LANDOVER, Md. – With quarterback Kyle Orton on the sideline with an injured ankle, the Denver Broncos’ offense couldn’t move the ball in the second half, and the team lost its third straight game.
Denver didn’t score after halftime with backup Chris Simms at quarterback, and lost 27-17 to the Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field. Redskins running back Ladell Betts scored a 1-yard touchdown with 2:44 remaining to break a 17-17 tie. After a 6-0 start, the Broncos have lost to Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington in consecutive weeks.
“You want to feel good,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. “Right now none of us do.”
Orton hurt his ankle on the Broncos’ last offensive play of the first half. He scrambled and was tackled by defensive end Brian Orakpo. Orton twisted his left ankle on the play. He came out of the locker room after halftime with the ankle wrapped, and threw some warm-up tosses, but it was quickly determined he couldn’t go and Simms started to warm up.
Orton said he didn’t know yet if he would play next week against San Diego. He said he hoped to be ready to go. Simms said he didn’t know the extent of Orton’s injury but understood he might have to start in a big AFC West game against the Chargers.
“As of right now, I’m anticipating it, yes,” said Simms, who completed 3-of-13 passes for 13 yards.
Orton started well, throwing two long touchdowns to Brandon Marshall in the first quarter. The Redskins stayed in the game in large part because of a fake field goal. Punter Hunter Smith hit fullback Mike Sellers for a 35-yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14 in the second quarter.
Denver led 17-14 at halftime but the offense didn’t move much with Simms at the helm. In the fourth quarter Simms threw a deep pass to Marshall that was picked off by Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the end zone.
After the interception the Redskins quickly moved into Broncos territory, and receiver Devin Thomas made a couple Broncos miss on a 27-yard completion to the Denver 5-yard line. Betts scored on third and goal to hand the Broncos their third straight loss.
“Crisis? No. Tough spot? Absolutely,” safety Brian Dawkins said. “There’s not too many teams that are going to have a straight shot and not go through some adversity. In those adverse situations, you have to have the fortitude to stand up in them, stand strong in them, and stand together in them.”