Sam Howell threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and Brian Robinson added two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter as the visiting Washington Commanders rallied past the Denver Broncos for a 35-33 win on Sunday.
Russell Wilson gave Denver a chance when he completed a 50-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Brandon Johnson, who came down with the tipped ball in the end zone with no time left.
But on the 2-point conversion try, Benjamin St-Juste broke up Wilson’s pass intended for Courtland Sutton to preserve the wild win for Washington (2-0).
The Commanders surrendered touchdowns on the Broncos’ first three possessions and fell behind 21-3 before staging their comeback and denying Sean Payton his first win as coach of the Broncos (0-2).
In his third NFL start — all Washington wins — Howell completed 27 of 39 passes to fuel the Commanders’ rally. Robinson added 87 yards on 18 carries.
For the Broncos, Wilson completed 18 of 32 passes for 308 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Wilson sparked Denver early, throwing touchdown passes of 60 yards to rookie Marvin Mims Jr. and 16 yards to Johnson.
But after getting torched early, the Washington defense rose. Jamin Davis forced a tide-turning fumble by Wilson in the second quarter that was recovered by Cody Barton.
Nine plays later on fourth-and-goal, Howell threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Logan Thomas. A two-point conversion run by Robinson and a 49-yard field goal by Joey Slye drew the Commanders to within 21-14 at the half.
Early in the second half, Terry McLaurin rose between two defenders in the end zone to make a sensational 30-yard touchdown reception, tying it 21-21.
Wil Lutz gave Denver a 24-21 lead with a 31-yard field goal. But Washington responded with a 75-yard drive on just six plays to take the lead for good.
A 27-yard run by Robinson and a 36-yard gain on a screen pass to Antonio Gibson set up Robinson’s 2-yard touchdown run to put Washington up 28-24.
Robinson followed with a 15-yard touchdown run that increased the lead to 35-24 with 7:11 left.
Denver followed with a drive to the Washington 1. But Montez Sweat sacked Wilson and later combined with Chase Young on another sack, forcing Denver to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Lutz with 1:50 left.
The Denver defense gave Wilson another chance, stopping Washington on a three-and-out. But St-Juste had the last word.