COIN TOSS: The Broncos call heads — and it’s tails. The Titans will receive to start the game.
Q1 15:00: Matt Prater is ready to kick off, and he booms it midway into the end zone, where Tennessee’s returner whiffs when trying to field it, and it bounces out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. The defensive starters are on the field — Perrish Cox and Champ Bailey are at cornerback, Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins are at safety, D.J. Williams, Mario Haggan, Jason Hunter and Robert Ayers are at linebacker and Kevin Vickerson, Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan are on the line.
Q1 14:43: After an incomplete pass on first down, Chris Johnson takes a carry on second down for a gain of two. On third-and-8, Vince Young lines up in the shotgun. He finds a receiver, but it’s a yard short of the first down, bringing out former Bronco Brett Kern to punt. Deep to receive is Eddie Royal. He doesn’t quite get ahold of the punt, and the Broncos will start at their own 43-yard line after the 28-yard punt.
Q1 13:10: A loss of four on a run by Laurence Maroney is the first offensive play of the day for the Broncos. The starters are Kyle Orton at quarterback, Ryan Clady, Stanley Daniels, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris — making his first start of the season — on the offensive line, Maroney at running back, Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd and Royal at receiver and Daniel Graham at tight end.
Q1 12:34: After Maroney’s run, two incomplete passes bring up fourth down, and Britton Colquitt is in to punt. His kick sails to about the 18-yard line before being returned 10 yards to the 28, where the Titans will take over.
Q1 12:28: The first play of the Titans’ drive is a pitch to Johnson, who finds room and picks up 7 yards. Second down brings a quick pass from Young to tight end Jared Cook, who is brought down by Brian Dawkins after a 17-yard gain. Now at the Denver 48-yard line, Young drops back and lofts a pass to Bo Scaife — another completion to a tight end. The 25-yard gain gives the Titans another first down.
Q1 10:34: Ayers bursts into the backfield to take down Johnson for a loss of a yard on first down. On second down, Young drops back into the shotgun and quickly throws the ball away when he sees a blitzing Dawkins in his face. On third-and-11, Young hands off to Johnson on a draw, but the running back is brought down short of the first-down marker. Rob Bironas is in to attempt a field goal — a 35-yarder. It’s no good, and Dawkins sprints onto the field to celebrate with his teammates.
Q1 9:12: After buying time in the pocket, Orton connects with Royal for a 23-yard gain on first down, putting the Broncos at their own 48-yard line. Second down brings a run for no gain by Maroney, who is flipped upside down and the ball comes loose, sending the crowd into a frenzy as it’s returned for a touchdown by the defense — but Maroney was ruled down by contact before the ball came loose. On the ensuing play, Orton quickly finds Lloyd for a 14-yard gain and a first down. On the next play, Correll Buckhalter is stopped for no gain on a run. Second down brings a sack by Dave Ball, and on third-and-15, Cortland Finnegan blitzes for another sack, forcing a Denver punt. Colquitt’s kick bounces in the end zone for a touchback.
Q1 6:02: On first down, Young drops off a pass to Johnson, who is taken down immediately by D.J. Williams. After the three-yard gain, Denver calls a timeout — its first of the half.
Q1 5:18: Johnson finds a little bit of room and makes it count, squeezing out 5 yards on a quick run. On third-and-3, Young connects with Justin Gage for a 14-yard gain and a first down. The two connect again on the ensuing play, earning another first down after a 16-yard gain. Johnson is stuffed after a gain of a yard by Jason Hunter on first down. Second down is a pitch to Johnson, who is tackled by Perrish Cox and Ronald Fields after a gain of 6. On third-and-4, Young finds Nate Washington for a first down. The ensuing play is a run by Johnson, but Mario Haggan is there to rip the ball out of his hands just as Dawkins lays a big hit on him. Ryan McBean picks up the fumble and returns it one yard before being tackled, giving the Broncos the ball at their own 27-yard line. Tennessee is challenging the ruling on the field.
Q1 1:39: The crowd is upset after the ruling on the field is confirmed — Broncos ball. But now the LP crowd is on its feet and screaming as Orton and the offense are back on the field. Maroney is hit hard for no gain on a run. Orton finds Royal for a quick gain of four on second down, making it third-and-6 at the 31-yard line. Orton drops back into the shotgun. He takes the snap and is brought down for the third Titans sack of the day. Colquitt is in to punt, but the first quarter ends before the ball is snapped.
Q2 15:00: Colquitt’s punt is a 39-yarder, which is fair caught at the Tennessee 39-yard line. First down brings an incompletion, and second down is a run by Johnson for a gain of 3. On third-and-7, Perrish Cox is there to break up a pass intended for Kenny Britt, forcing a Titans punt. Eddie Royal catches it at his own 20, returning it 12 yards to the 32.
Q2 13:37: Orton fires a pass deep to Lloyd, who leaps to make an acrobatic catch for a gain of 23. The ensuing first down brings a quick screen pass to Buckhalter, who picks up 8. On second down, Orton tries to find Lloyd but the pass falls incomplete. Third-and-2 has Orton lined up in the shotgun. He’s hit hard at the knees as he lets the pass go — it’s incomplete, but there’s a flag on the play for offsides on the defense, and another flag for roughing the passer. The Broncos accept the latter, moving the ball to the Tennessee 22-yard line.
