Q3 15:00: The Broncos will receive to start the second half.
Q3 14:55: Matthew Willis returns the kickoff to the 19-yard line. Quick note, in just about three quarters of football this season, Kyle Orton is 24-of-35 for 261 yards and four touchdowns to just one interception. That’s a quarterback rating of 116.5. Brady Quinn has now stepped in under center to start the second half.
Q3 14:19: After a 1-yard run by Justin Fargas, Quinn throws a pass intended for Riar Geer that falls incomplete. On third down, he connects with Eric Decker right at the first-down marker — but an illegal formation penalty on the Broncos negates the play. That makes it third-and-14 at the 15-yard line. Quinn lines up in the shotgun, drops back and fires to Lance Ball as he is being brought down. The running back is brought down after a 5-yard gain, bringing in Britton Colquitt to punt. Cassius Vaughn sprints downfield to bring down Tim Toone after a 58-yard punt — Detroit will take over at its own 20-yard line.
Q3 13:05: Shaun Hill is now quarterback for the Lions. First down brings a handoff to Aaron Brown for a 2-yard gain before he’s brought down by Joe Mays. On second down, Hill hands off to Toone on an end around, and Mr. Irrelevant — the final pick in this year’s NFL Draft — picks up 6 yards. On third-and-2, Alphonso Smith is there to break up the pass and force a punt. Perrish Cox is back deep to receive. The rookie fields it at the 20-yard line and takes off downfield. He finds the sideline, cuts back inside and is finally taken down at the Detroit 15-yard line. There’s a flag on the play, however. It’s an illegal formation on the kicking team — the 5-yard penalty is enforced on the end of the run, putting the ball at the 10-yard line, where the Broncos have a first-and-goal. It’s a 65-yard punt return by Cox.
Q3 11:09: After a loss of 2 on a run, the Broncos have a second-and-goal at the 12-yard line. Quinn quickly fires to Decker, who picks up 4 yards. On third down at the 8, Quinn lines up in the shotgun, but he’s taken down before getting a pass off. A flag on the play is holding on the Broncos, but it is declined, and Matt Prater jogs in for a field goal attempt. The 30-yarder is up and in, and the Broncos take the lead.
BRONCOS 17, LIONS 16
Q3 9:46: Prater’s kickoff sails about 3-yards into the end zone, where it is fielded by Toone. The rookie takes it out but he’s taken down by Syd’Quan Thompson at the 18-yard line. On first down, Hill is in the shotgun for the Lions. He fires a pass for a first down to Derrick Williams at the 32-yard line. The offense is called for holding on the ensuing first down, however, pushing the ball back to the 22-yard line.
Q3 8:46: On first-and-20, Hill is chased out of the pocket but throws complete to Dennis Northcutt for a 17-yard gain. Aaron Brown picks up 6 yards on second down to pick up another first down for the Lions. The ensuing first down brings a 9-yard pass. On second-and-1, Jarvis Moss sprints into the backfield for a sack and a forced fumble, which is recovered by the Broncos — Jarvis Green, to be precise. The two Jarvises got it done on that play.
Q3 7:03: The 9-yard sack and subsequent recovered fumble sets the Broncos up with a first down at the Detroit 45-yard line. Fargas picks up 3 yards on first down, then takes another carry on second down for 6 more yards. On third-and-1, there’s a flag on the play — encroachment on the defense, giving the Broncos a first down after the 5-yard penalty.
Q3 5:40: Brady Quinn is sacked on first down, moving the ball back to the 43-yard line and bringing up second-and-22. Orton fakes a handoff then gets the ball right back to Fargas on the next play, and the running back picks up 8 yards. On third-and-14, Quinn fires to Decker, but the rookie is brought down short of the marker. Prater jogs back in for a field goal attempt from the 27-yard line — it’s a 45-yarder — and the kick is no good. Detroit will now take over on its own 35.
