It really is all about Peyton Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Ten wins doesn't sound like that much. Broncos fans are rather accustomed to their team reaching that plateau, as they've now done so 18 times since 1977, the year of Denver's first SB team.

But since the last double-digit campaign of 2005, there had been five seasons of mediocrity, and one of pure ineptitude.

This time, it's only taken 13 games to reach that mark.

After a 2-3 start.

As expected, the Broncos (10-3) dispatched the host Raiders (3-10) with relative ease last night in a 26-13 road win (Game Book, ANS box score) that places them one half-game ahead of New England and Baltimore, and alone as the AFC's #2 seed, pending those team's Week 14 games.

Peyton Manning has now led his teams to at least ten wins in 12 of the 14 years he's played, with the only exceptions having been his rookie season and that of the 2001 Jim Mora "Playoffs?!?!" meltdown.

That's now ten straight seasons of ten wins for Peyton, including seven with at least 12. And with Baltimore, Cleveland, and Kansas City left on the schedule, there's no reason to think Manning won't get his team to 12 once again, which would make for the ninth time he'll have done so in his career.

Running the table would get Denver to 13 wins, where Peyton has already been four times.

It's all old hat for the QB, except for the matter of the four neck surgeries, and the relocation after 14 years spent in one town and with one team.

Nine months ago today, Manning's world was turned upside down, when he was dumped by the only NFL team he'd ever played for. To the surprise of almost everyone, he passed over an obvious SB contender in San Francisco, choosing instead a team considered by most to be bereft of talent (with the notable exceptions of Bill Polian and Ted Bartlett).

It was supposed to take the entire year for Peyton to get back to normal, to acquaint with his new teammates, and for the Broncos to win with the frequency both he and we spoiled fans are accustomed to.

Instead, he's back to his familiar ways of winning games in bunches, extending or setting records (most 300-yard games, most seasons with 10+ wins), and reaching milestones (5,000 career completions) along the way.

Cherish this, Broncos fans. Ten wins is routine for Manning and for the Denver Broncos, but this is a most special season.


Videos: Highlights from BTV and NFLN; John Fox, Peyton Manning, and several others speak afterward (quotes); Von Miller visits the NFLN crew following the game; Kurt Warner's pre-game interview with Manning.

Denver has now won six straight road games against AFCW opponents, and is 5-0 within the division this season.

After having missed much of the second quarter due to injury, Demaryius Thomas says his shoulder is sore, but that he expects to be fine going forward. Of course, the upside to the brutality of having played two games in five days is that the players now get three days off before returning to work in preparation for the monumental Week 15 showdown at Baltimore. No better time for a mini-bye, as the team tries to earn a full, meaningful one.

It will have been two weeks off for Chris Kuper (who has been greatly missed whenever out this season) and Wesley Woodyard by the time the Ravens game comes, so we can hope they'll be well healed and rested for the stretch run.

Normally it would be overbearing and physically costly to hand off to a guy 32 times in Week 14, but since Knowshon Moreno entered the game with just 48 carries, this isn't the case. Instead, Knowshon can perhaps develop a groove as the team heads into the playoffs.

Although his 3.7-yard average wasn't much, Moreno looked again like a guy who had learned a thing or two from having watched Willis McGahee for a couple of months. His 167 yards on 36 touches are the second-most of his career (175, @ KC, 2010), and by far his largest total against a team other than the Chiefs. It's also the most touches he's ever had, with 28 his previous high (vs SEA, 2010).

Elvis Dumervil has been getting some pretty rough grades from PFF, which we're not sure we'd agree with.

Not sure we'd characterize last night as Denver having emphasized the run, so much as salting away a late two-score lead. But it would be nice to see a more Belichickian approach of going for the jugular, as the Broncos have now gone four straight games where they've turned potential blowouts into narrower wins, three of which required onside kick recoveries to assure the outcomes.

It sounds trite, but it really is true - last night, again, was all about Peyton Manning and Von Miller. Even Woody Paige can see that, and just wait until he claims credit for having been the first to call Von Miller a potential HOFer.

Denver has now emerged victorious from 8 of its last 10 trips to Oakland.


Roger Goodell says the NFL is willing to help fund a new stadium in Oakland; a fan fell from the third deck of the Coliseum last night and is in serious condition. The Commish is on the cover of TIME magazine this week; KSK makes the photo more accurate, while Drew Magary tells us all we need to know from the article.

The Steelers expect Ben Roethlisberger to start Sunday against San Diego.

Bills T Chris Hairston is headed to IR; Cincinnati signed K Josh Brown with MIke Nugent struggling with an injury.

Peyton Hillis fired back at his old Browns teammate Joe Thomas by likening the tackle to a "crazy ex-girlfriend."

An unnamed Detroit Lion says several teammates, including Ndamukong Suh, don't quite "get it" or "understand what it takes to win." Cue up the anonymous quote outrage, unless that's reserved for criticism of the Ultimate Teammate™.

A domestic case involving Terrell Suggs and his girlfriend resulted in Suggs being ordered to surrender some firearms.


While speaking on the Senator floor Harry Reid compared the GOP to the LOLJets, prompting Doug Farrar to appropriately suggest that exiling Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to FOX News would do us all some good.

They're not too upset in San Diego about the reported looming firing of A.J. Smith, even if they're left delusionally thinking they're headed back to the playoffs next season.

In his film study, Andy Benoit glances at several games from Week 13 and looks ahead to Week 14, focusing mainly on Niners/Dolphins.

Matt Bowen breaks down how RG3 and Pierre Garcon beat the Giants' Cover 2 shell, and how Thomas DeCoud was able to pick off Drew Brees out of his single-high position; Bucky Brooks also pulls up tape of RG3.

Pete Prisco examines the game-winning drives engineered by Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck last week, while again praising the play of Chris Harris.

Bill Barnwell warns us not to read too much into the outcome of Monday's Patriots/Texans game, but rather to focus on what the process tells us. Of course, this would be a good way to approach any game that doesn't result in elimination.

Mike Tanier, Benjamin HoffmanJohn Clayton, and Drew Magary preview the week's games; KSK's Sex/FF mailbag; here are the broadcast maps and announcer pairings for Sunday.

Prior to last night, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen were at other ends of the spectrum of yards per route run among tight ends, as follows by the roles they play in Denver's offense.

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

The Lard