Familiar problems re-surface, but Broncos overcome errors to beat Houston


They commit too many penalties. They stink in the red zone. They have a coaching staff that needs a crash course in clock/situation/personnel management. And they are continuing to lose key players to injury.

But at least the Broncos aren’t winless.

In a game that was as aesthetically pleasing as watching paint peel, quarterback Russell Wilson’s 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Saubert with 12:37 remaining was the go-ahead score in a 16-9 win/snoozer over the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon. Be relieved the Broncos aren’t 0-2 like Las Vegas and Cincinnati in the ultra-competitive AFC and be optimistic the defense allowed no touchdowns, suggesting they will be able to carry the spinning-their-wheels offense.

Be concerned, though. Nothing on display in the home opener extinguished the concerns created by the loss in Seattle six nights earlier. Is this team playing at the level of division rivals Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers? No. Are they showing some early quality form like Miami? Hardly.

But …

“It’s our first win and we’ll always celebrate our wins because these are hard to get in the NFL,” center Lloyd Cushenberry said. “We know there’s a lot to clean up, but that’s what this whole week is for.”

There is much to clean up. The Broncos aren’t talented enough to consistently win games while struggling in the red zone and committing double-digit penalties. And the coaching staff should not be absolved. They need to be better, too.

The Broncos are playing a maddening brand of football, a style that was costly in Week 1, and will be penal when they punch up in class starting Sunday night against San Francisco.

And the fans let the Broncos hear about it — often and loudly. This is a fan base equal parts spoiled by the Manning Era success and fed up with the last six years.


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