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Cover 4: Broncos fall short in 19-17 loss to Texans


DENVER — In an emotional game that featured Demaryius Thomas' return to Denver, the Broncos staged a late drive but missed a 51-yard attempt at a game-winning field goal with no time remaining.

The Broncos head into their bye week at 3-6.

These were the players and plays that mattered in a 19-17 loss.

Photos from Broncos photographers from during the Broncos' Week 9 game against the Houston Texans.

Game-changing moment

Facing a fourth-and-8, Case Keenum and Emmanuel Sanders combined to make a big play that could've kept the Broncos' chances at a win alive. With 43 seconds to play, Keenum withstood a hit in the pocket and found Sanders in the middle of the field for an 18-yard reception that gave the Broncos a first-down and a chance at a game-winning field goal.

But two plays later, Brandon McManus missed the 51-yard attempt wide right that would've given Denver the win. His second missed field goal of the game sunk the Broncos' chances at a victory.

Defining statistic


The Broncos' defense gave the team a chance to win the game on Sunday, but on too many occasions, the offense was unable to move the ball and put up points. Denver scored just once in the second half, and had four three-and-outs on the afternoon. They also fumbled on the second play of a drive that followed a fourth-down defensive stop. Though they were able to stay close against a team that has now won six consecutive games, those four three-and-outs resulted in too many wasted opportunities, and the Broncos fell just short.

Memorable highlight

On third-and-goal from the Houston 12-yard line, Case Keenum needed to make a perfect pass. He did just that. Keenum stepped up the pocket and fired the football between two defenders to Heuerman, who hauled in the pass to put the Broncos ahead. Heuerman has now caught two touchdowns in as many games after starting the first seven games without one. For Keenum, it was his lone touchdown pass of an interception-free afternoon.

Top performers

On offense, tight end Jeff Heuerman posted his best stat line of the season as he recorded 10 catches for 83 yards and a score. Though his touchdown catch was his biggest play of the afternoon, he also has a couple of catches during which he broke tackles and tallied extra yardage. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton also made several nice plays during his first game as a starter. He caught three passes for 57 yards. Defensively, Todd Davis led the charge to hold Houston to 19 points. He finished with 11 tackles, nine of which were solo efforts. He also had a tackle for loss and a pass defense as the defense aimed to slow Deshaun Watson and the Texans. Bradley Chubb also continued his strong play of late as he added six tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack.

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