ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Joe Flacco and the bulk of the No. 1 offense had Thursday night off. The final period of Monday's practice gave them a chance to make up for it.
In that period, the offense was given the ball at its 25-yard line with 2:20 on the clock, a 7-point deficit and no timeouts. Most two-minute drill move-the-ball periods prior to Sunday's practice had the offense down by one or in a tie game; this time, the offense had to go all the way down the field against the No. 1 defense.
After a sluggish start, it succeeded, marching 75 yards in 12 plays, capping it with a 13-yard Joe Flacco touchdown pass to River Cracraft with 17 seconds to spare.
Flacco and the offense got out of fourth-and-7 at its own 28-yard line, a quandary that resulted from back-to-back incompletions on second and third downs that led to audible frustration from the offense. But on fourth down, Courtland Sutton locked in on a pass that was slightly deflected at the line of scrimmage, and hauled in the football on a crossing pattern for a 12-yard gain.
After Justin Simmons was all over Noah Fant on the subsequent first-and-10 from the offense's 40, Flacco heated up. He found Fred Brown for 15 yards, hit Phillip Lindsay twice for short gains of 6 and 3 yards, then moved the chains on third-and-1 with a 16-yard pass to Tim Patrick. Three plays later, he connected with Cracraft for the score.
All told, Flacco completed eight passes to seven different receiving targets: Sutton, Brown, Lindsay, Patrick, Cracraft, Devontae Booker and Kelvin McKnight.
Of course, there was one catch: Von Miller's pass rush. On the touchdown, Miller surged off the edge, but held back on his pressure to avoid contact with Flacco. Under game conditions, it might have resulted in a sack. At minimum, it would have been a hurried throw. But in practice, the score stood.
... After a two-day respite following the preseason opener, Head Coach Vic Fangio wanted to push his team during a full-pad practice that lasted over two and a half hours.
“We gave them two days off, which is good. They needed it. Then we were ready to come out and have a hard practice," Fangio said. "This practice here we might have had the most plays that we’ve had in any practice. I haven’t seen the total yet, but I thought they practiced well.”
... The Broncos wasted no time getting newly signed running back Theo Riddick into action, working him into team and seven-on-seven periods.
"Right now he’s going to get thrown in the mix. He’s had a good history in his career of being a good receiver out of the backfield and a good threat in that way," Fangio said, adding that Riddick "had a couple of good routes here today."
... With Ron Leary continuing to get some periods off as he completes his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, Austin Schlottman got some first-team snaps at right guard later in practice.
... Second-year wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton returned from a hamstring injury and caught a handful of passes during the practice.
"I don’t like sitting out; I don’t like not practicing. I don’t like not playing football, basically. [I’m] just being patient," Hamilton said.