The Broncos’ special teams were a disaster from the start in their blowout loss to the Patriots. On Sunday, they wasted little time righting a few wrongs.
Shaquil Barrett blocked a punt after the Broncos’ defense forced a three-and-out on Cincinnati’s opening drive, setting Denver up at the Bengals’ 29-yard line.
It was the third blocked punt or field goal of the season for the Broncos, tying for the NFL lead.
It looked like the jolt the Broncos needed to finally flip the trend of disastrous first quarters. Instead, it was a precursor to pain.
The Broncos moved to the 4-yard line before Brock Osweiler was intercepted in the end zone by Dre Kirkpatrick, who returned it all the way to the Denver 1-yard line. The Bengals scored three plays later, missing the extra point, to take a 6-0 lead.
The Broncos fumbled a punt return, gave up a kickoff return touchdown and had a punt blocked in the 41-16 loss to New England. The Broncos used Jordan Taylor and Emmanuel Sanders on punt returns against the Bengals after benching rookie Isaiah McKenzie and avoided any turnovers.
The Broncos did give up a blocked field goal on Brandon McManus‘ 61-yard attempt to end the first half.
Peko strong vs. old team. Domata Peko greeted members of the team with which he spent 11 seasons with, then went about trying to batter them.
Peko, the 12-year veteran who signed with the Broncos in the offseason, had a strong performance Sunday, registering two tackles for losses in the first half as part of a strong day for the Broncos’ defensive line. Peko’s push up front helped Denver create some pressure (two sacks, four hits) on quarterback Andy Dalton.
But the result, a seventh straight loss, was hard to swallow.
“This one hurt a lot more because it’s the old team,” said Peko, who was named a game-day captain and extended his streak of consecutive games started to 122. ” … It was really emotional. I was there for a decade, 11 seasons. That’s all I knew. For me to lose today, it really hurt.”
Peko has become one of the most popular players in the Broncos locker room, and his teammates said they were hurt they couldn’t help him come up with an emotional win against his old team.
“He plays with such emotion for this team,” defensive tackle Adam Gotsis said. “It hurts to see him hurt.”
Traylor impresses in debut. Broncos tight end Austin Traylor made his NFL debut Sunday and had four catches for 36 yards. Both marks were third-highest on the team.
Traylor, who played at the University of Wisconsin, was on the practice squad of four different teams in 2016 before making Denver’s practice squad this season out of training camp.
He was activated to the active roster Saturday after the Broncos waived tight end A.J. Derby.
Footnotes. Quarterback Trevor Siemian, a team captain and previously the Broncos’ starting quarterback, was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Bengals. Paxton Lynch was the backup QB to Osweiler. Joining Siemian on the inactive list were tight end Jeff Heuerman (knee), running back De’Angelo Henderson, cornerback Lorenzo Doss, offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, linebacker DeMarcus Walker and McKenzie. … Demaryius Thomas tied Shannon Sharpe for the second-most career receiving touchdowns as a Bronco with 55. They both sit behind Rod Smith. … The Broncos reported 3,399 unused tickets Sunday. “Honestly, you could kind of feel in the stadium there was no energy,” linebacker Brandon Marshall said. “It was like, ‘It’s real quiet in here.'”