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Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays will miss one game and lose $50,000 for taking off a piece of Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub's ear.
With his team already riding a two-game losing streak, Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard remains confident that he and teammates can get off to a quicker, more efficient start against Oakland in Week 4.
The Broncos were forced to reel off 14 fourth-quarter points solely to make things interesting late against the Texans, a situation that encourage Woodyard to inform DenverBroncos.com after the game that his team simply can't play like this in the future. "We started off slow and can’t do that, especially with a good team," Woodyard said. "In order to be a really good team in the NFL and a team that is solid week in and week out, we have to start fast."
The 26-year-old Woodyard did manage to intercept his second career pass in Sunday's loss, and although it didn't happen, fully expected to burst across the goal line for a defensive touchdown before being tackled. "I did," Woodyard admitted. "I joked the whole week with the guys like, ‘Man, if I ever get the ball, I wasn’t going to get touched.’ I saw the end zone so it felt like it was 200 yards away."
Considering the Broncos have already faced off against two of the better offenses in the league in Atlanta and Houston, a divisional showdown with the Raiders could be just what the doctor ordered to get John Fox's team back on track..
Stay with this StoryStream for more Week 3 reaction, and be sure to visit Mile High Report for more on the Broncos. Also check out SB Nation's NFL hub for more news and analysis from around the league.
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio have been fined for their criticism of the NFL's replacement officials during Week 2's Monday night loss to the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Fox received a $30,000 fine while Del Rio was charged $25,000.
Schefter reported on Sunday that the NFL even called into Atlanta during last week's game to tell the coaches to cool off their behavior directed at the officials. During the game, Fox and Del Rio were actively pestering officials on calls in which they didn't agree.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said the NFL told the replacement officials to "be more assertive" in dealing with the league's head coaches. Ray Anderson, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, told La Canfora the league sent out a memo warning coaches that the league would be very strict regarding the behavior such as that seen by Fox and Del Rio.
This story was originally published on SBNation.com.
Edged by his opponent on the scoreboard for the second straight week, Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey knows full well that his defense desperately needs to tighten things up going forward in order to win games. The 11-time Pro Bowler made it quite clear to DenverBroncos.com that big plays in the passing game continue to serve as the team's Achilles' heel at the moment.
"We’ve got to start faster," Bailey said. "I felt like the first five minutes, we were good. Then all of a sudden, they throw two balls over our head. We can’t live with that."
Although Bailey and company were able to limit Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson to just two receptions on the afternoon, a key catch by the superstar wideout over the outstretched hand of Bailey ultimately allowed the Texans to kill much of the clock late in the fourth.
"I was right there," Bailey said. "It’s just two good players making plays. Once I started following [Johnson] around, he didn’t have a catch in crunch time. He made it happen. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit for that."
While it's hard to believe that leaders like Bailey and quarterback Peyton Manning won't find a way to turn their respective units around in the coming weeks, Bailey is spot-on in his assessment of how debilitating Denver's slow starts have been this year. Eager to claw their way back to .500 with a win, the Broncos should have an opportunity to turn things around in Week 4 against an Oakland Raiders team still trying to find its identity despite a last-second win over the Steelers on Sunday.
Be sure to stay with this StoryStream for more reaction from Week 3, and head over to Mile High Report for more Broncos coverage. Also check out SB Nation's NFL hub for more news and analysis from around the league.
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have dropped two games in a row, and in both losses the offense struggled to get churning until later in the game. But comebacks aren't something Manning wants to get accustomed to, and while he said after Sunday's 31-25 loss to the Houston Texans that reviewing game tape will help him make some tweaks, the Broncos must improve their third down situations if they hope to convert them.
Said Manning, via DenverBroncos.com:
"I don't know how many we had, but we weren't very good early on third downs. [We were] probably a little bit better late there in the fourth quarter-got to be able to convert from third downs ... It seems like we had a few more third-and-longs today, and that is kind of playing into Houston's hands."
Manning's quarterback numbers were significantly worse in the two losses compared to the season-opening victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Against the Texans, he threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns, but only completed 26-of-52 passes.
That, however, bettered his three-interception performance in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons.
