DENVER – Fall behind by 20. Lose by six. Take away those ugly interceptions and this failed comeback should have felt plenty familiar to Peyton Manning.
For the second straight game, Mannings comeback from way down came up short for the Denver Broncos.
Matt Schaub threw for four touchdowns against a confused Broncos defense Sunday to stake the Houston Texans to a big lead on the way to a 31-25 victory.
We have to learn from this game, address it, be honest, everybody needs to be accountable and try to improve forward, Manning said. Its not the ideal situation. Everybody would love to be 3-0. Thats not the way it is right now.
It is for Houston, which won its first three games for the first time in the franchises 11-season history and beat Manning for only the third time in 19 tries – and for the first time ever in a road game.
Manning finished 25 for 51 for 330 yards with no interceptions and two touchdowns. Both scores and 100 of those yards came after the Broncos (1-2) had fallen behind by 20, the way they did in Atlanta on Monday when their rally came up short in a 27-21 loss.
In that game, the Denver defense couldnt get Manning the ball back at the end. This time, it did, but the drive started at the 14-yard line with 20 seconds left and ended with a lost fumble after Broncos receivers tried lateraling at midfield on the last play.
Manning threw three interceptions in the first quarter of the Atlanta game. This time, it was the Denver defenses mistakes, not his own, that put him in the hole.
Second week in a row we lost by six points, Denver coach John Fox said. Its the second week in a row we started very slowly. Different side of the ball this time.
Schaub took advantage of blown coverages to connect with Andre Johnson for a 60-yard score and Kevin Walter for a 52-yard touchdown en route to a 21-5 lead in the second quarter.
After the second score, starting cornerback Tracy Porter was not seen on the field again. Porter, who returned an interception for a touchdown in Denvers season-opening win opener against Pittsburgh, spent the rest of the game on the sideline. Fox said he had a knee injury.
Schaubs final touchdown was a 14-yard pass to tight end Owen Daniels, who was locked in one-on-one coverage against a slower defender, linebacker Von Miller. It gave the Texans a 31-11 lead – placing the Houston defense in the prevent and Manning into desperation mode.
His best downfield throw was the 38-yard touchdown to Brandon Stokley that pulled the Broncos within 31-18 with 9:49 left in the game. His second score was a 6-yard touchdown that ricocheted into Joel Dreessens hands with 3 minutes left.