Brock Osweiler's return to Denver ended in defeat as his Houston Texans went down to the Broncos 27-9 in the NFL on Monday.
Osweiler, who left Denver in March to sign a four-year, $72million contract with the Texans, finished the game 22 of 41 for only 131 yards.
After giving the Texans a pair of 43-yard Nick Novak field goals, the Broncos shook off an unsteady start by putting together consecutive touchdown drives.
Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian started three of seven for only 15 yards before going seven of eight for 87 yards on the next two series. Siemian finished 14 of 25 for 157 yards and a touchdown.
The Texans lost their starting right tackle, Derek Newton, in the first quarter. It was a pretty ugly injury and Newton was in severe pain as he was carted off the field.
While Siemian did not exactly light it up, the Broncos controlled the game thanks to a dominant ground game, running for 190 yards on 35 attempts and touchdowns from C.J. Anderson and rookie Devontae Booker.
As the Texans were driving for a potential go-ahead score late in the third quarter, running back Alfred Blue was hit by Broncos safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward on a seven-yard run to the Denver 27-yard line. Ward's helmet struck the ball, which popped in the air and was grabbed by Broncos linebacker Todd Davis.
The Broncos converted the game's first turnover into a one-yard Booker plunge seven plays later. It was the first NFL touchdown for Booker, a fourth-round pick by the Broncos in April's NFL Draft.
Anderson rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries. He briefly left in the first half with a sore leg, but returned without missing a beat.
PREPARING FOR BROCK
"It was a lot of fun," Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib told ESPN after the game. "We had a lot of preparation for the Texans, but mostly for Brock. We liked ourselves against their wide receiving corps. We just played our technique and went out there and put hands on them."
The Texans are already without J.J. Watt for the season because of a back injury. Not having the best defensive player in the NFL puts more pressure on the offense, but Osweiler has not been living up to his huge price tag.
His former team, however, are doing fine with the much-cheaper Siemian, a seventh-round draft pick last year. The Broncos snapped a two-game skid after starting 4-0. Denver kept pace with the Oakland Raiders (5-2) in the tight AFC West. With the Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) and the surging San Diego Chargers (3-4) playing well, the division race could come down to the wire.