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Cover 4: Broncos fall just short in 20-17 loss to Bengals

Posted Nov 19, 2017

These are the four pieces of information you need to know following the Broncos' loss.

DENVER — The Broncos fell just short Sunday as they couldn't complete a comeback win and fell 20-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals to drop to 3-7.

Top performers

Defensive end Derek Wolfe tallied four tackles, including two tackles for loss. He also recorded two quarterback hits and his second sack of the season. The Broncos defense largely held the Bengals' rushing attack in check as Cincinnatti rushed for 21 yards in the first half and 49 yards in the game.

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught a touchdown for the third consecutive game to pull the Broncos within three points of the Bengals in the fourth quarter. The score tied Thomas with Shannon Sharpe for the second-most touchdown receptions in franchise history with 55. Only Ring of Famer Rod Smith has more touchdown receptions in his career. Thomas finished Sunday's game with five receptions for 64 yards.

Defining statistic

The Broncos blocked a punt early in the game, but they lost the turnover battle 2-0. The Bengals negated that punt block when Dre Kirkpatrick picked off Brock Osweiler in the end zone and returned the interception all the way to the Denver 1-yard line. The Bengals would score a touchdown to take an early 6-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, with the Broncos down 13-10 and looking to tie the game or take the lead, Vontaze Burfict knocked the ball loose from C.J. Anderson. Cincinnati would go on to score on the drive to take a 20-10 lead. The Broncos have not won the turnover battle since their win over the Raiders on Oct. 1.

Game-changing moment

The Broncos cut the Bengals' lead to 20-17 with 5:05 to play in the fourth quarter, but Cincinnati wouldn't give the ball back to the Broncos with enough time remaining. Dalton kept the ball on a read option to convert a third-and-3 with 4:09 to go, and Bradley Roby was whistled for pass interference on the ensuing third down with 3:10 to go to give the Bengals another first down. The Broncos would get the ball back with 1:52 remaining at their own 20-yard line, but they could not earn a first down. Osweiler's pass to Emmanuel Sanders on fourth down fell incomplete, and the Broncos slipped to 3-7.

Memorable highlight

Shaquil Barrett blocked a Kevin Huber punt in the first quarter to set up the Broncos at the Cincinnati 29-yard line. For the first time in a stretch of games, the Broncos had struck first with a big play. Denver has now blocked three kicks on the season, which is tied for the highest total in the NFL.

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The Broncos have other promotions here, in addition to following promotions available the day after the game:
- With two Broncos touchdowns, you score $1 roast beef sandwiches the day after a Broncos game at participating Arby’s.
- Download the McDonald’s app for free Broncos gameday offers! Additionally, get a $1 Big Mac sandwich or Sausage McMuffin with Egg the day after every Broncos Game as well as 30 percent off any hat after every Broncos game at Denver Broncos Team Stores with the McDonald’s key tag.
- Buffalo Wild Wings: If the Broncos make a field goal, you could win a free sharable at Buffalo Wild Wings!