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Broncos earn 11-10 come-from-behind prime-time win over 49ers

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By Aric DiLalla – DenverBroncos.com

DENVER — The Broncos needed a little Mile High magic on Sunday night against the 49ers.

And just when it seemed the team was poised to drop a prime-time matchup, they got it.

Despite turning in an offensive performance that featured nine three-and-outs and just three points until the late stages of the game, the Broncos found a way to earn a 11-10 win over San Francisco.

As the Broncos’ offense struggled for most of the contest, the defense did its part to keep Denver in the game. After allowing a first-quarter touchdown on the second drive of the game, the Broncos earned stops on eight consecutive 49ers drives. They also scored a pair of points for Denver, as they forced Jimmy Garoppolo out of the end zone for a safety.

Trailing 10-5 after the 49ers tacked on a field goal in the fourth quarter, Denver’s offense finally found its footing. Russell Wilson led the Broncos on a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter, and Melvin Gordon III powered his way in from five yards out for the go-ahead score and Denver’s first red-zone touchdown of the year.

The win was in no way pretty, but it pushed the Broncos to 2-1 on the season and into a tie for first place in the AFC West.

These were the players and plays that made the difference in a prime-time win:

GAME-CHANGING MOMENT

The Broncos’ offense hadn’t accomplished much in the game, and the team looked in danger of another breakdown on third-and-10 from its own 33-yard line with just over eight minutes to play. On that third down, though, Wilson scrambled around and worked his magic. He avoided a pair of defenders before hurling the ball down the field to Kendall Hinton for a 27-yard gain. After Wilson scrambled for another first down and then found Courtland Sutton for a first down, Gordon did the rest.

Denver’s defense then found a way, as it forced turnovers on back-to-back drives to ice the game.

DEFINING STATISTIC

8.

Following the 49ers’ touchdown drive on their second drive, the Broncos’ defense held San Francisco without a point on eight consecutive drives. During that stretch, the unit forced a fumble, caused a safety and allowed just five total first downs in that stretch. It was a borderline dominant performance and kept Denver alive. For good measure, the Broncos’ defense came up with a pair of stops at the end of the game.

MEMORABLE HIGHLIGHT

Midway through the third quarter, the Broncos’ defense took advantage of a situation in which the 49ers were backed up. On second-and-10 from their own 2-yard line, Garoppolo dropped back to pass and accidentally stepped on the end line. The safety earned the Broncos two points, but it also cancelled out a Bradley Chubb pick-six. After Garoppolo stepped out, he released the ball — and Chubb stepped in front to pick it off. It was a rare safety where the Broncos likely wished Garoppolo had kept his footing inside the white lines.

TOP PERFORMERS

Josey Jewell returned from injury to lead the team in tackles and post a sack, a pair of tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a fumble recovery.

Jonas Griffith made the game-sealing interception following a deflected pass.

Courtland Sutton nearly posted another 100-yard game, as he finished with a team-high eight catches for 97 yards.

Kendall Hinton made a critical third-down catch — his only reception of the game — for 27 yards on the go-ahead drive.

Denver’s defense earns a collective nod, as they held San Francisco to 1-of-10 on third down and forced three turnovers — including two at the end of the game.

In a field-position battle, punter Corliss Waitman and the Broncos’ punt-coverage unit made plays again and again to pin the 49ers deep in their own territory.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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