Broncos’ backups no match for Buffalo in 42-15 preseason loss – The Denver Post


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Good thing the Broncos’ backups don’t have to play the Buffalo Bills’ backups this season.

The Bills scored touchdowns on their first six possessions Saturday, all but one with starting quarterback Josh Allen not on the field, en route to a commanding 42-15 preseason win over the Broncos.

The Broncos close the preseason next Saturday at home against Minnesota.

Between now and then, general manager George Paton and coach Nathaniel Hackett have to figure out if they have the right players in the right spots on the depth chart. The performance against the Bills was that messy.

The Broncos played three projected offensive starters (right guard Quinn Meinerz, right tackle Calvin Anderson and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam) and two on defense (defensive end DeShawn Williams and outside linebacker Malik Reed). Buffalo, meanwhile, played 10 starters on offense and six on defense.

It showed.

The Broncos led 3-0 after a 12-play, 64-yard opening drive capped by McManus’ 33-yard field goal.

From then on, it was all Buffalo.

Allen was 3 of 3 for 45 yards in his only series, capped by an extend-the-play, 28-yard touchdown strike to Gabe Davis.

Allen exited, but several of his key skill players stayed on the field for old friend Case Keenum, the Broncos’ quarterback in 2018.

Keenum’s first drive went 80 yards over eight plays, capped by Zack Moss’ two-yard touchdown run to make it 14-3. Keenum started the possession with completions of 19 yards to Gabe Davis and 26 yards to Stefon Diggs, followed by a 14-yard run by Singleton. Three plays later, Keenum converted a third-and-4 from the 11 with a nine-yard pass to O.J. Howard.

The Broncos’ backups answered on the ensuing drive. The key play was receiver Kendall Hinton drawing a 15-yard face-mask penalty on rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam on third-and-2. But the drive stalled and McManus was good from 43 yards.

Buffalo made it three touchdowns in as many drives to stretch its lead to 21-6 with 4:31 left in the first half. Rookie James Cook ran 19 yards, Keenum threw 22 yards to Khalil Shakir and after a Bills penalty negated a touchdown, Keenum threw 12 yards to Cook. Moss scored on a one-yard touchdown carry.

Wait, there was more Bills offense before halftime.

Leading a two-minute drive, Keenum had completions of 11, seven, 12, 10, five and 25 yards to set up his seven-yard touchdown toss to Howard with 13 seconds left in the half.


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