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Broncos players emphasize the win, improvements, not the mistakes

A win is a win is a win is a win. The Denver Broncos come away with a 'W' against the Kansas City Chiefs despite their best efforts to beat themselves with penalties and missed opportunities, but players keep pledging that these mistakes and miscues are temporary.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday's 24-17 win over the Chiefs was anything but satisfying, but if you didn't watch the game and only listened to players' comments, you might have a different impression.

The mood out of the Mile High locker room seemed slightly defensive as Broncos admitted the win wasn't dominating, but it was still a ‘W' and had some worthy positives even if overshadowed by several negatives.

"We're playing a lot of good football teams. We played two really good teams, two playoff teams off the bat. Feel fortunate to win those games, have another tough game next week as well," Peyton Manning said, adding that they have certain goals as an offense that they are trying to achieve each week. "So we're hitting some of those goals, and some things we can do a little better job of."

We played two really good teams. ...Feel fortunate to win those games. We have another tough game next week as well.   -Peyton Manning, quarterback.

One of the first things Manning and Coach John Fox will try to "do a better job of" if they want to have a chance against Seattle next week is work on keeping the offense on the field.

Against the Chiefs, the Broncos scored on four of their seven drives, which Fox highlighted on Monday as a positive from the game. But of those seven, only two were in the second half, and only one resulted in points - three points.

The Chiefs offense was on the field nearly 21 minutes in the second half compared to the Broncos' measly nine. