DENVER — Brandon McManus kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime after missing one at the end of regulation, and the Denver Broncos prevented an answer from the Bengals, beating Cincinnati 20-17 Monday night.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler threw for a touchdown and led the overtime drive ending in McManus’ game-winning field goal, helping the Broncos (11-4) clinch a playoff berth.
Denver running back C.J. Anderson added a 39-yard touchdown run.
The Broncos’ defense put the finishing touch on the game when a shotgun snap went through the arms of Cincinnati quarterback AJ McCarron and linebacker DeMarcus Ware recovered the fumble, ending the overtime possession for the Bengals (11-4), who also are playoff-bound.
Denver had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but McManus shanked a 45-yard field try wide left, sending the game into overtime.
Osweiler finished 27 of 39 for 299 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. McCarron completed 22 of 35 for 200 yards with one scoring pass and no interceptions.
Trailing by 11, the Broncos aired it out to open the third quarter, marching 81 yards largely on the strength of Osweiler’s passing. He finished off the drive with an 8-yard pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who broke through cornerback Adam Jones’ tackle near the goal line for Denver’s first touchdown of the game with 10:14 left in the period.
It was Denver’s first second-half score in four games, and it would not be the team’s last, though the Broncos turned to their running game.
After the Broncos’ forced a punt, Denver took over on its 48. Osweiler passed 13 yards to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and before handing off to Anderson. With the middle clogged, Anderson darted to his left, broke the tackle of defensive end Wallace Gilberry near the line of scrimmage and sprinted 39 yards down the left sideline, eluding two more tackles before going in for the score to put Denver up by three with 11:17 remaining.
Cincinnati evened the score on kicker Mike Nugent’s 52-yard field goal with 6:46 left to play.
The Bengals stopped Denver’s subsequent drive when they forced Anderson to fumble at the Cincinnati 26-yard line with about four minutes left. It was recovered by Bengals safety Reggie Nelson.
However, the Broncos’ defense again forced a punt.
Displaying veteran-like efficiency from the outset, McCarron led long touchdown drives in each of the first two quarters, giving the Bengals a 14-3 halftime lead. Cincinnati missed a chance to go up even more when Mike Nugent was wide right with a 45-yard field-goal try late in the second quarter.
Denver didn’t get on the scoreboard until McManus kicked a 23-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Sanders had a 35-yard reception to the Bengals’ 21, but the drive stalled after a second-down sack of Osweiler by defensive end Carlos Dunlap, leading to the field goal.
McCarron completed five passes for 47 yards on the Bengals’ opening possession, including a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver A.J. Green, who outjumped cornerback Aqib Talib to make the catch in the corner of the end zone.
Later, Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu took a direct snap from center and swept around left end behind a wall of blockers and waltzed into the end zone untouched from 6 yards out.