A win is a win in the NFL, no matter what way you count it--or some such nonsense. The Denver Broncos gave head coach John Fox his first victory at the helm with a 24-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Denver held on despite several late charges by Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Robert Ayers had a huge fourth down stop, breaking up a pass to A.J. Green, to prevent the Bengals from holding on to a glimmer of hope in the final seconds.
The Broncos owned the first half of the game, leading at halftime, 10-3. Willis McGahee churned up the ground on the team's opening drive, capping the 85-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. He had 28 carries for 101 yards. Wide receiver Eric Decker was a revelation this week, starting in place of Brandon Lloyd, as he had five receptions for 113 yards. He had two touchdown receptions, one for 25 yards and another for 52. The latter put the Broncos at 24 points.
Cincinnati, though, answered back on the next drive. Right after rookie Von Miller picked up his first career sack by knocking down Andy Dalton for a loss of nine yards, Dalton fired back with an 84-yard pass to Jerome Simpson. This set up a Dalton to A.J. Green touchdown pass, Dalton's second of the game. Clearly, Champ Bailey's absence was felt late in the game.
Injuries also hurt the Broncos, as Julius Thomas and Eddie Royal left the game in the first half. Thomas suffered an injured ankle on the opening drive and did not return. In the second half, Eddie Royal left with groin injury. This left the Broncos with just two wide receivers and forced Tim Tebow to appear as the slot receiver. Tebow didn't have any receptions.
The Broncos (1-1) take to the road next week to face the Tennessee Titans.