Manning, first team offense and defense impress against Texans, but Broncos lose 18-17

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DENVER — The Broncos and Houston Texans battled each other in preseason game number three Saturday night after battling each other on the practice field for most of the week leading up to the game.

The third preseason game is usually the one where the starters see the most action during the preseason. Denver’s first-team offense and defense played the entire first half against Houston.

Montee Ball was back in action for the first time during the preseason. The Broncos starting running back had an appendectomy about three weeks ago. And he touched the ball during Denver’s first few plays of the game. He ran it and quarterback Peyton Manning completed a couple of passes to him.

Linebacker Von Miller played for the first time as well Saturday since his knee injury last season.

The game was somewhat quiet for most of the first half. And then Peyton Manning and the Broncos exploded during the last two minutes of the second quarter.

Manning hit new Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a 67-yard pass for a touchdown. Sanders ran past two Texans to score.

A short time later, wide receiver Wes Welker took a hit to the head from Texans safety D.J. Swearinger. The safety got flagged for a personal foul. Welker left the game to undergo tests for a concussion. He suffered two of them last season.

Right after that, Manning hit Sanders for another touchdown pass. This one was 29 yards. Sanders caught 5 passes for 128 yards. Manning went 21 for 27 for 243 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Manning immediately ran up to Swearinger and let him know he wasn’t happy about the hit on Welker. The official flagged Manning for taunting. The Denver quarterback returned to the bench to high fives.

The Broncos struck like lightning and had a 17-7 lead at halftime.

The first team offense has scored on 6 of 10 possessions so far this preseason. Manning is 43 of 54, passing for 423 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

The Texans went on a long drive in the 3rd quarter that lasted more than 9 minutes. The Broncos defense stiffened and Houston only got a field goal out of it.

Denver had the lead 17-10 at the end of three quarters.

Houston scored a touchdown on a 31-yard pass with 59 seconds left in the game. The 2-point conversion was successful and Houston took the lead 18-17.

That’s how the game would end. The Broncos are 2-1 during the preseason.



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