Today's game was the sort of contest previous Broncos teams would have lost.
There they were--on the road, starting early, serving up two critical interceptions, and running the ball as sluggishly as they have all year.
Instead, they were ahead by two scores with a few minutes remaining. I guess having
Christopher Walken Peyton Manning at quarterback has something to do with it.
That's an effort you'd expect from a top-flight team and a division champion.
Perhaps a championship team?
We'll see. Suffice to say, things are beginning to feel a lot different in Denver this year.
Tonight, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning were supposed to throw for a combined 600 passing yards.
Manning held up his end of the bargain--and it only took him three quarters.
The Broncos defense didn't get the memo, however. Although Brees wasn't sacked a lot, he felt more heat than a Louisiana strip club.
The player of the game was undoubtedly Wesley Woodyard. On the night, he had nine tackles, four assists, two passes defensed, one forced fumble, one sack, and an interception.
That's scary good, and right in time for Halloween.
And right in time for the Broncos to give the league nightmares.
Norv [norv] noun, verb, Norved, Norving
1. Proper name, short for Norval, popularized by parents in the 20th century who wanted their kids to be bullied at school.
2. To cause to lose a football game in the fourth quarter.
3. To reverse fortune, especially during the act of playing American football.
San Diego, you just got Norved! And you witnessed the greatest comeback victory in Monday Night Football history.
Norv Turner wasn't really responsible for today's Broncos carnival (turnovers and big plays were good enough), but that was fun as hell to write.
Now, let's break this thing down in thirty little ways:
It's elk season here in Colorado.
Today, the animals were safe, though. It was the Broncos who got gutted.
The Broncos knew the Patriots were going to run a no-hunddle offense. They'd seen it on film for four weeks.
The reality of playing against the no-huddle, though, was quite different.
The Patriots regularly snapped the ball with twenty-five seconds on the clock. That's not just a no-huddle offense. That's a video game. Sixty minutes later, the Broncos were gassed, John Fox was baffled, and the Broncos were wounded.
Like any wounded animal, the Broncos did put up a fight. But in the end, it's the Patriots who wore orange and came in for the kill.
When Peyton Manning joined the Broncos, this is the type of game fanatics had in mind.
The Broncos get an early lead.
They build on that lead running the ball.
Then, they let loose the angry hounds.
Who are the hounds?
The entire Broncos defense, which allowed the Raiders only one third-down conversion all game long.
And now Carson Palmer needs a rabies shot.
Reggie Bush just tweeted it best:
These refs gotta go I'm sorry
The Packers and Seahawks battled for several hours tonight only to watch the scab officials make two different calls on the last play of the game, which was a Hail Mary that was clearly intercepted by Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings. Unfortunately for the Packers, the scabs decided to give the reception (and the touchdown) to Golden Tate of the Seahawks. Worse, the call stood after the review (which never should have been reviewed to begin with, we should note). In short, the Packers got screwed.
Hey, at least it wasn't the Broncos that got jobbed.
I'd wager that this sort of thing might bring Roger Goodell to the negotiating table, but that would require the lapdog to quickly place a call to his masters, Kraft and Jones. Jones is too busy taking care of his gay cowboy situation.
The highlight of today's game came at halftime when the Broncos put Rod Smith into their Ring of Fame.
The rest of the Broncos were in the locker room. Otherwise, they would have been down twenty to start the third quarter.
Peyton Manning didn't throw three interceptions today, but he still needed to rally late for the Broncos to have any sort of chance.
This week, the defense put themselves in a hole, as Matt Schaub and the Texans took both a sledgehammer and a surgeon's scalpel to the Denver defense. Dropped passes on offense, mental errors (45 yards in personal fouls on one drive alone), and J.J. Watt took care of the rest.
The game was a lot less exciting than the final score (and the Broncos) would admit. The truth is this team is still in transition, still adjusting to themselves, and still trying to figure out their basic philosophy. Are they a no-huddle team? Are they a blitzing team?
Check back in a few weeks and we'll have a better idea. Perhaps the Broncos can play well on both sides of the ball for once. Thankfully, the AFC West will still be there for the taking.
Peyton Manning said the Broncos are a work in progress.
Perhaps we should have believed him.
In Week 1, we all caught a case of Coltsahanta Virus--the feeling of invicibility that results from having Peyton Manning under center. Unfortunately, it's a virus that hasn't been communicable since 2009.
It would be easy to blame this loss on a group of replacement referees that blew call after call after call--they actually referred to the Falcons as "red" at one point during a penalty. The faster the league replaces the replacements, the better.
Yet, this loss is mostly Manning's piece of work. You can't spin the loss any other way. Despite a flurry of activity late in the fourth quarter, Manning floated several passes, turned the ball over three times in the first quarter, and often checked into poor audibles.
Get back to work, Peyton. I believe you now.
Two roads diverged in a wood.
I took the one Tracy Porter traveled by.
And that made things completely awesome.
There was this other guy named Peyton Manning, of course.
He got his 400th (and 401st) career touchdown pass as a Denver Bronco. He also took a no-huddle chainsaw to the forest of Steelers defenders and cut his own path.
The deafening sound you heard wasn't the chainsaw, though. It was the sound of 76,823 maniacs screaming their team to victory.
We can move on to more important things--like destroying the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Before we do, though, let's take some time (just a little) to comment on tonight's game.
Thirty thoughts. No categories. Let's get freaky dirty.