DENVER — On the day that former quarterback Peyton Manning was honored as one of the franchise's all-time greats, the Broncos got back in the win column.
The offensive performance wasn't quite the same as the high-flying passing attack of the Manning era, but Teddy Bridgewater and Co. put together a go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and the defense held on after a late fumble to earn a 17-10 win over the Washington Football Team.
The Broncos looked to have the game sealed moments earlier after a Justin Simmons interception, but a Melvin Gordon III fumble gave Washington one more chance. Denver's defense was still able to hold on to preserve the win.
Denver could have had an opportunity to put the game away earlier, as the Broncos had two second-half possessions while holding a seven-point lead, but they needed a late touchdown to break a 10-10 tie and earn the victory.
With the win, the Broncos improved to 4-4 on the season ahead of a Week 9 road trip to Dallas.
These are the players and plays that mattered in the Broncos' dramatic home win.
The Broncos made several key plays on Sunday when it mattered most, including a pair of blocked field goals. One of those — courtesy of Dre'Mont Jones — kept the game tied at 10 and set up the Broncos' go-ahead drive. On the Broncos' ensuing possession, an 18-yard pass to Jerry Jeudy on third-and-8 was perhaps the most critical play. Jeudy, in his return from injury, came across the field and caught the ball near the left sideline to push the Broncos inside the Washington 30-yard line. A few plays later, the Broncos scored the touchdown that put them ahead for good.
The game then appeared over when Malik Reed strip-sacked Taylor Heinicke with just over a minute to play to set up a decisive fourth-and-19 and Justin Simmons picked off Heinicke in the end zone for his second pick of the day. Gordon fumbled the ball on the ensuing possession, though, and Washington got another chance. Washington couldn't move the ball, though, and time expired on Washington's final attempt at tying the game.
The Broncos' offense put together a pair of drives that were enough to earn the win. In the second quarter, the Broncos marched 75 yards in seven plays to take a 10-3 lead. In the second half, the Broncos had an eight-play, 63-yard drive to take a 17-10 lead that decided the game. On the Broncos' other six drives — excluding their final drive of the day — Denver recorded 135 total yards. While it wasn't always perfect, Bridgewater and Co. did enough when it mattered to earn a victory.
Peyton Manning was honored several times on Sunday, as he unveiled his Ring of Fame pillar before the game and then was recognized at halftime. At the end of the ceremony inside Empower Field at Mile High, Manning donned a No. 18 jersey and threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to former receiver Brandon Stokley. It was a nostalgic moment that had those in attendance on their feet and cheering.
Dre'Mont Jones posted his best game of the season, as he had 1.5 sacks and a blocked field goal.
Jerry Jeudy caught four passes for 39 yards in his return from injury, including two catches on the Broncos' go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
Justin Simmons recorded two interceptions and joined Steve Foley as the only Broncos safeties to record multiple interceptions in each of their first six seasons.
Malik Reed had a crucial strip-sack late in the game to help Denver's defense get a needed stop, and he added a sack on Washington's last-gasp effort at a win.