The chatter will undoubtedly be the impressive play of Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs against backups, but Ronnie Hillman had a solid outing against the best defense in the league. Despite the lack of running lanes in the middle of the field, Ronnie managed to make some plays and gain some chunks outside the tackle. Perhaps his biggest play though was a blitz pickup on a 3rd down that allowed Manning to convert to Demaryius Thomas on the Broncos only touchdown drive with the starters in the game. He ran tough and more importantly held on tight to the ball when he was in traffic.
This isn't about statlines. For an entire offseason a large portion of Broncos Country treated him with the sort of ire reserved for hated opponents. I'm not saying Hillman is the best back in the stable, but he is far from inept back he was painted to be.
Good to see you have success Ronnie, keep it up!
All it took was one terrible game on the biggest stage for people to question a record setting offense. Guess what? Seattle's defense is not 43-8 better than us. They are not the untouchable force that game painted them out to be. Playoff football is sudden death and that format allows for far more variance than other sports that utilize 5 and 7 game series to decide the better team. Our offense picked a bad game to execute poorly. That's all it was, poor execution. Tonight the Broncos scored on a 14 play 9 minute drive. They had two such drives in the Super Bowl, but both ended with negative plays (turnover and turnover on downs). This is how you play a team like Seattle. You grind things out and fight for every yard. You have 10 play drives that eat up double digit time of possession. I've re-watched that Super Bowl about as many times as some of the Broncos, and you could point to lack of execution to a fault.
This offense is not broken. Peyton Manning is not a liability on the big stage. This offense has the ability to combat and hang with the greatest defenses in the NFL. The name of the game is execution which is a big difference from ineptitude.
For all the griping about how we had to wildly change and alter, for all the noise about how this model cannot succeed, the truth remains that the Peyton Manning offense is predicated upon execution. Not finesse, not smoke and mirrors.
Seattle won and got to dominate the narrative with bloated bravado all offseason. Some folks bought into it and the loss as traumatic as it was--and it was a bad loss, had people believing a lie.
This win was cathartic not because it somehow changes the outcome of February 2nd, it is cathartic because it removes the illusion.
Seattle is not untouchable. The Denver Broncos do belong. This offense is best equipped to meet the challenge.