The 2013 Denver Broncos played their worst five minutes of football in the middle of the Redskins game Sunday. Then the fireworks started.
Down 21-7 early just minutes after halftime - the Redskins had scored all 21 of their points in a five minute span that included two Broncos turnovers - Peyton Manning and company scored 38 unanswered points and went on to win 45-21 against their former coach Mike Shanahan.
The third quarter started as a shop of horrors for the Broncos. A strip sack fumble recovery on Manning was followed by a pick-six one offensive snap later - Denver's first two offensive series in the second half ended in calamity. The Redskins had two touchdowns in nine seconds.
But then the Broncos got bold. Then the Broncos bounced back. Then the Broncos broke out.
A 4th and 2 in medium-range field goal territory didn't see Matt Prater come out to kick as many expected; instead, John Fox elected to go for it, and the Broncos converted. A few plays later, Montee Ball ran in for his first career NFL touchdown, and the Broncos converted an 11-play, 75-yard drive into a one-score game.
The Broncos were again faced with a 4th down decision as the game entered the fourth quarter; instead of kicking the football, again the Broncos went aggressive. A one-yard pass to Joel Dreessen gave Denver another touchdown, tying the game.
From there it looked easy. If not a little wild.
Knowshon Moreno took a screen pass on 2nd and 20 and got the first down and more - a 35-yard touchdown that gave Denver the lead. Demaryius Thomas had a 35-yard touchdown of his own, two players after a Chris Harris Jr. interception on Robert Griffin III. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a pick-six late that put the game fully out of reach.
Manning was intercepted a season-high three times on the day, but he threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns, still keeping him at a 94.3 passer rating.
Redskins QB Robert Griffin III had a rough outing, getting hit 11 times and leaving the game with a left knee injury late. His 132 passing yards easily marked the worst performance by a QB against Denver's suspect passing defense this season. Broncos defenders Terrance Knighton and Von Miller each had particularly strong games pursuing RGIII, notching a sack apiece (Miller's first on the season) while Knighton's pressure also forced a late Griffin interception.
The Broncos, 7-1, head into their bye week at just the right time. Peyton Manning is banged up (he joked after the game he could be listed on the injury report every week under 'body'), and Denver heads into the toughest stretch of their schedule: at San Diego, vs. Kansas City, at New England, at Kansas City. Strap in, Broncos country.