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Horse Tracks: The Denver Broncos picking up the pieces and moving on

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The Denver Broncos were annihilated 43-21 by the New England Patriots on Sunday. The players need to pick up the pieces of that game and move on to work towards getting back into position to secure homefield advantage. They'll need to be pretty much perfect from here on out to do it.

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The Denver Broncos were able to get past their annual house of horrors trip to the Northeast with yet another loss to the New England Patriots in the regular season. The race to homefield advantage starts now and Peyton Manning and the Broncos cannot afford another slip up like this down the stretch. The playoff rematch must be in Denver.

Why? Because playing in Foxborough is just as difficult as playing in Mile High Stadium. The biggest factor, though, is always turnovers as John Fox elaborated saying, "Yeah, they make it tough. Credit them, I think they had a good plan and they executed the plan. Like many times, turnovers made a difference. I think they had fourteen points there, scored in the kicking game and you know, and credit their staff and their players for playing better than we did."

All in all, I don’t think we played well enough. They played better than we did. -Head Coach John Fox

It wasn't all turnovers though. This game was lost on the execution side of the winning formula. Both teams were fairly even statistically, except when it came to situations where execution wins football games. Specifically, third and fourth downs.

"All in all, I don’t think we played well enough. They played better than we did", Coach Fox said, "and I felt third downs were a critical area without seeing the tape yet, and as well as, turnovers."

The Broncos defense had an especially bad day at the office, giving Tom Brady everything he wanted when it came to third down coverage's. It was certainly hard to watch for Broncos fans. Without rewatching the game, I cannot think of any play really standing out on the defensive side of the ball. DeMarcus Ware, maybe.

Broncos star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. certainly knows what all of us knows about how the defense played, saying "We just didn’t play good on third down. That’s usually one of our strong points. Brady, man, on third and long he killed us. They just did a lot of hurry up and our communication wasn’t like it usually is. They just out played us. You can’t make any mistakes out here and he makes you pay when you do."

Even so, when you have Peyton Manning you should be able to have a bad day at the office as a defense every now and then. The problem is, Manning also had a bad day at the office. Naturally, the media assumes its Bill Belichick and the Patriots and it may just be that. Although, that wouldn't explain a fairly even win/loss record between Manning's teams and Belichick's teams over the last half decade or so.

When asked if there was something about the Patriots that gets to him, Manning summed it up pretty well saying, "Oh, I don’t know. I mean, this is 2014, and I thought in today’s game they were better than us. I thought we were just pretty dead average on offense, I thought I was very below average, didn’t play well. So that’s all I can speak for, is really me. I’ve got to play better. I’ve got to do that starting next week."

That wasn't enough of an answer apparently, because someone quickly followed up with a question about Manning not seeing this loss having any relation to his past poor performances against New England. Obviously the questioner was ignoring the 2013 AFC Championship game, but Manning gave a straight answer saying, "I guess I’m not smart enough to draw that many connections. I kind of take them one year at a time. (There are) different players and we didn’t on offense do the things we talked about doing. That starts with me. I’ve got to play better. That’s pretty plain and simple. When the quarterback stinks, usually you’re not going to win too many games."

Brady, man, on third and long he killed us. -Chris Harris Jr.

If we're examining history, I believe the Oakland Raiders are going to face a very angry and focused Peyton Manning next week. Facing winless teams late in the season is always a dangerous proposition, so it might be a good thing that Manning will be working extra harder this week.

Records Keep Falling

  • Since Peyton Manning seems to be breaking records every week, we will start with him. With two touchdown passes on Sunday, he moves into sole possession of first place all-time with his fourteenth regular season game with two touchdown passes or more in a game.
  • Julius Thomas becomes only the third Denver Broncos pass catcher to notch back-to-back seasons with ten touchdowns catches or more, joining Demaryius Thomas and former-Bronco Eric Decker for that distinction.
  • And finally, Demaryius Thomas notched his fifth consecutive 100-yard receiving game moving into third all-time for that streak. He needs one next week to move into a second place tie with Mike Wallace who achieved that mark in 2010-2011. He'll need to go a few more games to catch Calvin Johnson's all-time mark of 8 straight 100 yard receiving games he pulled off during the 2012 season.

Horse Tracks

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AFC West News

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NFL News

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