Well that was easy…. Wasn't even quite set to start my notes and all of a sudden Orton and Co. are ripping off a 4-play, 67-yard scoring drive with the top end being a 40-yard strike to a wide open Brandon Marshall.
Where was that last week?
Not as pretty – but equally effective – Washington and Jason Campbell roll out a nice 12-play drive that covers 78-yards to grab the tie. Nice mix of ground and air work that had the Broncos backpedaling. Not a huge Redskin fan but a quick glance at some of their cheerleaders and I might have to re-think that.
Broncos catch a break on the kick – Suisham sails it out of bounds, flags fly and the end result is Denver ball on their own 40. Quick strike to Scheffler nails 9-yards, Buckhalter on the ground for a few – back to Marshall on the end around and before you know it the Broncos cross midfield.
OUCH – maybe I spoke too soon – Buckhalter gets it ripped from behind and Washington will take it at their own 31. That hurt… here comes the "D".
Playing it tight – much better coverage in the secondary… Skins go three and out with a one-yard run and two incompletes. Smooth - it's back to Orton and Co.
BAM – nice facial – who says Orton can't throw the long ball. McD opens it up and it's back to Marshall on a 75-yarder for the score. Skins coverage is almost non-existant. Nobody within ten-yards of BM when he made the catch. Broncos open it up 14-7.
Offensive holding on the kick – Skins are marched back to their own 9. Campbell bails them out on 3rd and 4 with a 26-yard bullet to Randle El. Three plays later they're not so lucky – incomplete to Davis and Smith is out to punt.
Quarter comes to a close on a Moreno 5-yarder off the left guard… this is fun.
Orton's grabs a little momentum early but the drive gets jacked by penalties and a near decapitation to Marshall coming across the middle. Look out - it's everybody's favorite punter, Mitch Berger to the rescue – 45-yards to the Washington 34.
Broncos "D" tightens it up again and Skins lock it up with a three and out – Broncos will start the next drive on their own 31. Right back at you – Denver rolls out with their own wasted three and Berger grabs a bit more airtime. Skins take possession on their own 41 thanks to a wicked facemask on Robert Ayers – brutal.
Trailing 14-7 the Skins are pulling out all the stops – nice scramble by Campbell picks up a quick 13. Quick toss to Ganther and Washington is facing first and ten from the Broncos 25. Ground game goes nowhere – out of the shotgun, back to back incompletions and Washington is forced to go for the field goal.
Confusion on the field and Zorn burns a timeout… back for the kick – quick shift before the snap – ball is hiked to Smith (holder) who rolls out right and finds a wide-open Mike Sellers streaking down the left side for a Washington touchdown. Broncos completely bite it on this one… game is tied at 14-14.
Broncos take the kick and LaMont Jordan gets a vicious beatdown by Lorenzo Alexander – that'll leave a mark. Adding insult to injury flags fly on Jarvis Moss for an illegal block and the ball is moved back to the Broncos 11.
Moreno on the ground for seven – Orton to Stokley adds 13 and the Broncos begin the move. Back to Moreno up the middle for 10 and a first. Grounder to Moreno and a short toss to Royal picks up another first – Got a good feeling here…
Back to Royal for another 13 through the air and a short one-yard gain on the ground and the Broncos are looking at 2nd and nine from the Skins 33 at the two-minute warning.
Straight through the hands of Moreno – and it's a must convert situation for Orton. Straight shot to Scheffler for 12 – that's five first downs on this drive… Incomplete to a double-teamed Marshall in the end zone. Back to Marshall for nine and the Broncos are staring down a third and one from the twelve. On the ground to Moreno for a couple – first and goal as the clock continues to roll - under 45-seconds in the half.
Back to back incompletes and an Orton 7-yard scramble brings out Matt Prater for a quick three. Looks like Orton's legs got tangled on the tackle. Replay shows he got twisted up…we'll see how this plays out – Orton limps to the sideline.
First half closes out with the Broncos clinging to a 17-14 lead… I gotta find a drink.
Word has it that Orton is out – Simms will see his first action of the season – so much for shaving the beard. Skins take the second half kick and start at their own twenty thanks to a sweet 70-yard kick by Prater. Campbell out of the shotgun – screen to Davis picks up a quick ten. Betts on the ground gets slammed by Dawkins for no gain. DJ Williams is down on the play and the Broncos faithful are starting to worry…
Short toss to Moss adds three and Washington is looking at third and seven. Campbell's out of the shotgun and the Broncos bring the heat – Dumervil wraps him up for a five-yard sack and the Skins are forced to punt.
Well here comes Chris Simms –first and ten from the Denver 28. Moreno on the ground for nine – nice start. Back to Moreno off tackle for a couple and it's a Broncos first down. Simms rolls out for his first pass of the season – incomplete to Buckhalter. Out of the shotgun Simms hits Gaffney for eight – flags fly on Eddie Royal for pass interference – ball is brought back to the Broncos 29 for 2nd and 20. Moreno busts it on the ground sweep around the right end picks up 17-yards. Back to the shotgun – Simms on a quick toss to Marshall for the first. Simms hits the trifecta – three straight incompletes and Berger's back out for the punt.
WOW – a whopping 16-yards to the Washington 32 – seriously, how does this guy keep his job. Nice act to try and draw the flag though…
Kind of a funky drive on both sides of the ball – nice sack by Andre Davis but the Broncos get robbed of a fumble on the play – officials say forward progress was stopped before the fumble. Replay clearly shows they jacked the call.
Washington moves it down to the Denver 28 – looking at 4th and one. Cartwright around right end – dropped by Dawkins, who delivers a pretty wild elbow slam to top off the tackle. Broncos take over on downs.
Simms' looking rusty – three and out highlighted by a QB sack for a loss of seven on third and eight… offensive line completely collapsed.
Pretty uneventful end to the quarter – Skins are moving the ball however – pounding it out on the ground – Denver "D" is starting to look tired…Third quarter ends with Washington down to the Denver 36.
Campbell moves it all the way down to the Denver 12 but the drive stalls and Suisham splits it down the middle for the tie. Thirty seconds later Suisham digs his own grave – AGAIN – kick fall out of bounds and the Broncos take possession on their own 40. Crowd doesn't seem to be to happy with Suisham at this point – wonder why?
On the ground to Moreno for a short three. Albert Haynesworth is down on the field – looks like he might have gotten his left ankle twisted up. Limps off the field aided by trainers. That could be a huge blow to Washington.
Back to Moreno on the ground – around left end for ten… Simms is facing first and ten near midfield and unloads it for Marshall near the end zone – ball comes up short and DeAngelo Hall grabs the pick. Ball is brought back to the Skins 40 and this could be the beginning of the end for Denver.
Eleven plays later Campbell seals the deal with Ladell Betts on the ground for a one-yard score. Washington opens up a 24-17 lead with 2:44 left on the clock.
Broncos from the 27 – Simms out of the shotgun – incomplete to Graham – incomplete to Moreno – incomplete to Marshall (near pick) brings up 4th and 10. Overthrown to Marshall on the sideline and it's Washington ball on the Denver 27.
Three plays later and it's Suisham for the easy chip shot to rub it in… Skins open up a ten point advantage and the Broncos have got to be embarrassed on this one. Three straight losses and Denver's looking a lot more like the team we thought they were ten weeks ago.
I'm thinking about growing a neck beard...
(Post game notes and quotes to follow)
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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