It wasn't the result Denver hoped for, but there's a silver lining to New England's 23-14 win at San Diego on Sunday night.
The Patriots (10-3) remain ahead of Denver (10-3) in the race for the AFC's #1 seed thanks to their head-to-head tiebreaker. But the Broncos now have a two-game lead over the Chargers (8-5), and can clinch the AFCW with a win or tie at San Diego next Sunday afternoon.
Kyle Orton outplayed Peyton Manning.
As strange as that sentence seems, what’s stranger is that it doesn’t matter if it’s true.
These Broncos are winning old school. Hey, Denver—1987 called. It wants its passing game back.
Call it Foxball. Call it a commitment to the run. Call it a preference for girls with auburn hair.
Whatever it is, Dan Reeves would be damn proud.
C.J. Anderson scored three rushing touchdowns for Denver, while Peyton Manning and Kyle Orton each threw two ugly interceptions.
If you care about this sort of thing, Manning's streak of games with at least one touchdown pass ended at 51, one shy of Tom Brady and three short of Drew Brees's all-time record. His 20 attempts were by far the fewest he's posted as a Bronco; he'd attempted as few as 26 passes three times with Denver.
Peyton Manning completed half his passes, ended the game with a QB rating of 85.3, and turned the ball over once.
The Broncos won going away.
That’s not how they usually hunt up in Dove Valley. Big game hunting usually requires high caliber weaponry in the form of Manning’s right arm and high-precision scoping in the form of Manning’s mind.
Sometimes, though, you’ve got to go primitive. You’ve got to do things with your bare hands.
Denver matched New England for the best record in the AFC and remained a game ahead of San Diego in the AFCW.
Along with the Broncos and Pats, NFC division leaders Philly, Green Bay, and Arizona are also 9-3.
The Broncos have a chance to pull even with the Patriots for the AFC's best record at 9-3 with a win over KC tonight, thanks to Green Bay's 26-21 win over New England.
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady each threw two touchdowns against no turnovers in their first ever meeting. The Packers won despite going 0-4 in the red zone, instead settling for four short field goals from Mason Crosby.
Sticks and stones may break their bones, but names will give them motivation.
For the two weeks—actually, let’s be honest, it’s been the entire year—the Broncos offensive line has heard the criticisms. They have no cohesion. They aren’t physical enough. They’re out of position.
From left to right tackle—all of them girlie men.
For a week, at least, they came to pump Broncos fans up, piling up 201 yards on the ground.
Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes, including three to Demaryius Thomas.
Despite that gaudiness, C.J. Anderson and Emmanuel Sanders were Denver's biggest stars of the day, amassing a whopping 323 yards from scrimmage.
Oakland (1-10) pulled off the shocker on Thursday night, knocking off the rival first-place Chiefs (7-4) in a 24-20 victory.
The win broke a 16-game losing streak for the Raiders; their last win came November 17, 2013, and that was against a Texans team amidst their own 14-game losing streak.
Derek Carr led Oakland on a late 80-yard scoring drive, throwing a game-winning nine-yard touchdown pass to James Jones inside the two-minute warning.
The Broncos are the Little Red Riding Hood of the NFL.
They’re cute, everyone likes them, and they can even skip through most of the forest of the NFL season without a lot of fear.
Ah, but there’s grandma’s house waiting at the end. And, like the monster waiting in grandma’s bed, the NFL playoffs have one hell of a bite.
Can the Broncos figure out the signs before they are devoured? Grandma’s big teeth? The horrible play of the offensive line. Grandma’s big eyes? The penalties. Grandma’s deep voice? The turnovers.