Manning's stat line Sunday was fairly pedestrian, completing 26-of-52 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Though Manning didn't throw an interception and did throw for over 300 yards, a 50 percent completion rate is hardly Manning-esque.
SB Nation's Bomani Jones wasn't too thrilled with what he saw from Peyton Manning on Sunday -- daring to muse that the Hall of Fame quarterback could just be average at this point in his career.
But are they [the Texans] so good that they made Peyton Manning look average? Or is post-injury Peyton just ... average? The Broncos' passing game fared better than the Dolphins or Jaguars did against Houston, but when did we start comparing Manning to Ryan Tannehill and Blaine Gabbert? Even when one accounts for Sunday's drops and the reasonable time it will take for Manning and his receivers to get comfortable with each other, Manning completed just 50 percent of his passes and averaged 6.3 yards per attempt. His passes don't have much zip and, until the Texans were up by 20, he looked pedestrian at best.
"Pedestrian at best" is not what John Elway had in mind when he brought Manning in to be Denver's quarterback. Still, it's early, and there's plenty of time for Manning and the Broncos to get right. The Broncos will look to even up their record at 2-2 next Sunday, when they host the Oakland Raiders.
For the latest on all things Broncos, check out Mile High Report.
Denver couldn't contain the Houston Texans on Sunday, as they dropped their second straight game, a 31-25 loss to the Houston Texans. Peyton Manning and the offense once again struggled to find a rhythm early in the game and the defense couldn't contain the powerful Texans offense, leading to yet another close loss when they couldn't complete the comeback.
Dropped Passes were a huge problem today. I'm not going to play the blame game or get into "What if" scenarios, so this isn't me pointing fingers at single players. This is a team game and the Broncos didn't lose because of one player or one play.
Nevertheless, the stat line shows that there were numerous dropped passes. Demaryius Thomas was targeted 12 times, finishing with 4 catches for 36 yards. Jacob Tamme was targeted 10 times. He made 3 catches for 31 yards. Now Peyton Manning was 26/52. The stats say he targeted his receivers 50 of those times, so they must be counting two throwaways. The Houston Defense is credited with 10 Pass Break Ups so that makes 14 dropped balls. You can factor that into the next category.
The Broncos will get a chance to up their stock when they play the Raiders next weekend at Sports Authority Field. Other than a surprise win over the Steelers in Week 3, Oakland has had a dire start to 2012.
McGahee suffered a rib injury in the third quarter on Sunday, returned for one play, and then missed the rest of the game because of the injury. No update has been given on McGahee's status, and the severity of the injury is unknown.
Irving sustained a concussion during the loss, and could end up missing next week's game against the Oakland Raiders as a result. Irving was blocked into Houston Texans punt returner Trindon Holliday, striking his helmet against Holliday's shoulder. Irving then fell to the ground, and remained down for several minutes. Fortunately, Irving was able to walk off the field under his own power, but, needless to say, did not return to the game.
Jacob Tamme left the game with a groin injury, but eventually did return to action in the fourth quarter.
For the latest on all things Broncos, check out Mile High Report.
The San Diego Chargers retained sole possession of first place in the AFC West despite being routed at home by the Atlanta Falcons, as the Denver Broncos were unable to capitalize at home against the Houston Texans.
The Chargers took a 27-3 beating from the Falcons, who have now beaten two AFC West teams. That put the Broncos in position to climb into a first-place tie, but they were unable to complete a fourth-quarter rally against the Texans in a 31-26 loss. That, combined with the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders' first wins of the season, leaves Denver in a three-way tie for second place.
Things have a chance to get all kinds of weird in Week 4, as the Chargers face the Chiefs and the Broncos face the Raiders. If Kansas City wins, they'd be in a tie for first with the Chargers and the winner of Denver-Oakland. At the same time, the Chiefs, as well as the loser of Denver-Oakland, would be at a real disadvantage -- albeit early on -- at 1-3.
|San Diego||2||1||0||63||51||Lost 1|
|Kansas City||1||2||0||68||99||Won 1|
For additional coverage on the Chargers, be sure to visit Bolts From The Blue. Additional coverage on the Broncos can be found at Mile High Report, while news and analysis on the Chiefs and Raiders can be found at Arrowhead Pride and Silver and Black Pride.
