Broncos' unreal Hail Mary touchdown can't save them from crushing loss to Commanders

00:46 18.09.2023 - New York Post, Associated Press

DENVER - Washington cornerback Benjamin St-Juste didn't flinch after Brandon Johnson snared Russell Wilson's 50-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass off a double deflection with no time remaining Sunday.

That cut Washington's lead to 35-33.

St-Juste said he figured, "OK, we got one more opportunity to shut this down and come up with a 'dub.'

"So, we locked in and made the play," said St-Juste, who appeared to get away with pass interference when he broke up Wilson's 2-point conversion throw to Courtland Sutton, preserving the Commanders' come-from-behind win. Washington rallied from an early 21-3 deficit to take a 35-24 lead, then had to hang on with no time on the clock.

CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore said it looked like St-Juste made enough early contact for a foul, but Brad Rogers' crew didn't throw a flag and the Commanders celebrated the franchise's first 2-0 start since 2011.

The Broncos (0-2) have lost back-to-back home games for the first time, not the kind of history coach Sean Payton was hoping to make in his return to the sideline after a year in the broadcast studio following a highly successful 15-year stint in New Orleans, especially after he criticized predecessor Nathaniel Hackett for doing one of the worst coaching jobs in NFL history last year.

The Broncos lost despite scoring touchdowns on their first three drives for the first time since 2010. Their 18-point blown lead tied for the fourth-largest at home in franchise history.

"This is a resilient team," Washington's Sam Howell said after throwing for 299 yards and two TDs in his first road start. "The thing I'm proud of is we had each other's back on both sides of the ball."

Brian Robinson Jr. added two TD runs, helping the Commanders to the second-biggest comeback in franchise history. Washington overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Detroit on Nov. 4, 1990.

(via @NFL )

- ESPN (@espn) September 17, 2023

The Commanders used a 32-3 scoring outburst to take control before the Broncos made it interesting at the very end.

With 2 seconds left and the Broncos at the 50-yard line trailing 35-27, Wilson heaved a pass toward the end zone that was deflected by a scrum of players before Johnson snared it for the score.

Wilson threw for 308 yards and three TDs but also had two turnovers.

The last time Denver scored TDs on each of its first three drives was on Nov. 14, 2010, against Kansas City, a game the Broncos went on to win 49-29.

Payton got the ball into his young speedsters' hands early on, and it paid off with undrafted rookie Jaleel McLaughlin scoring on a 5-yard pitch, rookie receiver Marvin Mims Jr. hauling in a 60-yard touchdown pass and second-year wideout Johnson snaring a 16-yard score.

None of the three touched the ball again until Mims got a handoff midway through the third quarter with the score tied at 21.

Mims had two catches for 113 yards on two targets but wasn't thrown to again after Denver's third possession and spent much of the rest of the game on the sideline.

"Some of it's coverage-driven and some of it is just based on what we're in," Payton said. "We're in a couple of different personnel groupings, so part of that is coincidence, I would say. We had a number of guys we're trying to get the ball to and we will keep doing that."

Mims also had a 45-yard punt return, giving him 168 all-purpose yards on five touches.

"Any time he can touch the football is a good thing for us," Wilson said.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 12:46 PM /

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Commanders defeat Broncos after holding off miracle comeback attempt on the road

Russell Wilson's Hail Mary worked, but the two-point conversion needed to tie didn't.

Sam Howell threw for two touchdowns and the Washington Commanders rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Denver Broncos 35-33 on Sunday, holding on after Russell Wilson connected with Brandon Johnson on a 50-yard Hail Mary but failed to complete the tying 2-point try.

Washington cornerback Benjamin St-Juste broke up Wilson's pass to Courtland Sutton on the 2-point conversion attempt. St-Juste appeared to get away with pass interference, but no flag was thrown and the Commanders celebrated the franchise's first 2-0 start since 2011 while Sutton and his teammates argued vehemently for a foul.

Howell threw for 299 yards on 27-of-39 passing in his first road start and led Washington to the second-biggest comeback in franchise history. ..... 

The Commanders trailed 21-3 in the second quarter. Brian Robinson Jr. ran for two scores during a 32-6 scoring outburst before the Broncos made it interesting at the very end.


The Broncos jumped out to their big lead by scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions for the first time since Nov. ..... 

Robinson's 2-yard TD run with 13:25 left gave Washington its first lead at 28-24 and his second score, from 15 yards out, made it 35-24 with 7:11 remaining.

The game turned when Howell threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Logan Thomas on fourth-and-goal and safety Kareem Jackson was ejected for launching himself at the tight end, who suffered a concussion on the play and didn't return. Jackson also drew a 15-yard flag in the opener for a hit he put on Raiders receiver Jakobi Meyers.

With the flag moving the conversion try to the 1, Washington went for 2 and pulled within 21-11 when Robinson got the ball past the plane. Joey Slye's 46-yard field goal as the first half expired made it 21-14.

The Commanders tied it on Terry McLaurin's 30-yard TD grab on their first drive after halftime.


Commanders: Thomas didn't return after suffering a concussion on his TD. ... Broncos: S Delarrin Turner-Yell, who replaced Jackson after he was ejected, sustained an undisclosed injury early in the fourth quarter and went to the locker room. He was replaced by DB Essang Bassey.

Commanders secure victory over Broncos despite Hail Mary comeback

In a thrilling game on Sunday, the Washington Commanders managed to rally from an 18-point deficit to secure a nail-biting 35-33 victory over the Denver Broncos. The Commanders' comeback was led by quarterback Sam Howell, who threw for two touchdowns in his first road start.

The Broncos got off to a blazing start, scoring touchdowns on their first three drives, a feat they hadn't accomplished since 2010. Undrafted rookie Jaleel McLaughlin, rookie receiver Marvin Mims Jr., and second-year wideout Brandon Johnson all found the end zone early on, giving the Broncos a comfortable lead.

However, the Commanders showed their resilience and determination by mounting a comeback. With Howell at the helm, Washington managed to score 32 unanswered points to take control of the game. Howell's poise and accuracy were on full display as he threw for 299 yards on 27-of-39 passing.

One of the turning points in the game came when Howell connected with tight end Logan Thomas for a 4-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal. The play resulted in a concussion for Thomas and an ejection for Broncos safety Kareem Jackson, who launched himself at the tight end. This controversial moment sparked heated arguments from Sutton and his teammates, who believed pass interference should have been called.

Despite the controversy, the Commanders capitalized on the opportunity and pulled within 21-11 after successfully converting a 2-point attempt. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. crossed the goal line, giving Washington the momentum they needed to keep pushing forward.

As the game entered the final minutes, the Broncos made a desperate attempt to mount a comeback of their own. With just 2 seconds left on the clock and trailing 35-27, quarterback Russell Wilson launched a Hail Mary pass towards the end zone. The ball ricocheted off a scrum of players before Johnson hauled it in for a miraculous touchdown.

The Broncos were now just two points away from tying the game, but their hopes were dashed when St-Juste broke up Wilson's 2-point conversion throw to Sutton. St-Juste appeared to get away with pass interference, but the referees did not throw a flag, allowing the Commanders to hold on for the win.

Despite the loss, coach Sean Payton remained optimistic about his team's performance. Payton praised the resilience of his players and acknowledged the success they had early on in the game. However, the blown lead and back-to-back home losses were disappointing for the Broncos, who were hoping to make a statement under Payton's leadership.

The Commanders celebrated their first 2-0 start since 2011, while the Broncos were left pondering their missed opportunities. The game served as a reminder of the unpredictability and excitement that NFL football brings, leaving fans eagerly awaiting the next thrilling matchup.

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