Broncos down Saints, win battle of high-powered offenses
DENVER — On Sunday night, a battle of top-10 NFL offenses was decidedly one-sided.
The Broncos carved up the New Orleans Saints defense for 530 total yards of offense en route to a convincing 34-14 win.
“It’s what we’re looking for offensively, defensively and special teams — kind of feeding off one another,” said quarterback Peyton Manning, who moved to 10-4 in games following the bye week.
Denver more than doubled up the Saints in first downs, total yardage and third-down efficiency, and put together the type of performance the club has been working toward since Week 1.
“To come out and play 60 minutes – that’s what we’ve been preaching the whole season,” said wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who led the game with 137 receiving yards. “You saw that today. We came out and tried to score every drive and the defense just did an amazing job.”
After a three-and-out to start the game, the Broncos got to work on their second drive — from the 2-yard line.
Four consecutive runs by Willis McGahee got the Broncos out of the shadow of their own end zone, and opened up the secondary for a play-action pass on the fifth play of the drive. Manning hit Thomas for 41 yards into Saints territory to help jumpstart the drive, and six plays later, McGahee finished it with a 1-yard touchdown run.
“That was huge — we talked about getting off to a fast start,” Manning said. “Getting the ball at the 2-yard line is not ideal, but that was a good drive.”
The 11-play, 98-yard drive was the longest of the day for either team — though Denver also put together an 11-play, 93-yard touchdown drive to start the second half.
A fumble by McGahee on Denver’s next drive gave New Orleans favorable field position for its only score of the first half, and quarterback Drew Brees hit running back Darren Sproles for a 29-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
But the Broncos put 27 unanswered points on the board to put the game out of reach.