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Big Plays Derail Broncos

Posted Sep 23, 2012

The Texans' ability to beat the Broncos deep was a big reason that Denver suffered a loss on Sunday.

DENVER -- A defensive back’s biggest priority is to keep everything in front of him.

On multiple occasions Sunday afternoon, the Broncos’ secondary was unable to carry out that task.

Denver allowed Texans quarterback Matt Schaub to complete three passes of at least 46 yards, with two of those going for touchdowns.

“It's just one of those things as a corner, that's one thing you just don't want to do, give up the deep ball,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “They could throw 100 comebacks and curls, but don't give up the deep one. It's tough out there on that island, I'm telling you. But it is what it is. We've got to learn from it and try to get better."

The Texans' first touchdown of the afternoon came on a 60-yard pass from Schaub to Andre Johnson, who beat the Broncos down the middle of the field for the score. Later in the first half, it was Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter who found himself alone behind the defense and pulled in a 52-yard touchdown pass that made it 21-5.

"We've got to start faster,” Bailey said. “I felt like the first five minutes we were good, then all of a sudden they throw two balls over our head. We can't live with that."

After an early safety and field goal gave Denver a 5-0 lead, the Broncos had a chance to take control of the game. But the Texans’ long touchdowns quickly changed the flow of the game in Houston’s favor.

“We gave up two huge plays in the first half that really just killed us and killed the momentum of our team,” said linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who grabbed his second career interception in the contest, setting up a Denver field goal. “We've got to start fast. We've got to be on top of that."

Houston was also able to attack the Broncos on the ground, as Texans running back Arian Foster had a 22-yard run as part of his 105-yard night, and wide receiver Keshawn Martin picked up 21 yards on a reverse.

“That's one of our keys to victory every week — limit the big plays,” Woodyard said. “We can't give up big shots down the field or gaping runs up the middle of the defense. That can't happen if we want to be a great defense."

Against a play-action team like the Houston Texans, who count on the threat of the running game to attract the attention of the opposing team’s secondary, one of the Broncos’ biggest priorities was to avoid getting caught looking in the backfield. But with Foster and fellow running back Ben Tate running the ball successfully, that’s exactly what happened.

“We're just killing ourselves because we know what they're going to do, but our eyes aren't in the right place,” Bailey said. “That makes you look bad. That's how they make plays. Their offense is set up off that run game. If you don't stop the run effectively, they can eat you up with the boots, play-action, stuff like that."

One thing the Broncos were pleased with after the game was the way the team improved after halftime. Denver limited Houston to just 10 second-half points, and none in the fourth quarter as the defense got the stops the team needed to make it a close game.

"One thing you don't want to see is guys fold and not finish to the end,” Bailey said. “We had a lot of guys that kept fighting. We just need to find a way not to get ourselves in that hole."

For the second week in a row, Denver learned a hard lesson about the difficulty of coming from behind against a tough opponent. The Broncos again fought back with a strong rally, but came up just short. Now, the Broncos are looking to learning from what happened Sunday and get prepared for the upcoming visit from the Oakland Raiders in Week 3. 

"They came out fast, they executed,” safety Rahim Moore said. “We knew that coming in this is a great team. We're going to learn from it. We're going to move on, watch the film and get ready for Oakland next week."