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Broncos’ defense comes up clutch in ugly win over 49ers

broncos’-defense-comes-up-clutch-in-ugly-win-over-49ers

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It wasn’t the cleanest of games, but the Denver Broncos came away with a low-scoring victory, 11-10, over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. 

The clock kept ticking, and it didn’t look like either team was going to find the end zone after Brandon Aiyuk scored the first touchdown of the game on the 49ers’ second drive in the first quarter. But Russell Wilson finally looked like his vintage self on a drive in the fourth quarter that led to Melvin Gordon III finding the end zone on a one-yard run.

It was the Broncos’ first touchdown in the red zone all season to make it 11-10, as Denver couldn’t convert on the two-point conversion to push their lead to three. 

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Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos rushes during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Empower Field At Mile High on September 25, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos rushes during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Empower Field At Mile High on September 25, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Just a field goal away from taking their lead back, the 49ers were driving until a deflected pass intended for Deebo Samuel from Jimmy Garoppolo ended up in the hands of Broncos linebacker Jonas Griffith. 

Then, on the last 49ers drive, the Broncos got themselves another turnover. Jeff Wilson Jr. had the ball punched out for a fumble recovery by Denver and all they needed to do was kneel out the rest of the clock. 

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A crucial moment also came in the third quarter where Garoppolo stepped out in the back of his own end zone, causing a safety. At the time, it was a savior because Bradley Chubb had picked him off and ran into the end zone for what would’ve been a pick-six. 

But that safety was a decisive play as it made the score 7-5, and Denver would score to ultimately edge out the win by a single point.

While it may not have been the prettiest of victories, the Broncos will certainly take being tied for the AFC West lead with the Kansas City Chiefs at 2-1 on the season. The 49ers fall to 1-2. 

Denver Broncos linebacker Randy Gregory (5) gestures after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was called for a safety during the second half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.

Denver Broncos linebacker Randy Gregory (5) gestures after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was called for a safety during the second half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Wilson finished the game with 184 yards on 20-for-33 with no touchdowns or interceptions. His favorite target in this one was Courtland Sutton, the veteran wide receiver that hauled in eight of his 10 targets for 97 yards, including a great back-shoulder throw from Wilson that he took inside the 10-yard line on that game-winning touchdown drive. 

While Gordon scored the touchdown, running back Javonte Williams led in carries with 15, totaling 58 yards on his chances. 

Aiyuk’s touchdown came on the sixth play of San Francisco’s drive, a quick three-yard pass from Garoppolo that led him into the end zone. Aiyuk finished the game with three receptions for 39 yards and the score. 

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Samuel had five catches for 73 yards, while Wilson had 75 yards on 12 carries. 

Garoppolo finished the game 17-for-28 with 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The Broncos’ offense is hoping to get some more points on the board against an AFC West foe, the Las Vegas Raiders, who are still searching for their first win of the season next week. 

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San Francisco has to wait until Monday Night Football for another primetime game, this time facing their NFC West rival, the Los Angeles Rams. 

Scott Thompson is a sports writer for Fox News Digital.

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