Q2 11:56: Orton quickly throws a pass to Royal, who sprints up the sideline with a handful of blockers in front of him — good for a 17-yard gain to the 5-yard line. On the ensuing first down, the Titans are called for a neutral-zone infraction. Now it’s first-and-goal at the 3-yard line. Orton drops back and quickly finds Royal in the end zone for the first points of the game. Prater’s extra point is up and in, and the Broncos are on top.
BRONCOS 7, TITANS 0
Q2 11:24: Prater’s kickoff is fielded at the 13-yard line, and the returner — Marc Mariani — gets out to the 29-yard line, where the Titans will take over.
Q2 11:19: Javon Ringer comes in for Chris Johnson on first down, and makes his rep count. He takes the handoff and races 54 yards down the sideline, giving the Titans a first down at the Denver 17-yard line. Johnson is back in for the next play, and he’s stopped after a gain of 2.
Q2 9:57: Young finds Kenny Britt for a 7-yard gain, bringing up third-and-1 at the 8-yard line. The ensuing play is another connection from Young to Britt, this time in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Bironas’ extra point ties the game.
BRONCOS 7, TITANS 7
Q2 9:18: Demaryius Thomas is back deep to return the kickoff.He fields it inside the 5 and bursts to about the 40-yard line, lowering his shoulder at the end of the return. Denver takes over at its own 39-yard line. With Dan Gronkowski in at fullback, Maroney takes a pitch, reverses field and picks up 8 yards. A Titan is down after the play — it’s Derrick Morgan.
Q2 8:54: On second-and-2, Maroney is tackled for a loss of a yard. Now third-and-3, Orton lofts a pass to Maroney, who can’t come away with it, bringing up fourth down. Colquitt sends his punt to the 18-yard line, where Mariani signals for a fair catch.
Q2 7:46: A fake handoff to the left is followed by Young rolling to his right and finding Nate Washington for a 19-yard gain. The next play is a pass over the head of Washington with Bailey in tight coverage — but a flag is thrown, and Bailey is called for pass interference. Tennessee now has the ball at the Denver 34-yard line. Johnson takes a handoff on first down and tries to bounce outside, but there’s a flag on the play — holding on the Titans. It’s now first-and-19 at the 43-yard line, and Young completes a quick pass to Johnson for a 6-yard gain. On second-and-13, Scaife catches a pass for a 2-yard gain. Third-and-11 brings a scramble by Young after he couldn’t find anyone open downfield — but he’s brought down for a loss of a yard by D.J. Williams on the sack. The Titans elect to punt from the 36-yard line, and Kern’s kick sails into the end zone for a touchback.
Q2 4:43: On first down, Orton fires a pass to Maroney, who follows his blockers and picks up 9 yards. Second down brings a quick pass from Orton toward Lloyd, but it’s tipped at the line for an incompletion. On third-and-1, Orton keeps it for a quarterback sneak, picking up the first down. The next play is a play-action pass to Daniel Graham for a gain of a yard. Second-and-9 has Orton lined up under center before completing it to Lloyd for a first down. Maroney picked up a big block in the backfield to give the quarterback time to throw the pass.
Q2 2:30: Orton quickly fires to Lloyd for a gain of 4 yards on first down. Now second-and-6, Orton is in the shotgun, getting the play off just before the two-minute warning. He throws to Lloyd again — the receiver’s fifth catch — for a 12-yard gain and a first down at the 37-yard line.
Q2 1:56: On first down, Orton avoids pressure and tries to get it to Demaryius Thomas, but the pass is broken up by Alterraun Verner. Second-and-10 brings a quick completion to Royal for another first down at the 26-yard line. With the clock winding down, Orton hands off to Maroney, who picks up a big chunk of yards — but holding is called on Stanley Daniels, making it first-and-20 back at the 36-yard line. Orton dumps a pass off to Maroney, who is tackled immediately after a gain of a yard. With less than a minute to play, Orton rolls to his right and keeps running, getting back to just about the original line of scrimmage. It’s now third-and-11, and the crowd slowly rises to its feet. Orton finds Royal, but he’s two yards short of the first down. After a Denver timeout, Matt Prater trots out for a 36-yard field goal attempt. It’s good, and Denver retakes the lead.
BRONCOS 10, TITANS 7
Q2 0:23: Prater’s kickoff is fielded at the 15-yard line, and it’s returned to the 37-yard line. With 19 seconds remaining, Young takes off running, and he’s chased out of bounds at the Denver 45-yard line. Now 11 seconds are remaining, and Young is in the shotgun. The Broncos bring pressure, and Justin Bannan takes down Young just as he throws the pass away. Denver calls its final timeout of the half with six seconds remaining.
Q2 0:06: Young is in the shotgun, and he quickly finds Britt at the 37-yard line and the receiver runs out of bounds with one second remaining. Bironas is in to attempt a 55-yard field goal. It’s up and in, tying the score at halftime.
BRONCOS 10, TITANS 10