Schaub connected with Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Kevin Walter for touchdowns in the first half, and found Owen Daniels for a second-half score. Schaub completed passes to eight different receivers in the balanced effort.
Schaub's pass to Daniels gave the Texans a 20-point lead, but the Broncos came storming back, picking up two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Peyton Manning hit Brandon Stokley with a 38-yard strike just over five minutes into the quarter. Then, Manning found former Texan Joel Dreessen for a 6-yard score on Denver's next possession.
Houston would bear down and salt the game away on their final possession, as Schaub hooked up with Johnson for a key first down, which allowed the Texans to run the clock down to 33 seconds before having to punt the ball back to Denver.
Peyton Manning threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns and Eric Decker caught eight balls for 136 yards in the losing effort.
Schaub overcame an interception and quite a bit of pressure from the Denver defensive line to throw for 290 yards and four touchdowns.
With Denver playing from behind for the entire second half, Willis McGahee didn't see much action. He carried the ball just 12 times for 36 yards.
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Did They Cover?
The Broncos were favored by a point, and that would have come to fruition had they been able to score on the final drive. But, the Texans win here, as well as in the game.
Click here to view lines from this game and others around the NFL.
This post was originally published on SBNation.com.
The Houston Texans scored 10 points in the third quarter to take a 31-11 lead over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium on Sunday.
Shayne Graham connected on a 41-yard field goal attempt with 9:11 left in the quarter, and Matt Schaub hooked up with tight end Owen Daniels for a 14-yard touchdown at the 1:33 mark. Schaub is 14-of-26 for 274 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
The Bronco offense hasn't been able to do much against the Texans' defense. Denver has just 247 yards through three quarters and has converted 3-of-12 third-down attempts.
Peyton Manning is 17 of 35 for 210 yards. The quarterback hasn't thrown a touchdown or an interception. Willis McGahee has 36 rushing yards on 12 carries. The highlight of the Broncos' offense is Eric Decker, who has six catches for 107 yards.
The Denver Broncos defense got off to a good start on Sunday, as Elvis Dumervil sacked Matt Schaub for a safety on Houston's first offensive play. Since then, the Texans have dominated and taken a 21-11 lead into halftime at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.
Peyton Manning is 12 of 22 for 168 yards, but he hasn't received much help. Willis McGahee has rushed 10 times for 38 yards, and Eric Decker leads Denver in receiving with 68 yards on four catches. The Bronco defense has allowed Houston to rack up 285 offensive yards.
Matt Prater has provided the entirety of Denver's offensive scoring, connecting on three field goals. Prater has hit from 32, 23 and 53 yards.
Broncos linebacker Nate Irving suffered a concussion during the first half of Denver's game against the Texans.
The Broncos' defense got off to a good start, as Elvis Dumervil sacked Texans quarterback Matt Schaub for a safety on Houston's first offensive play. On its ensuing offensive possession, Denver drove to the Houston 14-yard line, and Matt Prater kicked a 32-yard field goal to give the Broncos a 5-0 lead.
The Texans bounced back on their next possession. Schaub connected with Andre Johnson for a 60-yard touchdown. The Houston quarterback hooked up with Arian Foster early in the second quarter for a three-yard touchdown and a 14-5 lead. Schaub is 7 of 9 for 125 yards and hasn't thrown an interception.
Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno is on the inactive list for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. This means rookie running back Ronnie Hillman could see his first NFL action with Moreno out.
Not that Moreno has done much for the Broncos this season, with just 15 yards on eight carries in two games. But he was named the Broncos' No. 2 running back behind Willis McGahee earlier this season, though his fumble last week against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football may have factored into the rookie replacing him this week.
This post was originally published on SBNation.com.
Week 3 of the 2012 NFL Season continues on Sunday with a slew of good games available for viewing, highlighted by the Denver Broncos hosting the Houston Texans in the third game of the Peyton Manning era in Denver.
Let's look at the television schedule for the Denver area and who will be calling the games.
CBS Early Game: The Kansas City Chiefs travel to face the New Orleans Saints at 1 p.m. ET on CBS as both teams will be looking for their first win of the season. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will call the game.
