The Denver Broncos have moved into a first place tie in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs after an inspiring 11-10 defensive win over the San Francisco 49ers. The offense still has questions, but the defense continues to buy them time to figure things out with back-to-back wins.
It was a clean game from Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett and special teams played really well. Those were two other concerns heading into this game, so the only issue left to figure out for that coaching staff is how to get Russ cookin’ more regularly in games.
The first quarter saw the Broncos go three and out in three straight possessions to start the game. Russell Wilson completed two of five passes for three yards as the Broncos racked up 11 total yards of offense.
Meanwhile, the 49ers go hot on their second drive to march straight down the field to score a touchdown to take an early lead in the game.
49ers 7, Broncos 0. Full first quarter recap.
A tough defensive battle took shape in the second quarter as the Broncos defense stiffened after giving up that early touchdown. They would stymie the 49ers offense all quarter. Meanwhile, the Broncos got a couple of offensive drives going. The first led to points after this excellent play from Russell Wilson.
Russell Wilson, dragging his foot behind the line of scrimage and offloading a chest pass to Melvin Gordon for an extra 20 yards like a goddamn wizard pic.twitter.com/rjYxdEv9u6
— Christian D’Andrea (@TrainIsland) September 26, 2022
Their second drive ended up not producing any points, but they began the drive on their own half yard line and briefly drove into field goal range before a third down sack pushed them out of range for Brandon McManus.
49ers 7, Broncos 3. Full second quarter recap.
Neither team’s offense could get anything going in the third quarter. Denver’s defense made the biggest play by forcing Jimmy G into committing a safety to cut the 49ers lead to just two points.
Another turnover by Jimmy G led to a field goal attempt by Brandon McManus, but he pushed the 53-yard attempt wide right.
49ers 7, Broncos 5. Full third quarter recap.
The 49ers would begin the fourth quarter in Broncos territory and would get stopped just shy of a first down to give Robbie Gould a 51-yard field goal to extend their lead.
49ers 10, Broncos 5.
From their own 25 yard line, the Broncos went back to the Javonte Williams script who gained a couple of yards up the middle on first down. Wilson went deep to Jerry Jeudy who had the ball just knocked away. Another couple of inches on the throw and that ball is completed for a likely touchdown.
On third and seven, Wilson ran for the first down. He was ruled down short, but the replays again showed he was clearly across the 35 yard line with the ball. However, as they have done all game long the refs decided in favor of the 49ers to give the Broncos their eighth three and out of the game.
DEN decided to punt to SF from the DEN 34 on 4th & 1 with 12:28 remaining in the 4th while losing 5 to 10.
With a Surrender Index of 8.66, this punt ranks at the 93rd percentile of cowardly punts of the 2022 season, and the 90th percentile of all punts since 1999.
— Surrender Index (@surrender_index) September 26, 2022
For some reason, the 49ers came out throwing the ball on their next drive and would end up having to punt again after getting one first down. With 10 minutes left in the game, that would give Denver likely an extra chance before the end of the game to do something offensively.
Denver’s next drive got a first down, which means they were going to do something. On a long third and 10, Russell Wilson bought extra time and found Kendall Hinton for a big play to the 49ers 40 yard line for a 27-yard gain.
On the next third down, Wilson scrambled for another first down to the 49ers 24 yard line. Wilson then fired a back shoulder to Courtland Sutton to the 5-yard line. With zero red zone touchdowns through nearly three games, Denver handed it off to Melvin Gordon in back to back carries to punch it in for the touchdown. Their two-point conversion attempt pass was deflected at the line.
Broncos 11, 49ers 10.
With just over three minutes to go in the game, the 49ers converted a third and three on a near pass breakup for Ronald Darby. Another completion on a slant got San Francisco out close to midfield.
Jimmy G’s next pass was deflected and intercepted by Jonas Griffith to get the Broncos the ball back with just over two minutes to go in the game.
Denver would only run off 15 seconds of clock before having to punt it right back to the 49ers. San Francisco would be forced to used two of their timeouts, but with 1:51 left in the game that would be plenty of time for them to move into field goal range.
A muffed punt nearly ended the game right there, but the 49ers would take over at their own 15 yard line. The Broncos defense was hungry for a win and on first down Bradley Chubb would come up with a huge sack on first down at the 49ers own 4 yard line.
On second down, P.J. Locke forced a fumble that Kareem Jackson would recover to seal victory for Denver.