Peyton Manning can’t throw in cold weather—unless he can.
That’s the narrative now. Although the temperature hovered around a frigid five degrees for most of the game, the Broncos offense—and Manning in particular—created a blaze so hot, the Titans needed treatment for third-degree burns.
Make no mistake: the Broncos had two plans in this game. The first was to win the game, which they did handily, 51-28. The second was to send a message to the rest of the league: Peyton Manning can not only play in cold weather, he can torch you.
If you’re coming into Denver late in the year, you'd better believe in Santa Claus. That’s because Peyton Manning is Jack Frost.
Wait, don’t the Chiefs win games like this at home?
Turning turnovers into touchdowns, taking kickoffs back for touchdowns, breaking off big runs—these are the things that define the Chiefs.
It doesn’t matter, not when Peyton Manning comes to town, even when Manning breaks bad for a quarter. Manning’s mind is just too good. His arm (no matter how wobbly the passes) simply follows.
The Broncos now stand in sole possession of first place in the AFC West; even better, they are in complete control of their own destiny. If they want the first seed, they can do more than wish for it for Christmas.
Welcome to my sixth rewrite in the last twenty minutes.
This was supposed to be a story about Petyon Manning and Tom Brady dueling; it was supposed to be about two teams playing until the bitter end; hell, it was supposed to be about the near perfection of the Broncos running game.
Instead, we’re going to be talking about bouncing balls for a whole damn week.
Actually, I should probably be more specific. Wes Welker didn’t give Tony Carter enough time to clear a bouncing punt, which now makes Tony Carter look really dumb.
What a letdown, and what a silly way to lose a game. There’s just no rewriting that.
It’s simple: keep Peyton Manning clean, the Broncos win.
It’s true when he’s healthy. It’s true when he’s feeling a little average. And it’s true when his ankle is as hurt as an Alex Smith checkdown.
The Broncos just restored order to the NFL with their 27-17 win, which could have been a lot more lopsided. The NFL simply can’t have teams like the Chiefs masquerading around like a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Pat Bowlen, welcome to the Three Hundred Club.
With the Broncos' 28-20 win this afternoon, Bowlen became the second fastest owner in NFL history to reach three hundred wins (Al Davis had to beat Bowlen at something).
The dude has seen a lot in his three decades as owner—John Elway, Peyton Manning, Super Bowls, and everything in between.
Three hundred wins has to rank right up there—until he gets to 301.
For as much scoring as the Broncos did in the fourth quarter, this game proved one thing:
Their defense is only getting better.
The Broncos bumped, pushed, and otherwise beat the hell out of Robert Griffin on their way to a 45-21 victory. Sacks don’t tell the story, although they did get to Griffin three times.
Jack Del Rio’s strategy of shadowing Griffin with Von Miller turned out to be just the right strategy. Griffin couldn’t put his strength—running out of the pocket—on display. And when he tried, there were orange jerseys waiting for him.
Now comes the bye week. The defense not only gets better, they get healthier too. And that should scare the rest of the league.
The Broncos weren’t who we thought they were.
Instead of passing, they ran; instead of keeping the ball, they gave it away; instead of being aggressive, they were passive-aggressive—heavy on the passive coaching, heavy on the aggressive personal fouls.
The Colts' game plan was simple and recognizable, because it’s the same game plan the Jaguars used last week: press the Broncos at the line of scrimmage, play Cover 2 behind it, and force the Broncos into short passing gains. The Broncos took the bait. How many times did we see Manning float the ball tonight in the hopes of good things just happening downfield?
The Broncos delivered an easy victory, 35-19. They held their opponent scoreless in the first and fourth quarters. They allowed fewer than a hundred rushing yards yet again.
Oh, did I mention they are 6-0?
Then why does this win feel like a loss?
I guess that’s what happens when expectations are set as high as the Rocky Mountains, when your team is setting scoring records, and finally, when fans want the sun, moon, and the Super Bowl.
We should probably get used to it.
Come on, now. You didn’t expect them to walk through every game, did you?
Today’s 51-48 win was just what the Broncos needed.
They were tested, but remained undefeated. Peyton Manning stayed on pace for the record books. And the Broncos remembered they’ve got to play at least a little defense to win.
What should we remember? A team scored 48 points and they still couldn't beat your Denver Broncos.
During the fourth quarter of the Broncos' 52-20 beatdown of the Eagles, I caught Broncos Ring of Famer Rod Smith on KOA's radio broadcast.
What Smith said was quite incredible.
When asked if the 1998 Broncos team—you know, the Super Bowl Champions—were as good as this year’s team, Smith quite simply said, “No.”
Right now, it's hard to argue with Rod. The Broncos just set a single-game franchise scoring record.
While it remains to be seen what this team will be after Week 17, they are, through four weeks, simply the best Broncos team we've ever seen.