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Siemian, Broncos ruin Osweiler's homecoming

DENVER -- The lone holdover quarterback from the Denver Broncos' championship season got the better of the one who got away. Trevor Siemian threw for a touchdown and guided four other scoring drives, and the Broncos' defense shut down Brock Oswei...

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian passes in the third quarter against the Houston Texans on Monday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian passes in the third quarter against the Houston Texans on Monday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

DENVER - The lone holdover quarterback from the Denver Broncos' championship season got the better of the one who got away.

Trevor Siemian threw for a touchdown and guided four other scoring drives, and the Broncos' defense shut down Brock Osweiler in his return to Denver in a 27-9 win over the Houston Texans on Monday night.

"I think we said all along that we need balance in this league to have success and keep defenses on their toes," Siemian said. "I think the guys up front did a heck of a job, and I can't say enough about what the two backs did."

Siemian overcame a sluggish start by the Broncos' offense to complete 14 of 25 for 157 yards.

He threw 4 yards to Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown. Running backs C.J. Anderson (16 carries, 107 yards) and rookie Devontae Booker (17-83) finished two other drives with 7- and 1-yard scoring carries, respectively, as the Broncos bounced back from consecutive losses.

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It was a sweet win as well for Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who returned from an illness that forced him to miss last week's loss to the San Diego Chargers. He guided Denver (5-2) past the Texans, a team he used to coach.

Cornerback Aqib Talib presented Kubiak with a game ball following the game.

"Coaches get game balls when players play well. Our players played really well tonight," Kubiak said. "I'm proud of them because I asked them to do some things for me ... and kind of regroup ourselves a little bit. You have to do that in this league sometimes, and they did."

Osweiler, who had a 5-2 record in place of the injured Peyton Manning before being benched in favor of the veteran late in Denver's run to the Super Bowl last year, made virtually no headway against the Broncos' defense. He completed 22 of 41 for just 131 yards, failed to lead his team to the end zone and committed a costly turnover.

"To go out there and have a performance like we did today, it's extremely disappointing," Osweiler said. "But I also think you have to give credit where credit is due, and the Broncos are a great football team. Their secondary and defensive line made it very tough for us to move the football offensively."

While Osweiler struggled throughout, Siemian finished strong.

Late in the third quarter, with Denver ahead just 14-9, Siemian connected downfield with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who made a catch falling backwards for a 31-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal at the 2. Two plays later, Booker bulled his way into the end zone from 1 yard out, extending the lead to 12 points.

On the ensuing Houston possession, Osweiler lost control of the ball as he cocked his arm to pass. The ball fluttered forward, and the fumble was recovered at the Houston 25-yard line by cornerback Chris Harris Jr., leading to a 22-yard field goal by Brandon McManus with 11:37 left.

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Houston failed to mount another challenge the rest of the way.

"I think anytime you're coming up with field goals on every single drive, that's probably not the right recipe," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Against a team like Denver, you're going to have to score touchdowns and we weren't able to do that."

Trailing by eight points at halftime, the Texans (4-3) drove down the field before stalling and settling for a third field goal by Nick Novak, this one a 29-yarder. Houston climbed within 14-9 with 9:09 remaining in the third quarter.

Denver saw three productive offensive plays wiped out by holding calls, including a brilliant downfield catch by Demaryius Thomas, before finally getting untracked to take a 14-6 halftime lead.

Houston got a pair of 43-yard field goals from Novak to take a 6-0 lead, with Denver's defense forcing third-down incompletions by Osweiler preceding each kick.

The Broncos, overcoming a holding call on right guard Michael Schofield, moved 75 yards in 10 plays with Anderson running 7 yards for the touchdown to put Denver up by a point. It was Anderson's fourth rushing TD of the season.

Siemian turned to the air in leading Denver's second touchdown. Sanders had a 29-yard catch-and-run to the Texans' 4-yard line before Siemian hit an open Thomas in the corner of the end zone for the score.

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