Now THAT'S how you close out the regular season baby!!!
34-0 until midway through the 4th quarter. Everything after that can only be classified as "garbage time" and "pity touchdowns" allowed by the Broncos defense. I know that this game was "only" against the pathetic Raiders, but this is the first time all season where I felt like our defense played at a truly "elite" level... and it was without Von Miller! Again, it wasn't until extreme garbage time that the Raiders even had a shot at scoring on us all night, and at that point, their pride was on the line, so it's no real surprise that they scored... even though our defense's pride was also on the line.
I know this next paragraph has little to do with the Broncos game, but I must admit, I thought a few times during the game: "Can we finally put the 'AFCW is a terrible division' argument to rest and admit that the AFCW is in fact the BEST division in football?" I mean, 3 playoff teams out of our division? Are you kidding me? This means that not only did the AFCW have a division winner (mandatory), but also took up both of the allotted wild card spots. A division can only have a maximum of 3 playoff teams, as our division did it, along with fielding the best team in the NFL and the #1 seeded team! That means that nobody can ever say "yeah, but who have you beaten?" because the Broncos beat both playoff teams that reside in our division. That's nothing to sneeze at! Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled program!
266. That was the magic number that all Broncos fans had burned on their brains coming into today's game. 266 passing yards by Peyton Manning, and he becomes the NFL's all time passing leader. Would he need to play until quite literally the final snap of the game like Drew Brees needed? Hardly! More like he needed to play until the final offensive snap of the first half! I'm not sure we quite understand how amazing that is. He broke the passing record for the season by the end of the first half of the final game. He very easily could have pushed it further by 300+ yards with how great he was playing today! Every QB in the history of professional football needed every snap of the ball possible to get to 5,476 (with only 1 player ever doing it). Peyton Manning not only broke that record, but also sat out the entire second half.
The same can be said about Peyton's touchdown record. He didn't need every snap to hit 50. Hell, he did that LAST WEEK! I firmly believe that Peyton Manning needs an asterisks next to each record he has. Not because he cheated with performance enhancing drugs, but because he cheated by simply being alive! Him playing football is an unfair competitive advantage, and this season solidified his place as the best QB to ever play the game. Super Bowls are TEAM victories, so please, don't anybody ever tell me that he needs to win more rings to be the best. I'll take Peyton over Terry Bradshaw any day, and you know what? I'll take Manning over Tom Brady any day of the week too. Brady didn't win those rings, the Patriots did. He just happened to be on that team when they won (and they haven't won since they basically turned into a 'Tom Brady and everyone else' type of team, mind you). So again, please don't come up in here touting that Peyton has only won one ring and he needs more to be the best, because, again, championships are TEAM WINS, not individual wins.
Pete vs Rodney update: Pete says that Champ won't make any real impact this year cause he's a) older, b) slower, c) injured. Rodney says that I'm full of it and that Champ will regain his studly form. Well, after many back-and-forths, we have a sig bet on it. What is coming of this? it's hard to determine from my point of view. Rodney is looking more right than I am, but not by much seeing Champ is playing very sparingly, and when he does play, he's matched up against the #3 or #4 wide receiver, so it isn't very difficult to look "good", even though these #3 and #4 wide receivers still do have some success against him. Anyway, I'll keep you all updated on this bet. Like my bet that Manning wouldn't play good in bitter cold, once again, I hope I lose this bet because our defense sure can use a healthy and effective Champ Bailey.
For the first time all season, our offense played flawless ball with Manning at the helm. Five drives, four touchdowns and one field goal in the first half. Inconsistency on offense has nagged this team all year. I know what you're all thinking. You're thinking, "How can we break offensive records and dare be called inconsistent?" Well, its because the Broncos have this knack of playing in spurts. They are almost like a basketball player who can look all worldly in spurts, and mostly forgettable at all the other times in between. Well, today, the Broncos offense was consistently amazing. There was no spurt unless you call each and every play our starters played in a spurt. Man, that was an offensive clinic put on today. I know it was only the Raiders, but the Raiders do have a pretty decent defense, and Manning made them look like a bunch of chumps.
Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball are balling out of their minds. Montee is unquestionably the better runner of the two, but that isn't a knock on Knowshon. Knowshon is still going all beast mode while running, it's just that Montee has an extra gear with the ball in his hands that Knowshon doesn't. Unlike earlier in the season, Montee has also remembered that his hands are capable of catching a football. We all know that Moreno is amazing in the passing game, but Ball is quickly catching him. When you have two backs that are playing at the level that these two are playing, it makes your offense more balanced - and when we have a balanced attack, we simply can't be stopped.
John Fox, Adam Gase, and Jack Del Rio each called a fantastic game. Our offense, defense, and special teams were impeccable in the first half. I keep harping on the first half because after that, starters started to get rested and rotated out for backups. But man, that first half was a freaking thing of beauty wasn't it? If there was something that anyone could change in that first half, I sure didn't see it. Okay, maybe five TDs instead of four and a FG, but that's just being greedy, right?
Anyway, we got the #1 seed in the playoffs, and every team that wants a shot at the Super Bowl has to come through Denver! Lets represent by going to the stadium (I'll be there) for these games and losing our voices cheering and yelling for our team! Lets show the Seahawks fans what the 12th man really sounds like! Remember, nothing keeps you warm on a cold day quite like stomping your feet, jumping up and down, and yelling your fool heads off. That's what I plan on doing, and that's what I urge each and every one of you to do!
Lets go Broncos, it's time to get it done!