What else can you say, really?
The Broncos smacked the Chargers with an embarrassing loss at Qualcomm Stadium last night. That was as satisfying a victory as I can remember. Instead of having a specific player outlined in a comeback like we did with "Tebow Time", this time the Broncos made the ultimate team effort. Tony Carter, Chris Harris, Elvis Dumervil, Jacob Tamme, Brandon Stokley, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Jim Leonhard (among others) helped in the efforts.
Many would put this win squarely on the shoulders of Peyton Manning, but that's not fair to the rest of the team. The Broncos defense scored two touchdowns by themselves, one of which was a Chris Harris pick six that occurred on a late Chargers drive that could have retaken the lead for the Chargers.
Of course, this game wasn't without drama. You don't go down by 24 points at halftime by accident. It takes a call to Buffalo Wild Wings for that.
If yall didn't see, they had trip wire out there tonight. I reported it to the NFL so an investigation is pending. #humblingmoment— Eric Decker (@EricDecker87) October 16, 2012
Mr. Decker, with all due respect, it was a sprinkler...
Anyways, apart from getting a win, the Broncos also shattered the psyche of the San Diego Chargers. Remember when the Broncos lost to the Raiders 59-14 a few years ago and it just seemed like there would never be another sunny day? That's what Charger fans feel like, this morning. Just click any article on Bolts from the Blue and you'll understand exactly what I'm talking about.
I can't think of a more devastating way to lose a game than what happened to the Chargers last night. I really can't. I was really expecting a Denny Green "They are who we thought they were" rant by Norv Turner. Norv didn't bite. That was my biggest let down of the night... besides the Trindon Holliday fumble, of course.
Mile High Salutes
In this section, I'm going to give Mile High Salutes to players that deserve it.
My first Mile High Salute goes to Robert Ayers. For as much angst as he gets around these parts for being a first round pick and not living up to expectations, he deserves a big salute for his game against the Chargers. Check the stat sheet and you'll see he was credited for one assist, but the reason he gets a Mile High Salute is because of a play that will never be on the stat sheet. As Elvis Dumervil forced a fumble midway through the third quarter, the ball landed on the ground a few feet in front of Philip Rivers and was in range of being recovered by anyone. Robert Ayers was still engaged by an offensive lineman, but he fell to his side and swatted the ball back towards Tony Carter for the scoop and score. Without that play, we likely wouldn't have the defensive touchdown, which could have done a number of things with the momentum of the game. Regardless, that was a huge play that would go unheralded, by many, but not by me. Great job, Robert!!!
Tony Carter gets a Mile High Salute, for sure. I don't think I've ever seen Tony Carter play with that kind of confidence in an NFL game. At one point, I noted on twitter that they played Carter on an island for a few plays. How strange is that? Champ Bailey, a future Hall of Famer, is on one side of the field, but Tony Carter (playing for an injured Tracy Porter) is playing on an island? What a game! Tony played lights out, notching his first interception and scoring his first defensive touchdown on two separate plays in the same game. He almost had a second interception, later in the game, too.
Elvis Dumervil, you get a Mile High Salute, as well. There were people on MHR that doubted you, this season. People were starting to say that you "weren't worth the money" and junk like that. Last night, you proved those people wrong. It's like every time you play Philip Rivers you switch it into overdrive and knock that silly grin off his face. It's wonderful to watch. I can't even count the amount of times you were held in the first half, but it looks like you gradually wore the offensive line down so that their holds weren't forceful enough to keep you from forcing 2 fumbles. Great job, Doom. You're a beast of a human being. Keep it up.
Chris Harris... you get a Mile High Salute and infinite gratitude. You had two interceptions of Philip Rivers, one of which went to the house to confirm the Broncos win. The first came when you jammed an Eddie Royal slant route and the second came when you jumped a flat route. Both of the interceptions were outstanding mental plays. Recognition like that comes from film study and practice. That doesn't just "happen". Last year, when you were the best tackler on the team, I knew it was just a matter of time before you put it all together and became an outstanding cover corner, as well. You're well on your way.
With that, I'm just going to give a Mile High Salute for the whole team. They all did it, together. They fought with resiliency and never let a huge deficit sway their belief. With a bye week ahead, I hope that these Broncos will stay hungry and hit it hard down the stretch.
I told you guys last week that this team would be just fine with a win over the Chargers. We're right on pace for my 11-5 prediction. I'm sticking by that prediction, although, I think the win total may even be increased if we can play like we did last night.
I'll leave you guys with a question.
Can you imagine if we played a full 60 minutes of football? I can... it would look a lot like the second half of last night's game.