Manning shuts critics up, Broncos romp to 51-28 victory: Instant Reactions

Dustin Bradford

All week, in fact every game since that dreadful New England game. "He can't throw, he's too old, cold weather, blah blah blah".

Well, the old man with a weak arm who folds in the cold just put up 397 yards and 4 touchdowns against what was supposed to be a good passing defense. I'm gonna get on my soapbox and shame some people for a second, shame on the media for perpetuating this garbage, shame on casual fans for acting like the sheep they are, and shame on Broncos fans that parroted this drivel as Gospel.  I always expect better from Broncos Country.

(Steps off soapbox momentarily, is still pissed off, so jumps back on)

Shame on those Broncos fans that doubted the heart, drive, and determination of the greatest quarterback of all time.  There is absolutely no reason to doubt the Broncos as a super bowl contender because of Peyton Manning.

What I liked

- For the first game in a long time (perhaps all season--I will have to check) the Broncos didn't turn the ball over.  No silly fumbles, no boneheaded interceptions.

- I liked Coach Fox allowing the offense to go for it on two consecutive 4th downs deep in Titans territory.  We have a Ferrari in the garage, no need to treat it like a Toyota Prius.  This team can get a yard or two on 3rd/4th and short against any team in the league.  Love the aggressiveness.

- Speaking of aggressiveness, up 44-28 and the ball midfield, did the Broncos sit on the ball?  Hell no, they scored a TD baby.  I can hear fans around the league saying "they ran up the score, they never get called on it."  Oh well, this is an Orange and Blue world and the rest of you are just living in it.

- Even though our running game was clicking in the 1st half, it was fantastic to see the Broncos rely on their passing game against a secondary that couldn't get it done.  This was a mistake the Broncos made against New England, they never allowed the passing game to get hot.  On this Sunday, Manning and co. were determined to step on the accelerator and never let up.

- Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno make one hell of a 1-2 punch.  Combined, they had 29 carries for 155 yards (5.3 yards per carry), and two touchdowns.  This is the right time for them to get hot, both can now shoulder the load, be depended upon in pass protection, and most importantly be effective.

- Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas combining for 15 receptions for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns.  On a day when Wes Welker went out early with a concussion, these two stepped up big.

- For that matter, so did Jacob Tamme.  So we have a better picture of the puzzle now.  Not only can Tamme help fill in as a TE, but he can take over slot duties if Welker goes down.  Well, most of us knew that from the beginning, but how huge is it to have such depth at the skill positions that you can step in and not miss a beat?  Having Tamme and Dreessen on this team is a benefit not detriment, even with their 3MM salaries.

- Terrance Knighton, Malik Jackson, and Von Miller continue to make plays and rush the quarterback.  This trio of defenders is responsible for an interception, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

- Manning spreading the ball out again.  8 different receivers with at least 1 catch, 7 with at least three.

- Matt "I can kick the MF ball wherever I damn well please" Prater with this record setting kick, in the freezing cold at Mile High:

64yarder_medium

How big of an emotional lift was this for the team going into halftime?  Though the Broncos trailed by 1, everyone knew we were going to win the game.

What I didn't like

- That roughing call on Bernard Pollard when he leveled Eric Decker.  Huh????  Just another example of how bad the NFL's officiating has been this year.  Clean hit gets flagged for 15 yards.  A few weeks back, Carolina gets away with bearhug against Gronk, today Gronk tears his knee and the the officials give the call back on yet another shitty and poorly called penalty allowing an improbable Patriots comeback.  There is absolutely no regulation going on as far as officials and what they call.  I know because it changes every damn week.

I hate to say it, but BRING BACK THE REPLACEMENTS.  At least they were just incompetent.  The official Officials are just ruining the damn game.

- Punting in Titans territory with 3-yards to convert.  So you show stones and go for it on two 4th downs earlier, but don't do it here? Be consistent Foxy.  Peyton was ticked off as well.

- Our running defense was a sieve once again.  The Titans got behind to far in the 2nd half which kept their success on the ground from being noticeable.

- Our secondary.  This unit is going to cost us a game.  You can't expect to put up 40-50 points a week offensively to cover up the ineptitude of the defensive secondary.

- Champ Bailey on the sideline after having played only 30 snaps the week before.

What I hated

Omar Bolden.  Absolutely terrible.  I have no clue why he is playing deep centerfield.  Duke Ihenacho played some so it wasn't as if he was out there due to injury.  This was all by design, and he was singlehandedly responsible for 21 of the Titans 28 points.  Remember that big TD Jammer got toasted on?  No safety help because Omar bit on the deep crosser.  We were playing Cover 1 that play CAN'T MAKE THAT MISTAKE.

His speed is a non-factor, his angles are terrible, his route recognition non-existent.  He is by far the worst Broncos defender, a complete bust, and someone who shouldn't be on the field PERIOD.  I am completely certain of this.

What ever Del Rio is doing has worn out it's welcome with me.  He has absolutely no clue when it comes to the secondary.  More much of the game, his scheming and personnel groupings made Ryan Fitzpatrick look like an elite quarterback.  Completely inexcusable.

Records

- Broncos became the 1st team in league history to score and give up at least 17 points in their first 13 games.

- Broncos broke a franchise record (501) with 51 points which puts their total at 515 for the season.

- With Wes Welker's 1st quarter TD reception, he became the 4th Bronco with 10 TD's on the season.  That is the 1st time in NFL history a team has accomplished that feat.

- Matt Prater kicked an NFL record 64-yard FG just before halftime.  When Jason Elam tied the record, he also made his kick right as the half expired.

- Julius Thomas broke Shannon Sharpe's franchise record for TD's in a season with 11.  Sharpe's 10 had stood the sands of time for the last 15 years.

Records to watch for

With four more TD passes today, Peyton Manning now has 45 on the season.  That is a Broncos team record and it also puts him just 5 shy of tying Tom Brady's mark of 50 set in 2007.  With three games left, he needs 6 to break it.  He also sits at 4,522 yards which puts him 954 yards shy of Drew Brees' single season record.  Peyton needs to average 318 yards in the final three games to break the record.

589, that is how many points the 2007 New England Patriots scored when they set the record.  The Broncos need to score a total of 75 points in the last three games to set the new mark.  That comes out to 24.6 points per game.

Playoff Implications

Unfortunately, the Chiefs won today, that coupled with an extremely lucky New England win means the Broncos are still in the same position.

To clinch the AFC West, the Broncos magic number is 2 (any combo of Broncos wins/Chiefs losses that add up to 2)

To clinch the #1 seed, the Broncos magic number is 3 (any combo of Broncos wins/Patriots losses that add up to 3)

Short week ahead folks, but I leave you with the following quote from Peyton Manning:

GO BRONCOS!!!


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