NFL on Fox: The Dallas Cowboys welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a battle of two 1-1 teams at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX. The Cowboys are coming off an embarrassing home loss to the Seattle Seahawks while the Bucs allowed Eli Manning to throw for 510 yards in a tough loss to the Giants. Joe Buck and Cowboys great Troy Aikman will call the game.
CBS Late Game: The Denver Broncos will host the Houston Texans at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS. The Broncos had a great opening game before falling back to earth a bit in their second. The Texans look like a possible Super Bowl team out of the AFC. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will bring you the action.
Sunday Night Football: In a battle of AFC titans, the New England Patriots travel to face the Baltimore Ravens at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. Both teams are coming off of losses in games decided by two points or less so look for both to play angry and focused. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will announce the game as usual.
After back-to-back games against teams considered favorites to make the playoffs, the schedule doesn't lighten up for the Denver Broncos as they'll face a very tough Houston Texans team in Week 3. The Broncos faced SB Nation's No. 8 team in Week 1, No. 4 team in Week 2 and now face the No. 2 team in Week 3.
With Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson on offense, it's no secret why the Texans offense is respected around the league as an explosive one. But perhaps even more impressive is the Texans defense that currently ranks as the top unit in the league.
While the Texans have won each of their first two games by 20 points, they did so against the Dolphins and Jaguars. They haven't faced the quality of teams that the Broncos have so far and Denver will easily be their toughest test yet.
For the Broncos to pull out a win, though, they'll need a better performance from Peyton Manning than they received on Monday night when he threw three interceptions in his first eight passes.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, Sept. 23; 2:25 MT
Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.
TV Schedule: CBS
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Broncos: 850 KOA
Texans: 610 AM/100.3 FM/1010 AM
The Houston Texans are healthy heading into Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The only player that who may not play is backup linebacker Tim Dobbins who has sat out practice all week with a hamstring injury, and is questionable.
A few starters were listed on Friday's injury report in linebackers Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, and defensive backs Johnathan Joseph.. Plus, guard Antoine Caldwell was listed on the injury report with an ankle injury.
Those six players were able to fully participate in practice on Friday, and are officially listed as probable but they should be playing on Sunday.
For more news and notes on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report. To read more about the Texans, be sure to take a look at Battle Red Blog. Check out SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.e
Kuper suffered a broken forearm during training camp in August and has already missed the first two games of the season. It's likely he is a week away from returning after practicing just once in the lead up to this Sunday's game.
Cornerback Chris Harris and linebacker Von Miller are listed as probable, as is receiver Brandon Stokely. Harris and Miller were both limited at times in practice this week. Stokely, listed as having a shoulder injury, was a full participant in practice this week.
As is always the case when the Denver Broncos play now, the spotlight is on Peyton Manning, but it is the team on the other sideline that should be getting the attention. Even Peter King can't stop talking about Manning, but eventually he gets around to the 2-0 Houston Texans and says that the pass rush should be enough to propel the visitors to a win on Sunday.
[Manning] needs to use his tight ends on shorter throws and be a chain-mover, not a mad bomber. Even if he does that in this game, the pressure he'll face from the Texans -- from Connor Barwin, Brooks Read and J.J. Watt, mostly -- will be more than enough to throw him off his game.
The Texans have made minced meat of Florida so far this season, beating the Dolphins and Jaguars handily, but the Broncos are their first real test. The Houston pass rush that King notes has six sacks on the year, which is good, but not outstanding.
What will be more interesting is the Texans' attempts to run the ball. They are off to a good start on the ground, averaging 150 yards rushing per game, but the Broncos defense is allowing just 2.6 yards per rush this year.
The Broncos face a tough task in facing the top-ranked Houston Texans defense, so fantasy players could have rough numbers to match.
Expert picks for Sunday's Houston Texans-Denver Broncos game have the road Texans taking this game.
Denver Broncos starting right guard Chris Kuper continues to rehabilitate the broken forearm he sustained during training camp in mid-August, and so sat out Thursday's practice. Kuper is probably still at least a week away from returning to game action, though he did practice on Wednesday.
