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Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos outduel Tony Romo and the Cowboys: Instant Reactions


Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When Danny Trevathan picked off Tony Romo to give the Broncos back all the momentum they would need, I let out the biggest scream I've let out all season!

How does it feel to "live" again Broncos Country?  After four straight weeks of beatdown after beatdown, this game actually felt like it might slip away into the loss column.

Not since the days of Tim Tebow have the Broncos provided a game so full of ups, downs, and finally triumph.  It wasn't pretty on the defensive side of the ball.  But on this day it didn't matter.  We had Peyton Manning and our offense, and that's all we needed.

This felt like a good old fashioned shootout, and I was quick to realize that we would face a day full of adversity after the Cowboys made it a game again in the 3rd:

- This felt like a genuine "Rocky" title fight with both teams trading blows well into the 15th round.  But enough romanticizing let's get into it!

- Peyton Manning underthrew Decker on his 1st Interception of the season.  He has had a habit of overthrowing guys deep early on, but he put too much air under it.  Claiborne was beat and it could have been a huge play.

- Tony Romo and his ability to extend plays really stretched our secondary thin early.  Even with good coverage, you can't expect folks to cover Witten and Dez Bryant for that long.

- There was pressure from the front 4 early, but once Ayers went down, it seemed as if Tony Romo had all day to throw especially in that tide-turning 3rd quarter.  Speaking of Ayers:

As far as his injury, it's his shoulder:

Chris Harris was also out much of the game with a concussion, as was Woodyard (unsure of his injury status)

- I'm not going to make any excuses for the defense, they were TERRIBLE.  But honestly to me it's just a case of injuries and absences of key starters catching up with the Broncos.  Champ Bailey out, Von Miller out, Chris Harris out, Robert Ayers out, Wesley Woodyard out.  You take away 5 core guys from any defense and they are going to struggle against an offense like the Cowboys. Our defense can't call itself "elite" by any measure, but they damn sure are better than what they showed today.

- Danny Trevathan looked a bit hobbled out there.  He was beaten frequently in coverage, he also provided the biggest play of the game when he picked off Tony Romo when covering Jason Witten on a short in route at the end of the game.  In a game like this, one play is all it takes and "The Treviathan" stepped up!

- Shaun Phillips and Malik Jackson deserve some props for putting some pressure on Romo late in the game.  Shaun was very close to having 3 sacks on the day but just missed taking Romo down by the ankles.  Speaking of Shaun Phillips:

That gives him 5.5 sacks on the year.

- I know folks don't like to hear it, but it bears mentioning that through 5 games last year, Von/Doom combined for 8 sacks.  Don't think we really miss Elvis Dumervil right now, he's sitting in Baltimore with 2 on the season.  This year Phillips and Ayers have 10 combined.  Yes, we miss Von's pass rush.  No, we shouldn't sandbag the contributions of guys in their place, they are doing a fantastic job!

- Omar Bolden needs to play somewhere else next year.

- So does Quentin Jammer.

Now on to the obvious:

Peyton Freakin' Manning

The sheriff, El Padrone, El Jefe, whatever you want to call him.  He willed this team to victory today.  14-0 deficit early? No problem, 28-20 halftime lead.  Down after being up 35-20? No problem, let's tie the game at 41 and again at 48.  Need a couple of first downs to milk the clock? Done!

There's nothing else to say except he's the absolute best in the business right now.  Bar none.  You're always in the game with him at the helm.  He set two records today and fell short of another.  With his 1st TD pass to Julius Thomas, he broke the tie he had with some old dude that played for Chicago in the 60's Milt Plum.  Here's a link back to that article.

Peyton Manning's Touchdown passes to date:
  • 24 yards to Julius Thomas (Baltimore)
  • 23 yards to Julius Thomas (Baltimore)
  • 28 yards to Andre Caldwell (Baltimore)
  • 5 yards to Wes Welker (Baltimore)
  • 2 yards to Wes Welker (Baltimore)
  • 26 yards to Demaryius Thomas (Baltimore)
  • 78 yards to Demaryius Thomas (Baltimore)
  • 2 yards to Wes Welker (NYG)
  • 11 yards to Julius Thomas (NYG)
  • 2 yards to Eric Decker (Oakland)
  • 12 yards to Wes Welker (Oakland)
  • 13 yards to Julius Thomas (Oakland)
  • 6 yards to Wes Welker (Philadelphia)
  • 1 yard to Demaryius Thomas (Philadelphia)
  • 15 yards to Demaryius Thomas (Philadelphia)
  • 4 yards to Wes Welker (Philadelphia)
  • 4 yards to Julius Thomas (Dallas)
  • 2 yards to Eric Decker (Dallas)
  • 9 yards to Julius Thomas (Dallas)
  • 2 yards to Wes Welker (Dallas)

Out of the 20 he's thrown, that makes 14 coming in the redzone folks.  Far and away the highest mark in the NFL this year.

Later on, Manning became the record holder of most TD passes in the first 5 games of the season with 19.  Ultimately his TD passes before throwing a pick record ended at 19.

One small thing DO NOT AUDIBLE TO A RUN ON 3RD AND 7.  That is what caused the first Matt Prater game-tying attempt (which he nailed).  You do not run for 7 yards consistently enough to warrant it, PLEASE DON'T DO IT!!!

Knowshon Moreno:

Here's something Broncos Country should absolutely be pissed off over, a lack of respect from LeSean McCoy:

To which I replied:

Broncos Country, that is none other than LeSean McCoy.  Those with twitter accounts I urge to get on and tell him what you think of his nonsense.

Now, as for Knowshon Moreno "sucking"

He has 331 yards on 65 carries with 4 rushing TD's to go along with 13 receptions for 127 yards.  He is fielding a 5.1 YPC average, and is on pace to rush for 1,000 yards this season.

He made a fantastic catch on 3rd and 10 on the Broncos final TD tying drive.  He made key first down after key first down including at the end of the game to seal the deal.

Knowshon and Ronnie Hillman are a perfect 1-2 punch right now.  Hillman had some great gains on the day.

Speaking of running backs, whowhoodathunk that Montee Ball would be used as a decoy for a Peyton Manning naked bootleg?  I'm still laughing at that one, Peyton is soooooooo sloooooowwwww!!!

The Offensive Line

No sacks, Peyton had plenty of time to throw all game.  Chris Clark is playing one hell of role since replacing Ryan Clady.  I was wrong about him, entirely.  He shut DeMarcus Ware out today.  Manny Ramirez and Zane Beadles also did a fantastic job on interior pass rushing force Jason Hatcher (1 tackle).

The Four Horsemen

Now, Tim wussed out and doesn't want to take credit for that, so I will.  Our 4-headed receiving threat should heretoforward be referred to as "The Four Horsemen".  They be bringing death and plagues to opposing secondaries folks!!!

Julius Thomas led all Broncos receivers with 9 receptions for 122 yards and two TD's.

Matt Prater

Matt Prater deserves some "I'm sorries" from various Broncos fans and Broncos sites who called him out for his lackluster season last year.  Bottom line, Prater has now nailed every kick this year including two huge ones this game from distances of 48 and 50.  Prater is now perfect from 40 and beyond this year.  A big Mile High Salute to Denver's most undervalued player!!!

A win is a win is a win

Take a spin to other SBNation sites.  When the Cowboys were looking like they'd pull it off, our enemies couldn't have been happier.  When we pulled the victory off, they were left to wallow.

We have a giant target on our backs right now, but it doesn't matter.  We are still the class of the NFL and every other team has to play the game by our rules.

You have been served NFL, nothing short of a miracle will derail this prolific train!