DENVER — The Denver Broncos extended their winning streak to 10 games and kept alive their hopes of a potential No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a 34-12 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday evening.
The Broncos (12-3) scored 17 straight points at the start of the second half to build their three-score advantage over the Browns (5-10).
Denver kicker Matt Prater converted a 41-yard field goal attempt which gave the Broncos a 34-12 lead over the Browns with 1:55 left to play in regulation.
Second-year Browns wide receiver Greg Little caught a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colt McCoy and closed the Denver advantage to 31-12 with 7:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Little caught a pass on the left side of the field and extended his arms to get the ball across the goal line for the score. It was Little’s third touchdown of the year and McCoy’s first of the season.
McCoy entered the game after starting quarterback Brandon Weeden suffered a right shoulder injury earlier in the second half. After initially being listed as “questionable” for a return to the game, Weeden was downgraded to “out” during the 10-play, 80-yard drive.
Denver fullback Jacob Hester rushed for a one-yard touchdown and extended the Broncos’ advantage over the Browns to 31-6 with 12:11 left to play in the fourth quarter. The two-play, 19-yard drive was set up by a Browns turnover and aided by a pass interference penalty.
After the Browns’ defense forced a Denver punt, Joshua Cribbs fumbled the return and the Broncos recovered at the Cleveland 19-yard line. On the first play after the turnover, Browns defensive back Buster Skrine was penalized for pass interference in the end zone, which moved the ball to Cleveland’s one-yard line.
Prater converted a 27-yard field goal attempt and extended the Broncos’ lead to 24-6 over the Browns with 14:53 remaining in regulation. Prater’s kick capped off an eight-play, 39-yard scoring drive that took 3:22 off the game clock.
On the strength of three Peyton Manning touchdown passes, the Broncos held a 21-6 lead over the Browns after three quarters of play.
Denver wide receiver Eric Decker caught his second touchdown pass of the game from Manning and the eight-yard score extended the Broncos’ lead over the Browns to 21-6 with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter.
The Broncos faced a first-and-goal from the eight-yard line after an illegal formation penalty, and Manning found Decker on the left side of the field. The receiver then fought his way through a pair of Browns defenders for the score.
With the scoring pass, Manning now has 72 career games with at least three passing touchdowns, which ties him for first all-time with former NFL quarterback, Brett Favre.
Browns kicker Phil Dawson converted a 53-yard field goal and cut the Broncos’ lead to 14-6 with 11:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Dawson’s 53-yard make was his longest of the season and the sixth from at least 50 yards this year. Since the start of the 2011 season, Dawson has converted 12 field goals of at least 50 yards.
Earlier in the nine-play, 45-yard drive, Trent Richardson passed Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jim Brown, for the most rushing yards by a rookie in Browns history. Richardson broke the record, which was set in 1957, with a nine-yard run.
With two first-half touchdown passes from Manning, the Broncos held a 14-3 halftime lead over the Browns.
Decker caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Manning and extended the Broncos’ lead to 14-3 over the Browns with 12:40 left in the second quarter.
On third-and-nine from the Browns’ 10-yard line, Manning took the shotgun snap and looked to his left, where he found Decker dragging his route along the back of the end zone. Even with Sheldon Brown in coverage, Decker went up in traffic and pulled in his team-leading 10th touchdown pass of the season.
The Broncos’ second touchdown drive of the day covered 80 yards in 15 plays and took 6:55 off the game clock.
With a touchdown pass on their opening drive, the Broncos led the Browns, 7-3, after the first quarter of play from Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Manning threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead over the Browns with 12:10 remaining in the first quarter.
On third-and-four, Manning took a shotgun snap from center Dan Koppen and threw the ball deep down the left side of the field for Thomas, who ran underneath the pass and caught in as it got past the outstretched arms of Brown.
Manning drove the Broncos 80 yards in eight plays and took 2:50 off the first-quarter clock.
The Browns answered when Dawson converted a 27-yard field goal attempt and cut the Broncos’ lead to 7-3 with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter of play. Dawson’s 27th field goal of the season and 303rd of his career capped off a 14-play, 63-yard drive that took 7:35 off the first-quarter clock.
Game Recap is presented by Giant Eagle, the Official Supermarket of the Cleveland Browns.
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