The Broncos fell to the Texans on Sunday by a final score of 31-25.
A 6-yard touchdown completion from quarterback Peyton Manning to tight end Joel Dreessen made things interesting late, but Houston came up with a crucial third down completion from quarterback Matt Schaub to wide receiver Andre Johnson on the following series.
Denver forced a punt three plays later to give the offense one last chance. Taking over at their own 14-yard line with 20 seconds to play, Manning found wide receiver Eric Decker for 16 yards to set up a desperation attempt, but the Broncos were unable to cross midfield on a short pass and the ensuing laterals on the game’s final play.
Denver led 5-0 in the early going before Houston put together three consecutive scoring drives to go up 21-5. Two of those drives featured long touchdowns by Matt Schaub, who found wide receiver Andre Johnson for 60 yards for the Texans’ first touchdown of the game. Later in the first half, Schaub came up with another long touchdown pass, this one covering 52 yards to wide receiver Kevin Walter.
The Broncos responded with a pair of field goals before halftime, but were never able to cut Houston’s lead to less than six points.
Houston scored the first 10 points of the second half to take their biggest lead of the game at 31-11. Down by 20 points, Denver answered with a 2-play, 49-yard scoring drive that made it 31-18. The Broncos added another touchdown drive to get to within one possession, but Houston was able to prevail thanks to the key conversion on third-and-5 on the pass from Schaub to Johnson.