DENVER — It was another impressive win for the Broncos as they cruised to a 51-28 victory over the Titans. The cold weather wasn’t a factor in this one. This is the second game where Denver has had to play in chilly temperatures. They lost to New England and dominated Tennessee in the second half.
Let’s start with the offense.
Impressive. That’s all I can say. So many records. Individual and team. Franchise and NFL. Peyton Manning has 45 touchdowns on the season and is just 6 touchdowns away from breaking the Tom Brady’s NFL record of 50. He’s also 954 yards away from breaking Drew Brees’ single season record of yards passing. Peyton currently has 4,522.
The team is just 75 points away from breaking the 2007 Patriots record of 589 points in a season. There’s 3 games left and they would need to have some bad games not to make history. Manning is also going to win the MVP with ease. Name one player has a chance to compete with him? The Broncos could care less about that right now, but it is fun to watch isn’t it?
Manning’s ankle appears to be just fine. The offensive line has found a groove and has done a great job protecting recently.
The wide receivers are playing at a high level and it’s great to see Eric Decker making a huge impact these days. My concern right now is Wes Welker. The slot receiver suffered his second concussion in just three weeks and that’s never good. Don’t expect to see him against the Chargers Thursday night. Hopefully it’s not too serious and they will be able to bring him back healthy and ready to go. I wouldn’t even be opposed to him sitting until the playoffs.
The tight end position has been solid and it got even stronger with the return of Julius Thomas. He set a franchise single season record with 11 touchdowns passing Shannon Sharpe.
We can’t forget about the running backs. In all honesty, Knowshon Moreno can’t do this by himself. He is the featured back, but he needed a guy who can come in and give him some rest after his power runs. Ronnie Hillman? No. Montee Ball? Yes! The rookie running back appears to have figured out the fumbling issues and has stepped up in a big way reeling off big runs and is the two in the one-two punch in the backfield.
This defense makes me nervous, but it continues to do enough to help the offense. They give up big plays. The secondary is depleted. In fact, this team is banged up. Rahim Moore and Kevin Vickerson are lost. Champ Bailey will probably be hobbled all season. Derek Wolfe is dealing with an illness and who knows how long he will be out. Wesley Woodyard is not 100 percent and they need their leader as the playoffs approach. Saying all that, Von
Miller is starting to look like the Von we all know. He’s sacking quarterbacks, causing sacks and scoring touchdowns.
Wes Welker was the star name picked up in free agency and he’s been great, but I think Dominique Rodgers-Comartie has made the biggest impact. With Champ out most of the season, he has been the shutdown cornerback and you don’t see too many quarterbacks testing his side of the field. When DRC left the game in New England, things took a turn for the worse. The secondary is not the same without him. You could also tell he was missed when he was out at Kansas City as well. The good news is he’s healthy again.
The Broncos remaining schedule is at home Thursday against the Chargers, on the road against the Texans and finishing up at Oakland. Denver should win all three games, but that’s never a guarantee in the NFL. San Diego will be the biggest test. Phillip Rivers and company are fighting for a playoff spot and desperately need this win or they are done. They will bring all they have. The Texans have nothing to play for but pride. It’s still never easy to win in Houston, so Denver has to be careful to have a letdown. Maybe the Broncos will have the top spot locked by the time they go to Oakland, but I think this should be a dominant win despite it being a division rivalry game.
If the Broncos win out, they have home field throughout.
Let’s finish with the cold. Peyton Manning can’t shake the talk of his poor record in cold weather games, but he quieted some critics with his 397 yard, 4 touchdown performance against Tennessee. Manning told 850 KOA after the game, “Whoever wrote that narrative can shove that where the sun don’t shine.” I would say the criticism has irked Manning, but to be fair, the record shows he does struggle. I think it will all go away if he can get past teams, in the cold, in the playoffs. That’s where it matters most.
So Peyton will have to deal with the questions until that happens. This was a great step, though. Two cold-weather games and a ton of cold weather practices will get these guys ready for what will be an interesting post season.AlertMe