The Washington Redskins certainly gave the Denver Broncos more than they bargained for or might have expected, but the NFL's best offense could only be held down for so long.
Despite holding a 14-point second-half lead, the Redskins eventually succumbed to the Broncos' multi-faceted attack, dropping to 2-5 on the season after a 45-21 loss.
Early on, it certainly looked like Denver would have a field day against Washington's depleted secondary, missing both Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty. On their first drive of the game, Manning dissected the Redskins' defense with surgical precision, completing all five of his passes for 57 yards, culminating with Wes Welker's six-yard touchdown catch, his ninth of the season.
The Redskins, however, regrouped and were able to hold off the Broncos for the rest of the first half. Washington forced Denver to punt on its next three possessions following Welker's score, and on the Redskins' fifth drive of the game, they were finally able to get on the scoreboard with 25 seconds remaining. Kai Forbath and the special teams unit were on the field to attempt a field goal, but the Broncos had too many men on the field, giving the Redskins another opportunity to tie the game. They did as Robert Griffin III found Leonard Hankerson from seven yards out, wrapping up a 16-play, 95-yard drive that took just over seven minutes.
Denver's seven points at halftime were its fewest of the season to date.
Washington's defense took control to start the third quarter. First, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo combined to strip Manning and recover the fumble, which led to Alfred Morris' touchdown run to give the Redskins a 14-7 lead. On the following drive, DeAngelo Hall intercepted Manning's first pass, returning it 26 yards to extend the Redskins' advantage to 21-7.
That lead barely lasted as Denver scored 38 unanswered points, including 17 within the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Touchdown catches by Joel Dreessen and Knowshon Moreno and a field goal following a Griffin fumble gave the Broncos a 31-21 lead. The teams then traded interceptions with the Broncos getting the better of the situation as Demaryius Thomas' 35-yard touchdown grab gave them a commanding 38-21 lead.
Griffin was mediocre at best, throwing for 132 yards, one touchdown and two untimely picks and rushing for just seven yards on five carries. He left the game as a precaution late in the fourth quarter after being roughed up on the hit preceding his second interception. Kirk Cousins made his season debut in relief, then threw a pick-six to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as a once-competitive game turned into an absolute laugher.
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