15:00: The Broncos are back to receive the ball, as New Orleans won the coin toss and received to start the game. It’s a 22-yard return for Peyton Hillis and the Broncos have a first-and-10 at the 30.
14:24: An incomplete pass and a two-yard run make it third-and-8 for the Broncos. Jay Cutler steps back and tries to find Brandon Marshall near the sideline but throws it low, and Marshall can’t quite dive for it. Brett Kern is out to punt it away. New Orleans tries a block formation and the Broncos do a good job of blocking for the 49-yard punt. Bush is back for the return and he finds some space near the sideline and brings it back to the New Orleans 36.
13:58: Drew Brees finds his fullback, Mike Karney, who is tackled by D.J. Williams after a one-yard gain. Williams amkes another big hit on second down, taking down receiver Lance Moore immediately after he caught the ball, bringing up a third-and-6 for the Saints.
12:39: Elvis Dumervil beat his man off the line and he and Jarvis Moss collapse in on Brees as he lets the ball go — over his receiver, being covered by Champ Bailey.
The resulting punt goes into the endzone after Eddie Royal lets it go over his head, and the Broncos will have a first-and-10 from the 20.
11:45: Royal takes a pass for five yards to set up a second-and-5, and after being pressured out of the pocket Cutler scrambles up the middle for the first down.
11:14: Andre Hall bursts up the left side for a gain of five after an incomplete pass on first down, bringing up third-and-5. Royal goes in motion left to right, then Denver calls its first timeout of the half with 10:30 remaining in the third quarter.
10:30: Play resumes and Marshall is out right, Royal is out left and Brandon Stokley goes in motion in the slot beside Marshall. It’s a draw play to Selvin Young, who takes the handoff and picks up enough for the first down.
9:52: Cutler sees Marshall, who has found some open space near the sideline, and launches the ball his way as pressure is closing in. The ball flies just over Marshall’s head, and Cutler stays squatted on the field, disappointed in the throw. After a false start penalty, it’s second-and-15 and Michael Pittman takes the handoff for 8 yards, setting up a third-and-7.
9:15: Cutler lofts the ball down the left sideline and it’s caught by Brandon Marshall as he’s being pushed out of bounds. There’s a flag on the play, however — pass interference on Jason David. It’s a 22-yard penalty and the ball is on the New Orleans 28.
9:02: Cutler rolls right on a play-action pass and finds Marshall at the goal line, well-covered. He puts the ball in Marshall’s hands but on the way back down he can’t keep the handle.
8:50: On the very next play, Cutler finds a well-covered Marshall on the left sideline — this time Marshall comes away with it and avoids a tackle, bringing the ball to the 16-yard line.
8:22: Cutler avoids a sack by throwing the ball as he’s being tackled just out of the reach of Selvin Young. On the next play, Andre Hall carries the ball all the way to the two-yard line, setting up a first-and-goal before being pushed out of bounds.
7:56: The offense is huddled just inside the 10-yard line. Kory Lichtensteiger is once again reporting eligible. Michael Pittman is in the backfield and takes the handoff from Cutler up the left side. He sprints in untouched for the touchdown. Matt Prater jogs in from the sideline to kick the extra point. He knocks it through the uprights and the Broncos extend their lead over the Saints, 31-19.
7:37: Prater’s kick goes through the endzone, and the Saints will take the ball at their own 20. The crowd is fired up for the defense and Boss Bailey comes sprinting into the backfield from his outside linebacker spot. Brees lets loose a pass deep to Robert Meachem — a 74-yard completion that sets up first-and-goal for New Orleans.
7:08: After a New Orleans timeout, the Saints have a first-and-goal from the six-yard line. INVESCO is loud, but Reggie Bush takes the pass on the right side and beats the defense to the sideline in for the touchdown. Martin Gramatica is in to attempt the point after, and it’s good. The Saints trail the Broncos by five — 31-26.
It was a 35-second drive for the Saints — two plays, 80 yards.
7:02: Andre Hall takes the kickoff deep in the endzone for a touchback, and the offense comes back onto the field. On first down, Cutler turns around quickly and gets a wide receiver screen pass to Marshall. He gets just past the first down marker, but an offensive pass interference call on Daniel Graham during the set-up for the screen brings it back.
6:12: Royal catches a pass from Cutler for four yards and it sets up third-and-7 from the 23-yard line.
5:33: Royal lofts a pass to Marshall down the right sideline, who has Mike McKenzie beat. He hauls in the pass and sidesteps McKenzie and a diving safety and runs into wide open field for what looks like a touchdown, but the refs emphatically signal that he stepped out of bounds. Regardless, he waves to the crowd in the endzone to get excited, and they give him a standing ovation after the 33-yard reception.
4:11: An Andre Hall run on first down and a Marshall catch on second set up another first down at the New Orleans 22-yard line. The Saints call a timeout — their second of the half.
Cuter takes the snap, fakes a handoff to Hall and finds Royal in the corner of the endzone, past Mike McKenzie — but his feet come down out of bounds, bringing up second-and-10. Cutler’s pass is complete to a wide-open Selvin Young out of the backfield and he picks up seven yards before being pushed out of bounds.
3:00: On third-and-three, Michael Pittman is stopped behind the line on a quick handoff from Cutler. Matt Prater is in to attempt a 34-yard field goal and he drives it home as two Saints dive at his feet. Denver now leads New Orleans 34-26.
2:14: Spencer Larsen is back in the game and he makes the stop on the kickoff at the 24-yard line. On first down, the Saints run a reverse to Reggie Bush, but Boss Bailey lays the hammer and drops Bush with a big hit after two yards.
1:32: Boss is in on the next tackle as well, dropping Pierre Thomas after four yards, setting up a third-and-4. The crowd is making a lot of noise as Brees drops back and finds Jeremy Shockey for a four-yard gain and a first down for the Saints.
0:04: The crowd is still into it on first down, and Brees tries to find a man downfield, but Champ Bailey dives in and breaks up the pass at the last second. Reggie Bush takes the handoff for two yards and is tackled by John Engelberger as the third quarter comes to a close.
The Broncos lead it 34-26.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com