball carrier in most short yardage situations.
|RB Tatum Bell, Rush: 12 - 49 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)|
Bell was used to spell Anderson in the second quarter but only had three carries in the first half. He had a 22 yard run for a first down on the Broncosí second possession of the second half, and then made a nine yard reception to keep the following drive alive. Bell had a nine yard touchdown run negated by a holding penalty in the first half. He ended the game with 12 carries for 49 yards.
Smith was the focus of the passing offense for Denver and he went over 1000 yards for the season after catching 11 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. Smith had 119 yards and a score in the first half alone, and was the only Denver receiver to make a catch in the first 25 minutes of the game. He did fumble after fighting to make a first down, as Nate Clements stripped the ball. His longest catch of the day went for 34 yards and he was responsible for several first down catches on the day. Smith showed good concentration to bring in a ball that was tipped, getting both feet in bounds in the end zone for the Broncosí opening score. He only had two catches in the second half as the Broncos took control of the game. He also had a 15 yard catch reversed after a review.
|WR Ashley Lelie, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0, Rec: 1 - 40 - 0 (4 targets)|
Lelie was not involved very often, but he did make a significant contribution. He was targeted in the end zone but Terrence McGee stopped him from making the catch. He was used on an end around on the first possession of the second half, and gained 13 yards for a first down. Plummer launched a 40 yard pass later in the drive and Lelie made the catch at the Billsí four yard line to set up a score.
Adams was not a factor in the game and did not record a catch.
Putzier had a 15 yard catch negated by a holding penalty, but made a 28 yard catch for a first down on the same drive. He caught a five yard pass for another first down in the second half and then had a 23 yard gain on which he fumbled and then recovered.
Alexander only caught two balls for a total of 12 yards from his six targets and was not much of a factor in the game.
Duke had barely seen the field all year, but he was used as an end zone target by Plummer and comfortably made the catch. The touchdown was his only catch and target of the game.
The Broncos were very strong against the run after allowing a one yard touchdown to Willis McGahee on the opening drive. They restricted the Bills to 75 net rushing yards, 28 of which came on the last play of the first half as time expired.
The pass rush did not trouble Kelly Holcomb for most of the game, and the Broncos only came up with one sack on the day (Al Wilson). Champ Bailey had a chance to intercept a pass but he dropped the ball. Domonique Foxworth had an opportunity to intercept a pass intended for Lee Evans, but was unable to hold on for what might have been a touchdown. More than half of the 197 net passing yards conceded went to Eric Moulds.
|QB Kelly Holcomb, Pass: 22 - 35 - 202 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
Holcomb started the game due to J.P. Losmanís shoulder injury keeping him out of the game. Holcomb began well, finding Moulds for a 27 yard completion early in the opening drive. He overthrew Mark Campbell in the end zone and the drive appeared to stall, but the Bills decided to go for it on fourth and two, and converted. Daimon Shelton almost scored but fumbled the ball out of bounds on the one yard line to set up a McGahee rushing touchdown. Holcomb targeted Moulds 12 times and they were responsible for moving the ball on several drives for the Bills. Holcomb gained one first down on a sneak and drew a roughing penalty on the play. Holcomb had limited success on some drives but could not sustain anything after the opening possession until late in the game. He found Joe Burns with a 19 yard touchdown pass with under four minutes left in the game. Holcomb was almost picked on a couple of occasions, once after making a poor choice and the other on a tipped ball. It was made clear that he would not have started the game had Losman been able to play.
McGahee began the game well and looked motivated. He scored on the Billsí opening drive from one yard out but did not have much success after his fast start. His longest play of the game was a 15 yard reception, but he only carried twice in the second half after suffering an injury to his left arm.
Williams was used to spell McGahee, and was often in the game in third down situations. His longest play of the game was a 28 yard run on the last play of the first half, but time expired after he was tackled. Williams was apparently hurt in the fourth quarter and left the game.
Shelton caught both his targets. The first was the most significant as he gained seven yards before fumbling the ball out of bounds at the one yard line. McGahee was able to convert for a touchdown.
Burns entered the game late with Shaud Williams and Willis McGahee sidelined. He made a 19 yard touchdown reception on his only touch of the game.
Moulds returned from his one game suspension and looked hungry for the ball. He caught a 27 yard pass on the opening drive and another 27 yard catch later in the half. He had only caught one 20 yard pass all year entering this game. Moulds had one bad drop on what would have been another 20 yard gain, but he ended with nine catches for 110 yards. Moulds has expressed a desire to play for the Bills next year, but his salary figure may mean that this was his final home game for the Bills.
|WR Josh Reed, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)|
Reed caught two passes, including one for a ten yard gain and a first down, but he was not a big factor in the game.
Evans was hardly involved in the game at all with Eric Moulds returning. He only caught two passes for a total of five yards. Holcomb threw an accurate long pass to Evans, but he dropped it unchallenged by the defense. He dropped a pass on the next drive and angered Holcomb on the following drive after apparently running the wrong route and failing to turn his head. Holcomb targeted Evans again but the short pass was ill advised and was almost picked by Domonique Foxworth for a likely touchdown.
Parrish caught an 11 yard pass for a first down on the Billsí second drive. He had another short gain for a first down, but it was negated by a penalty. Parrish was flattened on another play late in the game by Sam Brandon, but appeared to be fine.
Campbell was targeted once in the end zone but the ball was well overthrown.
The Bills did a good job of restricting the Broncos in the first half, holding Anderson and Bell to a total of 45 yards on ten carries. It was a different story in the second half as the Broncos asserted themselves and controlled the game on the ground. They held possession for over 21 minutes and ended with two rushing touchdowns and 178 net rushing yards, and also converted on two fourth down attempts.
The Bills gave up 259 net passing yards on the day and were unable to force Jake Plummer into many errors. Jeff Posey gained the only sack for the Bills. The pass defense gave up two scores. The first went to Rod Smith on a tipped pass and the other to TE Wesley Duke. Nate Clements provided the only turnover as he wrestled the ball away from Rod Smith after the receiver had gained enough yardage for a first down.