15:00: The Bills call tails — it’s heads. Denver elects to receive, and the game is almost underway.
Eddie Royal is back deep to receive the Rian Lindell kickoff. He takes it five yards deep in the endzone and takes a knee for a touchback.
Denver will start first-and-10 on the 20.
The starters on offense are Jay Cutler at quarterback, P.J. Pope in the backfield, Ryan Clady, Ben Hamilton, Casey Wiegmann, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris on the O-line, Brandon Marshall and Royal at receiver and Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler at tight end.
14:00: Pope takes the first three carries of the game — picking up three, six, then 20 yards, setting up another first down at the Denver 49-yard line.
He follows that up with yet another carry, taking it for seven more yards up the middle.
12:25: Darrell Jackson finds himself wide open in the middle of the field, and Cutler finds him for a 30-yard reception to the 13-yard line.
11:40: Cutler takes the snap on first down and rolls to his left, running behind blocks of Clady and Hamilton for a pickup of five yards.
Just a quick note on the temperature: At kickoff, it was 17 degrees. That makes it the second-coldest home game in Broncos history. The first was nine degrees in 1972 versus Kansas City. That means it’s the coldest ever at INVESCO Field, and the sixth coldest in team history.
10:32: On first and goal from the Buffalo two-yard line, Cutler fakes a handoff to Pope, who dives over the line drawing all the attention of the Bills defense. Meanwhile, Cutler rolls out to the left and jogs into the endzone untouched for a touchdown.
Daniel Graham was shaken up on the play, delaying the Matt Prater extra point. Once Graham walked off the field, Prater trotted out and knocked the PAT home. The Broncos lead the Bills 7-0.
10:25: Prater’s kickoff lands at about the seven and into the arms of talented special teamer Leodis McKelvin. He finds a seam and heads upfield, only to be taken down by Prater himself at the Buffalo 38-yard line.
The starters on defense are Elvis Dumervil, Marcus Thomas, Dewayne Robertson, Ebenezer Ekuban, Jamie Winborn, Nate Webster, D.J. Williams, Champ Bailey, Dre’ Bly, Marquand Manuel and Josh Barrett.
9:46: After a one-yard Marshawn Lynch run on first down, Bailey blitzes from the cornerback position, catching Trent Edwards totally off guard from behind, sacking him for a loss of five yards and causing a fumble. After a scramble for the ball, Lynch recovers it and the Bills have a third down.
8:42: Edwards’ third-down pass skips on the ground on its way out to the receiver, so Buffalo is forced to punt. Royal is back to receive, but a block in the back penalty sets the Broncos up with a first down from their own six-yard line.
8:00: It’s a two-yard pickup by Pope on first down. On second down, Pope takes another handoff, runs right before finding his hole and sprinting upfield. He hits the hole and picks up two more yards to the 10-yard line.
Third-and-6 for the Broncos. Royal and Tatum Bell are out left, Marshall and Brandon Stokley are right. Cutler takes the snap in the shotgun formation, feels some pressure and rolls out to his right. He decides to take off, picks up a block from Bell and picks up the first down on the 20-yard line.
6:25: Cutler takes the first down snap, fakes a handoff to Bell and gets the ball to Royal on a wide receiver end-around. The Buffalo defense is totally fooled, and Royal picks up 71 yards, weaving from the left side of the field to the right. It looks like he runs out of gas a little at the end, as he’s caught from behind at the 9-yard line.
It’s the fifth 50+ yard play of the season for Royal.
5:38: After the play, Denver takes its first timeout of the half.
Two quick updates: Graham seems to be alright, as he’s already been back in the game for a couple plays. Also, Royal’s run was the longest for any Bronco all season.
5:28: Cutler gets the ball to Marshall for a quick four-yard pickup, setting up second-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Cutler is in the shotgun, takes the snap and tries to find Stokley in the back left corner of the end zone — it’s just off his diving fingertips.
Third-and-goal from the 5 for the Broncos. Cutler is in shotgun again, drops back and lofts it to Tatum Bell, but Bell is hit before the ball gets there — flag on the play. The flag is picked up, however, because Bell was apparently hit behind the line of scrimmage, and by rule there can be no pass interference behind the line of scrimmage.
5:01: Matt Prater jogs onto the field to attempt a 23-yard field goal, and he splits the uprights. The Broncos extend their lead over the Bills, 10-0.
One more update on the Royal run — they keep flooding in — it’s also the second-longest run by a Broncos rookie in franchise history.
4:57: Orange pom-poms are waving after the eight-play, 89-yard drive. Prater is ready for the kickoff, with McKelvin back deep. It looks like he has another seam, but Herana-Daze Jones is there for the stop at the Buffalo 30-yard line.
4:47: On first down, Edwards tries to get a quick pass out to Lynch, but the ball goes off his hands and falls incomplete. On second down, the INVESCO Field at Mile High crowd is chanting “Defense” as Edwards is in the shotgun. He takes the snap, but there’s a flag on the play — false start on Buffalo.
Now it’s second-and-15. Edwards is in the shotgun again, but D.J. Williams sprints past the line untouched and drills him just as he’s backpedaling and throwing. There wasn’t a receiver anywhere near where the ball landed, so it’s insult added to injury for Edwards — intentional grounding, loss of down and a 10-yard penalty from the spot of the foul.
Third-and-25 for Buffalo at their own 15-yard line. Wesley Woodyard and Josh Bell are hyping the crowd as the defense calls and audible and shuffles around a little. Edwards takes the snap in shotgun, gets the ball out quickly to Josh Reed — who is quickly gobbled up by Dre’ Bly after a gain of only two yards.
4:00: The crowd chants “Eddie, Eddie” as Royal is back deep to receive the Brian Moorman punt. Moorman bounces it short of Royal, however, and the ball comes to a stop at the Denver 35-yard line.
The Denver offense takes over, looking to put points on the board for the third consecutive drive.
3:55: Update: P.J. Pope has a left hamstring injury and his return is questionable.
On first down, Cutler takes the snap and hands off to Tatum Bell, who swings it out left and picks up a yard.
On second down, Cutler drops back and finds Marshall in traffic at about the Buffalo 46-yard line. It’s a first down for the offense after the 18-yard gain.
2:43 After a two-yard gain by Bell, Cutler lines up in the shotgun with an empty backfield. He takes a quick drop and fires the ball to Marshall on a slant route. Buffalo cornerback Terrence McGee was closing in quickly, but Marshall skied to make the catch and pick up the first down.
1:17: After an incomplete pass to Royal, Cutler looks back to the rookie, hooking up for an 11-yard gain to the Buffalo 24.
0:00: A three-yard Selvin Young run brings the quarter to a close.
The Broncos lead the Bills 10-0.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com