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Broncos-Redskins observations

LANDOVER, Md. -- It would be hard to imagine the first half going much better for the Broncos' starters to cap their "dress rehearsal" preseason week of work.

Denver's starters hit halftime with advantages in first downs (11-7), total yardage (206-110), passing yardage (139-41), completion percentage (66.7 to 46.2), yardage per play (6.65 to 3.44) and average per rushing attempt (5.58 to 4.06).

The performance allowed the Broncos' first-teamers to complete their preseason work with a cumulative 30-17 advantage. Denver's starters trailed Minnesota 7-0 and led Chicago 13-7 in the previous two weeks.

In the end sum, Keenum and the offense delivered what was expected -- mistake-free football. In 10 non-kneeldown possessions over the preseason -- roughly equivalent to one full game of work -- the first-team offense accumulated 28 points -- a solid average of 2.8 points per possession -- and 19 first downs.

None of the drives ended in turnovers, and after three three-and-outs to open the preseason -- two against Minnesota and one against Chicago -- Keenum and the No. 1 offense moved the chains on six of their last seven possessions.

More observations from the Broncos' performance Friday night:

... With Will Parks sitting out the game, Dymonte Thomas stepped into Parks' sub-package role and flourished, making two drive-stopping plays in the first quarter.

On the first stop, Thomas tackled Washington tight end Vernon Davis in the left flat, stopping him one yard short of the line to gain at the Denver 25-yard line. One series later, Thomas broke up a third-and-10 attempt to Davis.

Thomas finished the first half with a team-leading five total tackles. With Jamal Carter out for the season with a torn hamstring and Su'a Cravens still sidelined with knee soreness, he could be in good position to make the 53-man roster.

... Both of Denver's first-half touchdowns were created by crunching blocks from fullback Andy Janovich.

On Royce Freeman's 24-yard touchdown run, Janovich took care of Zach Vigil one yard behind the line of scrimmage, allowing Freeman the room he needed to burst through the left-side hole.

On Emmanuel Sanders' 27-yard end-around with 4:37 left in the second quarter, Janovich created more open space downfield, knocking down Washington safety D.J. Swearinger at the Washington 22-yard line. Swearinger was able to rise, but unable to have any impact on the play, as Sanders only had to elude Washington safety Troy Apke for the score.

"Man, I had to walk up to him and tell him, 'Thank you for that block,'" Sanders said. "Jano, man, he's the best. Best fullback in the league."

... Sanders finished the first half with a team-leading 61 yards on four receptions, giving him 88 yards on seven catches for the preseason.

Including his 27-yard touchdown run, he touched the football eight times in the preseason. Seventy-five percent of his touches resulted in first downs.

... Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett helped set up the sack recorded by Bradley Chubb and Von Miller in the final minute of the first half with an inside move that freed Chubb to attack from the edge. It was the Broncos' first sack of the game.

Miller and Chubb finished the game with a combined five quarterback hits -- three for Miller and two for Chubb. The entire Washington defense had four -- one-third as many as the Broncos accumulated.

... One play after a 19-yard catch-and-run, De'Angelo Henderson made a 5-yard run happen on his own, keeping his legs pumping to break out of a tackle and get to the edge.

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