Q3 3:33: Will Heller picks up 5 yards on a pass from Hill on first down after Alphonso Smith is there to take him down. Brown takes a handoff for a yard before being taken down by Wesley Woodyard, setting up third-and-4 at the 41-yard line. Hill is in the shotgun and Jarvis Moss is closing fast, but he’s held in the backfield, drawing a flag. The pass is nearly picked by Alphonso Smith, but falls incomplete. The flag is not for holding, however, it’s a personal foul for a facemask on the blocker trying to slow down Moss. That pushes the ball back to the 26-yard line, and the Lions face a third-and-19. It’s a run by Brown, who is brought down after a 7-yard gain. Syd’Quan Thompson is back deep to receive the Nick Harris punt. The rookie gets the ball back out to the 33-yard line.
Q3 1:32: After the 17-yard return, Quinn and the offense are back on the field. Fargas picks up a yard on first down, then Quinn shovels a pass to Fargas for a 3-yard gain as the crowd at INVESCO breaks into the wave. On third-and-5, Quinn lines up in the shotgun, drops back and fires deep toward Matthew Willis, but the pass is over the receiver’s head and brings out Britton Colquitt for a punt. The Broncos are called for delay of game before the punter gets the kick off, but when he does, it flies to the 18-yard line. Cassius Vaughn almost takes Toone down at the spot, but he eludes the first defender before being brought down by Nathan Overbay at the 27-yard line.
Q4 15:00: An 18-yard completion from Hill to DeDe Dorsey at the end of the third quarter gives the Lions a first down at their own 45-yard line to start the fourth.
Q4 14:56: A handoff to Dorsey nets 5 yards, and the Lions pick up a first down after a completion to Dan Gronkowski. Worrell Williams — D.J.’s brother — was in on the tackle. An incompletion brings up second-and-10 at the Denver 43-yard line, and Gronkowski wasn’t looking for the ball, causing another incompletion. On third-and-10, Hill fires quickly to Dorsey, but he’s brought down short of the first-down marker by Johnny Williams and Kevin Alexander. On fourth-and-2, the Detroit offense is still on the field — but the Lions call a timeout.
Q4 13:05: 65,104 fans are in attendance at tonight’s preseason matchup. And all of them are on their feet as the Lions go for it on fourth down — but Hill scrambles for a 5-yard gain and a first down at the 30-yard line.
Q4 12:43: After a 6-yard pickup on first down, the Lions pick up another first down on a completion to Dorsey. At the 15-yard line, Hill fires incomplete to bring up second-and-10. Hill finds Dorsey for a 6-yard gain, bringing up third-and-4 at the 9-yard line. The crowd is getting loud as Hill drops back into the shotgun. The Lions quarterback is forced out of the pocket before firing the ball out of the back of the end zone to bring up fourth down. Steven Hauschka knocks home a 27-yard field goal to give the Lions the lead.
LIONS 19, BRONCOS 17
Q4 10:25: Potentially interesting fact, this is the first time the Lions have played a preseason game in Denver since 1967. On first down, Quinn hands off to Fargas, who is hit hard at the line of scrimmage. It’s a gain of a yard. On second down, Fargas takes a pitch and finds the corner, picking up a handful of yards — but there’s a flag on the play. Holding on the offense negates the gain and pushes the ball back to the 11-yard line. On second-and-19, Quinn fires to a wide open Decker down to the 42-yard line. After the 31-yard gain, Quinn hands off to Bruce Hall on first down. He picks up 6 yards.
Q4 8:10: On second down, Quinn hands off to Hall again, who fights through several tackles all the way to the Detroit 29-yard line. It’s a 23-yard run. The ensuing first down brings yet another handoff to Hall, who gets down to the 17-yard line for another first down. Hall gets the ball once more, but he’s taken down after a yard this time. On second down, Hall takes a handoff for another yard, bringing up third-and-8 at the 15-yard line. Quinn lines up in the shotgun and fires to Decker, but the ball pops out of his hands into the air before falling incomplete. Prater is on the field for another field goal attempt, this one from 33 yards out. The kick is up and in, giving the Broncos the lead.
BRONCOS 20, LIONS 19
Q4 5:19: Prater’s kickoff goes through the end zone for a touchback, and the Lions will take over at the 20-yard line. Drew Stanton is now at quarterback for the Lions.
