Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos: Week 3 Live Score, Video and Analysis

Clint DalyContributor IISeptember 23, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass against the Houston Texans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Are the Denver Broncos among the elite teams in the NFL?

It doesn't look like it after the Broncos fall at home to the Houston Texans 31-25.

At least not yet.

The Denver offense struggled for most of the day to generate any points. They finally caught fire in the fourth quarter to make it close but ran out of time.

Hey, the Texans are one of the top teams in the league so losing by just six points isn't too bad is it?

But it was the way they lost.

Denver barely moved the chains until the fourth quarter. They were just 6/17 on third down. The Denver running game was virtually non-existent managing just 59 yards. Running back Willis McGahee left the game with an apparent rib injury but he hadn't been much of a factor anyways.

Peyton Manning was repeatedly forced to look downfield at receivers who could not get open. And sometimes even when they did they couldn't hang on to the ball. Demaryius Thomas dropped two balls. Eric Decker had a drop as well. 

On the other side of the ball the Denver defense was extremely porous until Houston decided to change to a more conservative style. They allowed 442 total yards and gave up nearly ten yards per pass. The defense repeatedly was beaten downfield on long passing plays. Running back Arian Foster ran for 105 yards on 25 carries and quarterback Matt Schaub went 17/30 for 290 yards and four touchdowns. The defense allowed Houston to convert on fifty percent of their third down attempts.

You can choose to look at this game as another game against a very good team that just came up short.

But I'm starting to see a trend. 

A defense that can't generate a pass rush. A running game that is very average. Wide receivers that are unable to create separation from their defenders. And just too many mistakes. The Broncos were flagged for seven penalties that allowed for 75 yards.

This game was not as close as the final score may indicate. 

They may improve, and I know this early part of the schedule is very difficult, but if the Broncos don't start to get better they will not be a legitimate contender this season.


Texans 31 Broncos 25