Historic comeback sends Broncos into bye Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver now sits in first-place tie with San Diego atop the AFCW, but they occupy the driver's seat by their lonesome.

Both teams are 3-3, but the Broncos for now have an advantage head-to-head and in division record, and a reasonable chance at going 6-0 within the division.

Denver and San Diego enter their bye weeks on different trajectories, and the Broncos will host New Orleans and head to Cincinnati and Carolina, before hosting the Chargers in Week 11. In the interim, San Diego will visit Cleveland, host Kansas City, and head to Tampa Bay.

As devastating as last night was for the Chargers, it's not that hard to imagine them arriving in Denver with another edge in the standings.

But until then, we have an historic comeback in which to delight.

Broncos

Von Miller, Justin Bannan, and Orlando Franklin all suffered injuries during the game, but all returned to action; the players will be off from Thursday to Sunday for the bye.

Videos: John Fox's postgame speech; replays of all five Denver TDsBTV and NFLN highlights; John Fox, Peyton Manning, and several others speak afterward.

Here's a summary of their quotes; Justin Bannan says Peyton's emotional needle didn't move much after the game; Fox exhorted his players at halftime to believe they could come back; Derek Wolfe says the mood in the locker room was positive, despite the 24-point deficit; Manning says the fumble return by Tony Carter was where players started to think their luck was changing.

Although the Denver secondary notched all six takeaways, Champ says the pass rush deserves the credit for them.

Ronnie Hillman has finally surpassed Lance Ball as the team's third-down back.

Manning has not been sacked in either of Denver's two AFCW games; according to PFF, the QB was hit three times and pressured on five plays.

More trivia: The Broncos' 35-point outburst was their biggest in any second half, ever, Manning is on pace to shatter several key team records, and it was the first time since 1984 that Denver had scored on a pick-six and fumble return in the single game; Denver becomes the first team to trail by 24 or more at halftime and then win by double figures.

Didn't you just know that Manning would break the unofficial record for fourth-quarter comebacks in extra-dramatic fashion? Naturally, Scott Kacsmar calls it his comeback of the week.

Andrew Mason sees the schedule differently, and can envision the two teams' next meeting as a potential chance for the Broncos to extend a division lead.

IAOFM friend Lindsay Jones, covering her last Broncos game for the Denver Post, thinks Carter and Chris Harris both seized larger roles going forward with their game-changing performances. We wish LJ all the best in her new gig at USA Today; we'll of course continue to read her work and link to it here.

Dave Krieger believes the game may mark a turning point for Denver's season; Woody Paige calls it a fairy tale turnaround; Mark Kiszla is sticking with an inaccurate viewpoint that says Elvis Dumervil was having a poor season prior to last night.

Sam DeWitt is apparently in touch with some Broncos fans who still pine for Teebs, and he has some advice for them.

Chargers

Laserface sported a classic expression as the game wound down, and he shooed Norv away in a manner that calls to mind his old pal Catler.

Not sure which game Tom Krasovic, but he somehow came up with the theory that Chargers LT Mike Harris "largely shut down" Elvis Dumervil.

Kevin Acee thinks the Broncos may be unbeatable if Peyton's teammates stop spotting their opponents huge leads.

Nick Canepa, the Woody Paige of San Diego, is ready to declare the Chargers' season as over, despite them being tied for first place. San Diego has allowed a combined 52 unanswered points to New Orleans and Denver in blowing consecutive big leads.

Of course, as we've been noting here, the Chargers still haven't beaten a good team, and their three wins have come against squads that are otherwise 4-10.

Doug Farrar lays the blame for the Chargers' troubles at the feet of the egomaniacal A.J. Smith, and he thinks this will be the last hurrah for Smith and Norv in San Diego.

Clark Judge sees no reason to believe in the Chargers after last night; Jim Trotter sees a collapse for San Diego much like last year's.

Trimmings

Colts owner Jim Irsay says the league is considering opening a so-called tampering window where teams may talk to pending free agents, presumably since every early signing each year is clearly a result of tampering. Of course, this probably just means there will be pre-tampering-window tampering.

As feared, the Ravens defense will be without CB Lardarius Webb and LB Ray Lewis for the rest of the season; Green Bay lost LB D.J. Smith for the season; Browns LB Scott Fujita has a neck injury that may end his careerpost-concussion symptoms are keeping Lions RB Jahvid Best on the team's PUP list; Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray has ligament damage in his foot and is unlikely to play next week.

Buffalo brought back LB Shawne Merriman; Jacksonville added S Chris Harris; Philadelphia fired Juan Castillo, an inevitable ending to a story that started with the Eagles inexplicably turning their offensive line coach into their defensive coordinator.

Scrapple

Matt Bowen analyzes the Patriots' go-to route concept; Mike Tanier considers the week's most impactful injuries; Khaled Elsayed recaps the week's best (Wesley Woodyard) and worst (Dan Koppen) performances.

In RG3's remarkable Sunday performance, Charles Pierce sees the best of an NFL future where players are conscious of the physical risks of their sport, and willing to take it upon themselves to protect their brains and bodies.

Christmas Ape gathers the best moments from last night (lots of Laserface and Manningface) and from Sunday's games and interprets PK's MMQB for the rest of us.

Bucky Brooks says Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o is the nation's best defensive player, and that WVU QB Geno Smith hurt his standing on Saturday against Texas Tech. Granted, we're hoping they won't be in position to take him, but anyone know a team in need of a linebacker?

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

The Lard

2014 Offseason

Offseason coverage