EditorsNote: Minor edits throughout; clarifies some play by play
Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt as time expired and the Houston Texans held on for their sixth consecutive victory, 19-17 over the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
Broncos quarterback Case Keenum passed for 290 yards and a touchdown and completed a crucial 18-yard, fourth-down pass to Emmanuel Sanders to help set the stage for McManus, who earlier missed a 62-yard attempt. Like that errant kick, McManus’ would-be game-winner sailed right.
Ka’imi Fairbairn drilled a 37-yard field goal with 14:06 remaining to give the Texans (6-3) the lead for good. Keenum had pushed the Broncos ahead 17-16 with his 12-yard scoring pass to Jeff Heuerman with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter, the first and only lead for Denver (3-6).
The Broncos limited the Texans to 290 yards. Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 213 yards and two touchdowns, joining Dan Marino and Kurt Warner as the only quarterbacks with at least 35 passing touchdowns in their first 16 career games. DeAndre Hopkins finished with 10 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown for the Texans.
Houston enjoyed a promising start, recording a touchdown on its opening possession for the first time in 13 games. Watson engineered an eight-play, 75-yard march that included two completions for 49 yards to Demaryius Thomas, who was acquired via trade from Denver last Tuesday. Watson found rookie tight end Jordan Thomas on a 7-yard scoring pass for a 7-0 lead.
Houston extended to a 13-3 lead by capitalizing on a Denver fumble, the Broncos’ 12th consecutive game with a turnover. Rookie safety Justin Reid corralled the fumble by Broncos running back Devontae Booker at the Denver 22-yard line. Watson followed with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins with 11:05 left in the second quarter. But Fairbairn missed the subsequent point-after attempt.
Booker redeemed himself with a 14-yard touchdown run with 5:33 left in the half before Fairbairn connected on a 46-yard field goal as the first half expired that lifted the Texans to a 16-10 lead. Denver kept close by forcing a turnover on downs at its 19 early in the second quarter and benefitted from five first-half Texans penalties.
—Field Level Media