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How It Happened: Broncos 45, Redskins 21

Posted Oct 27, 2013

Denver used 38 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from Washington and move to 7-1.

DENVER -- Thirty minutes into Sunday's game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, only 14 total points had been scored between Denver and Washington.

In the second half, the Broncos scored 38 by themselves. They were all unanswered, turning a 21-7 deficit into a decisive, 45-21 win.

"We were a little disappointed at halftime to only have seven points, but we realized we only had the ball four times and I think on three of those we were on our own 10-yard line or so," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "There was no panic. There was no finger pointing or whatnot. We were just determined. And I thought we went out and did a good job with two good drives to tie it and then got some turnovers and were able to take the lead, so that was good.”

Manning finished the game 30-of-44 for 354 yards and four touchdowns. However, he also threw three interceptions and fumbled once when Ryan Kerrigan got into the backfield to slap the ball out of the quarterback's hands.

"It’s disappointing, there’s no question, because you feel like you put your defense in a tough spot," Manning said. "You do feel – I don’t think frustrated is the word. I think determined is the word, to overcome those mistakes. And you don’t do it by pressing and forcing things, you do it by going about your business and doing your job. I thought we did that and that was good to see.”

For that reason, Head Coach John Fox said he thought "without a doubt that was our best defensive outing."

Not only did the defense help the team overcome four turnovers on the offensive side of the ball, the group made sure the Broncos won the turnover battle in the end by intercepting both Redskins quarterbacks -- Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins -- twice apiece and forcing and recovering another fumble.

"You go out in the second half and we're always taught to fight," said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, whose 75-yard interception return touchdown provided the final points of the game. "We just went out there and kept fighting. For the most part, we went out there, rallied after RG3, rattled him a little bit, made him make some decisions that weren't good for him and just kept it going from there."

In the fourth quarter, the Redskins had the ball seven times. The drives ended as follows:

Three-and-out. Fumble. Three-and-out. Interception. Interception. Interception. Interception.

Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson believed it was the best stretch of football the defense has put together all season.

"Four or five turnovers, three or four sacks, that's lights-out football," he said. "Stout against the run, good against the pass -- you can't ask for nothing better."

According to press box totals, Griffin was sacked three times and hit on 13 occasions. The final hit, provided by defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, resulted in an interception, and the quarterback didn't return to the game. Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan said doctors cleared Griffin to return, but the team "decided to keep him out the way the score was.” Cousins led Washington's final two drives, both of which ended with an interception.

Meanwhile, Manning spread his four touchdowns to four different players -- Demaryius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno, Joel Dreessen and Wes Welker, whose nine receiving touchdowns on the season tie a career high and currently lead the league.

The Broncos now enter their bye week having completed half of their regular-season slate with a 7-1 record.

"I think this was a huge team win, in itself, because we were down 21-7 and we had those unanswered points to really seal the deal," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "I think you can rally around this game, you can look at it, learn from it. But again, you can go into the bye week with smiles on your faces and know that we played well and we can keep getting better.”