Q4 5:15: On first down, Stanton fumbles the snap, but falls on the ball for a loss of 7 yards. Second-and-17 is a pass that falls incomplete, but there’s a flag on the play. Two flags, actually. Holding on the offense and pass interference on the defense, but the penalties negate one another. On the replayed down, Stanton tries to find Brian Clark on what looks to be the exact same route, and it again falls incomplete. On third-and-17, the crowd is getting loud. Stanton is in the shotgun, and the quarterback drops back before launching deep to Eric Fowler, who makes an acrobatic catch on the sideline for a first down at the 41-yard line after keeping both feet in bounds.
Q4 4:28: New Bronco Jason Hunter makes the tackle on first down after a 7-yard run, and Jeff Stehle bats down the second-down pass at the line of scrimmage. On third-and-3 at the Detroit 48-yard line, Stanton scrambles first the first down himself. The ensuing first down is a pass from Stanton to Gronkowski for an 8-yard gain. On second down, Stanton lines up in the shotgun and fires a pass that is batted down at the line of scrimmage by Jason Hunter. Worrell Williams was flagged for illegal contact before the pass was thrown, however, giving the Lions an automatic first down at the 31-yard line.
Q4 2:53: Stehle takes down Brown after a 4-yard run, bringing up second-and-6. Stanton hands off to Dorsey on second down, but the back is brought down by Ben Garland after a 2-yard gain. Now on third-and-4 at the 25-yard line, the clock winds down to the two-minute warning.
Q4 2:00: The crowd just finished belting out “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey as the teams step back to the line of scrimmage for the third-down play. Stanton keeps the ball on a designed quarterback run, sprinting up the middle of the field before diving into the end zone for a touchdown. Detroit calls a timeout after the play — the team’s second of the half.
Q4 1:53: Detroit is going for a two-point conversion after the score. Stanton is in the shotgun. He takes the snap and quickly fires to Brian Clark, but Tony Carter was there in coverage to break up the pass. The Lions now lead by five.
LIONS 25, BRONCOS 20
Q4 1:52: The Lions kick the ball out of bounds, giving the Broncos the ball at the 40-yard line, but there was a foul on Denver as well — offsides — negating the play. Hauschka’s second kickoff sails out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Q4 1:47: On first down at the 20-yard line, Quinn quickly finds Marquez Branson, who stays on his feet for a first down. A holding penalty negates the play, however, pushing the ball back to the 10-yard line.
Q4 1:43: On first-and-20, Quinn fires to Decker, who makes several defenders miss on a couple spin moves and gets out to the 28-yard line — an 18-yard gain. On second-and-2, Quinn tries to dump off a pass to Hall, but the running back can’t find the handle, bringing up third down. On the next play, Britt Davis goes up and gets the Quinn pass out of the air for a first down at the Denver 44-yard line. The Broncos call their first timeout of the half. On the next play, Quinn quickly gets the ball to Willis, who sprints out of bounds after a 7-yard gain.
Q4 1:07: On second-and-3, Quinn buys time before finding Hall on a short reception short of the first-down marker. As the clock continues to run, Quinn pushes his way forward on a quarterback sneak for a first down. Denver calls its second timeout of the half.
Q4 0:45: On first down at the Detroit 45-yard line, Quinn is hit as he releases a pass that falls incomplete. That makes it second-and-10, and Quinn is lined up in the shotgun. He scans the field before finding Willis, who picks up the first down and gets out of bounds after the 12-yard gain.
Q4 0:32: Quinn drops back on first down and nearly connects with Willis at about the 15-yard line, but the pass falls incomplete. There’s a flag on the play. There is no penalty, after all — there were 11 men on the field for Detroit. With 26 seconds remaining, Quinn drops back on second-and-10 at the 33-yard line. His arm is hit and the ball pops out — the Lions recover. It’s Korey Bosworth, who spent part of OTAs with Denver. It was Willie Young with the sack and forced fumble. Detroit takes a knee to run the clock out, and the Lions win the game, 25-20.
Denver will be back at INVESCO Field at Mile High to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in their third preseason game this Sunday, August 29.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com