7:50 P.M. CST: Here comes the second quarter.
7:52 P.M. CST: Forwards, then backwards … Broncos get up to the Texans 39 on a third-down pass to Daniel Graham, then back to the 43 after a Mario Williams sack, a play that saw Cecil Sapp unable to hold off the 2006 No. 1 overall pick.
7:53 P.M. CST: Broncos now in third-and-8 at the Houston 37 .. right in the heart of no man’s land … then Jay Cutler tosses a dart to Brandon Marshall across the middle … Thirteen yards and a first down at the Houston 24.
7:55 P.M. CST: Javon Walker moves the Broncos into the Houston red zone … Gets the catch, turns upfield and has the Broncos in third-and-1 at the Houston 15.
7:56 P.M. CST: Travis Henry and Selvin Young now platooning.
7:57 P.M. CST: Broncos take a delay-of-game penalty, nullifying a Cutler scramble … Denver back at the Houston 18 with second-and-15.
7:58 P.M. CST: Selvin Young had no chance on the swing pass there … He loses five yards after being drowned by a red tide of Texans.
7:58 P.M. CST: Third-and-20 at the 23 … Cutler in the shotgun … to the end zone … looking for Tony Scheffler, but Will Demps nearly intercepted it.
7:59 P.M. CST: Broncos settle for a 41-yard Jason Elam field goal, his 11th straight successful field-goal attempt … Denver trails, 7-3, with 8:49 left in the quarter.
8:02 P.M. CST: After having a splendid game on kickoff coverage last week, the Broncos are off to a shakier start tonight … Andre Davis weaves his way upfield with a 50-yard return of a 63-yard kickoff … Houston will start this series at the precipice of field-goal range … the Denver 43-yard-line.
8:05 P.M. CST: Lickety-split, the Texans are across the precipice and at actual field-goal range, moving to the Denver 23 after a 20-yard Sage Rosenfels-to-Andre Davis connection up the middle.
8:06 P.M. CST: Second-and-10 at the Denver 23, and Rosenfels had Vonta Leach … but the pass is just a bit too far. Hamza Abdullah nearly had a shot at the interception but couldn’t snag it.
8:07 P.M. CST: Kenny Peterson gets the drive-stopping paw on the pass … Kris Brown from 41 yards out … Good … The kickoff return directly yields three points; Denver trails, 10-3, with 7:38 left in the quarter.
8:12 P.M. CST: Broncos set to take over at their 24-yard-line … Field-position discrepancy working against the Broncos tonight, thanks to Houston’s success on kickoff returns.
8:13 P.M. CST: Cutler-to-Marshall gets the Broncos to their 35, gain of 12 … He’s pushed out of bounds by Anthony Weaver … and every time I hear the last name “Weaver,” I think of the “Wheel of Fish” from UHF.
“Are you ready, Weaver?”
“I sure am, Kuni.”
“OK, you get up and spin the Wheel of Fish!”
Click here if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
8:14 P.M. CST: Broncos on the move … A Texans penalty and another Marshall reception have them at the Houston 44.
8:15 P.M. CST: It’s all Marshall on this drive … 43 yards on three receptions so far.
8:17 P.M. CST: Looked like Fred Bennett hit Javon Walker a little early on second-and-12 … no call … Third-and-12 from the 29 sees Cutler look for Marshall in the left side of the end zone but he can’t hang on … Jamar Fletcher was there with a disrupting influence.
8:18 P.M. CST: Jason Elam’s 47-yard field-goal attempt is good … Broncos trail 10-6 with 4:31 left in the quarter.
8:20 P.M. CST: Fifty-nine yards on that kickoff … Andre Davis returns it 25 yards to the Houston 34.
8:21 P.M. CST: Average drive-start position so far:
HOUSTON: HOU 31.4
DENVER: DEN 16.6
8:23 P.M. CST: Houston with third-and-7 at the Denver 48 … Nearly intercepted by Dre’ Bly as Rosenfels looked for Kevin Walter across the middle.
8:24 P.M. CST: Good awareness by Dre’ Bly to run with the football after it bounced into his hands off a Texan who tried to down it … Broncos at their 23 to start this drive following the 10-yard return.
8:26 P.M. CST: Back to Marshall again to start this drive … add a five-yard face-mask call against Will Demps and the Broncos are at their 36.
8:27 P.M. CST: Daniel Graham has a sprained left ankle and is questionable to return.
8:29 P.M. CST: Marshall already has eight catches for 80 yards.
8:30 P.M. CST: Coming out of the two-minute warning, Cutler looked for Marshall but threw it squarely to Demps, who dropped the potential interception.
8:31 P.M. CST: Third-and-9 … Cutler throws as he fades back; he doesn’t get set, and the pass goes behind Chad Mustard on a crossing pattern … Cutler had little time to throw; his pocket collapsed before it formed.
8:32 P.M. CST: Texans take over with 1:43 left at their 25 … A first-down pass to Owen Daniels — I’ve always thought his name sounded like a golfer’s rather than that of a football player — falls incomplete.
8:33 P.M. CST: Darius Walker picks up two yards up the middle … Texans have third-and-8 at their 27 … Clock draining to 1:12, 1:11 … Rosenfels finds Walter two yards short of the first down … Broncos take a timeout with 56 seconds left before halftime.
8:35 P.M. CST: Broncos will start at their 33-yard-line after the punt. They have 47 seconds left with which to trim the lead or take it outright.
8:36 P.M. CST: A short completion, a sack of Cutler, and we’re at halftime.