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Why it happened: Broncos 24, Bengals 10

Because they turned takeaways into points

The Broncos relied upon winning the turnover battle in the previous two games, and they pulled it off again Sunday, with two takeaways in a 2:31 span setting up a quick 14-0 run after halftime.

The first, a muffed Alex Erickson punt return that Dymonte Thomas recovered at the Cincinnati 33-yard line, set up a 30-yard Case Keenum-to-Courtland Sutton touchdown pass two plays later.

Four plays after the second takeaway — a Justin Simmons interception of a pass that Jeff Driskel optimistically lobbed into the red zone — Lindsay galloped 65 yards behind blocks from Garett Bolles and Billy Turner for the touchdown that extended Denver’s lead to 21-3.

Simmons, who was working at slot cornerback as well as base-package safety following Harris’ injury, was in perfect position for the pass — which lingered in the air for longer than some punts. All that time made Simmons’ task harder.

“I thought it was too much time. I was uncomfortable,” Simmons said. “For a minute I thought I was going to throw my hand up and just fair-catch it. It was a lot of time. The ball hung up in the air. I think [Driskel] felt pressure and just threw it off his back foot.”

But Simmons still reeled in the pass, setting up the Broncos’ third touchdown of the day.

Running back Royce Freeman also fumbled in the third quarter for the Broncos’ first giveaway since Week 9, but in the fourth quarter, Bradley Chubb forced a fumble of his own, stripping the football from Driskel. Chubb eventually recovered, allowing the Broncos to salt away the game.

Because the Broncos successfully played the field-position game

Lindsay’s 6-yard second-quarter touchdown run — the first score of the game — was set up by Denver’s decision to accept a third-down holding penalty.

With the Bengals facing third-and-29, Giovani Bernard ran 17 yards on a draw play, setting up what would have been fourth-and-12 from their 38-yard line. Bengals center Billy Price drew a downfield holding penalty, and the Broncos chose to accept it, putting the Bengals in third-and-35 from their 19-yard line, rather than decline the penalty and take the fourth down.

Bernard gained 4 yards on the replay of the down, effectively turning fourth-and-12 into fourth-and-31. That 19-yard difference helped the Broncos start at their 45-yard line after the ensuing Kevin Huber punt, and they turned their best field position of the day to that point into their first score, marching 55 yards in eight plays to Lindsay’s touchdown.

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