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Week 14 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 38, Houston Texans 24


What you need to know

Denver Broncos

Drew Lock's rookie debut was a success as he picked up three first half touchdowns and led the Broncos to a win over the stunned Texans. Lock spread the ball around a little more than the previous signal-callers. Stud receiver Courtland Sutton had a slow day, but still led the team in targets and nearly picked up a touchdown. Phillip Lindsay continues to lead the backfield in touches. Rookie tight end Fant posted his second game of 100+ yards and had a beautiful touchdown catch, but he left the game in the 2nd half with a foot injury.

Houston Texans

WR Will Fuller sat out this game due to a lingering hamstring injury, which allowed Keke Coutee to be active.

WR Kenny Stills took Fuller's spot in the lineup but was only targeted twice the entire game.

Denver Broncos

QB Drew Lock, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 27 - 309 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0
Lock came out red hot to throw three touchowns in the 1st half before cooling off a bit at the end of the game. He hit Noah Fant for 48 yard gain up the right sideline on his first pass attempt of the game. He finished the drive off with a laser pass to Fant in tight coverage for his first score of the day. Lock led another scoring drive in the second quarter, with a big completion to Tim Patrick down the left sideline and another big gain to backup RB Booker. Lock capped the drive with a touchdown to Jeff Heuerman on an out route that Houston just didn't cover very well. Lock tacked on another score before halftime with a beautifully executed misdirection play that left Royce Freeman wide open for a short touchdown pass. Lock slowed down in the 2nd half, tossing an interception into double coverage while looking for Sutton in the end zone midway through the 3rd quarter.

Lock picked up a few yards with his feet, with a long scramble of 11 yards in the 3rd quarter.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 51 - 1, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)
Lindsay had another slow day on the ground, but did punch in a short touchdown run in the 3rd quarter after Courtland Sutton was tackled at the 2 yard line. He outcarried Freeman 16-8. Lindsay had an early receiving touchdown called back for a penalty on-you guessed it- Garrett Bolles. Lindsay's two other targets were corralled for a minimal gain.

RB Royce Freeman, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 24 - 0, Rec: 2 - 8 - 1 (2 targets)
Freeman received just half the carries that Lindsay did, but he scored on a nifty misdirection play at the end of the 2nd quarter. A WR motioned to join him in the backfield and then faked the handoff while Freeman leaked across the formation, leaving him wide open for an easy TD pass from Lock.

RB Devontae Booker, 2 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (2 targets)
Booker worked into the backfield rotation sparingly. He had a 25 yard catch and run out of the backfield in the 2nd quarter, but lost a yard on his only other target of the day.

WR Courtland Sutton, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 34 - 0 (7 targets)
Sutton had a slower day with Lock spreading the ball more than Denver's previous quarterbacks. Sutton couldn't get anything going downfield, with his longest catch being an 11 yard gain on a WR bubble screen in the 3rd quarter. Sutton sniffed the end zone when he took a slant down to the 2 yard line later in the 3rd. Lock's interception was thrown in Sutton's direction, but the fault was the QB's for throwing into double coverage. Though he didn't rack up the stats he has in recent weeks, Sutton still led the team with 7 targets and should be fine going forward with Lock.

WR Tim Patrick, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 50 - 0 (3 targets)
Patrick looked explosive as he and Lock connected for a big 38 yard gain down the left sideline in the 2nd quarter. He picked up one more decent gain on a slant route, drawing 3 targets total on the day.

WR DaeSean Hamilton, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (4 targets)
Hamilton worked in the slot with Patrick and Sutton on the outside. He snagged a crossing route for a nice gain during the last drive of the 1st half and picked up 27 yards with a deep crossing route in the 3rd quarter. Hamilton's 4 targets were tied with Fant for second highest behind Sutton.

TE Noah Fant, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 113 - 1 (4 targets)
Fant opened the game up with a huge catch and run down the right sideline for a 48 yard gain on Lock's first pass attempt. He capped the same drive with a beautiful leaping touchdown catch, towering over a defender in the end zone for the score. Fant caught a short checkdown pass in the 2nd quarter and turned it into a 28 yard gain with a nice run after the catch. Fant slipped a tackle and racked up even more yards after the catch on a 3rd quarter out route. Fant unfortunately left the game later in the 3rd with a foot injury. Backup tight end Troy Fumagalli saw snaps and targets in Fant's absence.

TE Andrew Beck, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 29 - 0 (1 targets)
Beck worked primarily as a fullback, leading the way for Lindsay and Freeman. He got loose on a crossing route in the 1st quarter for a 29 yard gain on his only target of the day.

TE Jeff Heuerman, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 1 (1 targets)
Heuerman worked as the number 2 tight end and made his only target count, scoring in the 2nd quarter on an easy out route from Lock.


Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 50 - 292 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 6 - 44 - 2
It was a slow day for Deshaun Watson, who had to work for everything that he threw for on Sunday against the Broncos defense. Watson looked confused at times and struggled to find open receivers. Watson threw two interceptions on the day. One was tipped at the line of scrimmage into a defensive backs arms while the second was a last-ditch effort in a comeback late in the 4th. Watson's fifty pass attempts were due to the Texans being behind the entire game, but he did hit DeAndre Hopkins wide open for a 43-yard touchdown pass. Hopkins was wide open on an over route that no one covered him on. Also, Watson scored on a six and three-yard touchdown runs in garbage time late in the game. The stats looked good in the touchdown department, but overall it was a down day for Watson and the Texans offense.

RB Carlos Hyde, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 73 - 0, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (3 targets)
The Texans continue to use Carlos Hyde as their primary back, and he was able to rush for 73 yards on the ground, which was his best output in over a month. Hyde's longest run was 13 yards, and he averaged 5.2 yards a carry. Hyde is a non-factor in the passing game for the Texans, but he did have two reception for five yards on the day.

RB Duke Johnson, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 6 - 40 - 0 (8 targets)
Duke Johnson started the game for the Texans at running back, and he continues to get more involved with the offense as the season wears on. Johnson had seven total touches for 41 yards, and most of his work came in the passing game. Watson, when he looks his way, allows Johnson to eat up yards due to his ability to beat linebackers one-on-one. His longest reception came for 11 yards, but there are plenty of opportunities for Johnson to get the ball if Watson would look his way in the passing game.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 80 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 12 - 0, Rec: 7 - 120 - 1 (13 targets)
DeAndre Hopkins is one of the few skill players that showed up for the Texans, and he had a 43-yard touchdown reception when the Broncos left him wide open on an over route across the field. Hopkins continues to do what he does best, catch passes, and eat up yards. When Watson doesn't have Will Fuller on the field, Hopkins ends up being Watson's insurance plan, and it more times than not ends up being big days for Hopkins.

WR Keke Coutee, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 68 - 0 (8 targets)
With Will Fuller down, Keke Coutee was active for the first time in two games. Coutee had a costly fumble that was returned for a touchdown that flipped the entire game in favor of the Broncos. Coutee had 68 yards receiving, and most of it was on the catch and ran out of the slot. Coutee has all the ability to be a playmaker in the slot, but physical and mental mistakes have plagued him as a player.

TE Jordan Akins, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 49 - 0 (9 targets)
Akins had 49 yards receiving on the day and has slowly become Watson's primary target in the passing game at the tight end position. Even with Darren Fells and Jordan Thomas on the field, Akins is getting the looks in the passing game. Akins' ability to break tackles makes him a good option for the offense to eat up yards when they need vital plays.