Other than Kuper, Denver's team health remains good. Cornerback Chris Harris was limited in practice Thursday, but is expected to be available against Houston Sunday. Linebacker Von Miller was a full participant, after taking limited reps on Wednesday.
For Houston, linebacker Brian Cushing was a limited participant in Thursday's practice with a rib injury. Linebacker Tim Dobbins sat out with a hamstring injury. Bryan Braman, Brooks Reid and Antonio Smith were also limited for the Texans.
Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith will become the 23rd member of the team's Ring of Fame during halftime of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. Smith is the franchise's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Smith won two Super Bowls, made three Pro Bowls and was a two-time All-Pro in his Broncos career from 1995-2006. In the Broncos' 34-19 win in Super Bowl XXXIII, Smith had 5 receptions for 152 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown reception. Smith went undrafted and was cut by the New England Patriots in 1994 before catching on with Denver in 1995.
Team owner Pat Bowlan, who announced the honor in May, had this to say to the team's official website:
"Players like Rod don't come through your door very often, but he came through ours every day with a purpose and hunger to be great," Bowlen said in a statement at the time. "Rod's production and numbers - as outstanding as they were - paled in comparison to his commitment to winning and the respect he commanded from each and every one of his teammates throughout his career. Emerging from an undrafted player to one of the best to ever play his position, Rod has truly earned his place among the greatest Broncos of all time.
"I am thankful for everything Rod contributed to this franchise during his time with the Broncos, and I congratulate him on his well-deserved election to the Ring of Fame."
For more news and notes on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report. To read more about the Texans, be sure to take a look at Battle Red Blog. Check out SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.
Not every book appears to be the same, as some favor the Texans by just 1 point, but others are giving them 3 points. The over-under point total is set at 46 points. The 2-0 Texans are averaging 28.5 points per game, while Denver is averaging 26. Houston's backfield of Arian Foster and Ben Tate give the Texans the sixth-ranked rushing offense.
While those numbers don't seem to match up with the over-under, it is defense that is dictating that line. While Denver ranks a respectable eighth in total defense, Houston is the best in the league, giving up a stifling 196 yards per game on the young season.
The Denver Broncos (1-1) enter Sunday's contest with the Houston Texans looking to deliver the road team its first loss of the season. Denver already experienced that in Week 2 with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Peyton Manning threw three interceptions in the first quarter, an uncharacteristic happening, before the team attempted a rally in the fourth quarter, which fell short.
But that was on the road for the Broncos. They are back at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday, where they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-19, in the season opener. A few better throws by Manning, another 100-yard rushing performance by Willis McGahee and the strong defense Denver has had to start the season (No. 8 in total yards allowed) and the Broncos could be in the win column again.
However, the Texans have allowed the fewest yards (392) and points (17) through Week 2. Defensive lineman J.J. Watt has three of the team's sacks. In addition to the stout defense, quarterback Matt Schaub has completed 69.7 percent of his passes and the ever-dangerous running back Arian Foster has rushed for 189 yards and three touchdowns already.
Can Peyton Manning recover from Monday's lackluster performance? Will Von Miller, Champ Bailey and the rest of the defense stifle Houston's offense?
Prediction: Broncos 27, Texans 24 - We've seen Good Manning and Bad Manning so far this season. In-between Manning will show up this week, but Matt Prater winds up kicking a field goal for the Broncos.
For the first time in 2012, the Denver Broncos will have a game that isn't in the prime time spotlight when they face the Houston Texans in Week 3 action. Hosting Matt Schaub and the powerful Texans' offense outside of the limelight that is Sunday or Monday Night Football may be a good thing. The Broncos need every advantage they can get as they try to push a bad loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 behind them.
Elsewhere in the NFL, other big games include a matchup between two upstart teams, the Eagles and Cardinals, and a big AFC East match between the Jets and Dolphins, before the Patriots take on the Ravens -- two teams looking to shake off surprising Week 2 losses.
Here is the full slate of games for Week 3, all times given are Mountain:
Thursday, Sept. 20
Sunday, Sept. 23
Monday, Sept. 24
The full NFL schedule for the entire season can be found over at SI.com.
The Broncos will try to bounce back from a Monday night loss to the Falcons when they host the very tough Houston Texans in Week 3.
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