It wasn’t the typical type of day for the Broncos, but the end result was what the team wanted, as they topped the Buffalo Bills 24-17 to move to 10-3 on the season.
The Broncos pushed around the NFL’s #1 run defense, showing they have the beef up front to play with just about any team.
C.J. Anderson ran for three touchdowns in the win, and the passing game led by Peyton Manning was not the dominant self that it normally is.
Manning’s streak of 51 straight games with a touchdown throw — three shy of Drew Brees‘ NFL record — ended on a sun-splashed, almost still afternoon with the game-time temperature a balmy 63 degrees.
Despite three turnovers, the Broncos won their third straight game and are in control to host a playoff game and get a much-needed bye week come the postseason.
Manning finished 14 of 20 for 173 yards with two interceptions. His top receiver, Demaryius Thomas, was held to two catches for 11 yards, and tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) was active but didn’t play for the third straight week.
Former Broncos and now Bills QB Kyle Orton: 38 of 57 for 355 yards. He led the Bills (7-6) on two long TD drives in the fourth quarter after they’d fallen behind 21-3.
Manning threw two interceptions deep in Buffalo territory and tight end Jacob Tamme fumbled at the Bills 10-yard line. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have come down to David Bruton Jr.’s recovery of an onside kick in the final minute.
With Manning out of sorts, Anderson bailed out the Broncos with TD runs of 6, 1 and 3 yards. The latter score followed a 47-yard burst by fellow undrafted tailback Juwan Thompson.
The Bills turned it over twice, including Chris Harris’ Jr.’s goal line interception in the third quarter. That led to a 50-yard field goal by Connor Barth.
Orton connected with Chris Hogan on a 14-yard score with 10:46 remaining to make it 24-10. Buffalo punted on fourth-and-2 from its 16 with 5 1-2 minutes remaining. The gamble paid off when Denver went three-and-out.
Orton drove the Bills 90 yards in 17 plays, converting two fourth downs before taking it in from the 1 with 55 seconds left.
None of that mattered, as the Broncos were able to get the win, and keep streaking as they get set to hopefully make a postseason run that will end with another Super Bowl birth.
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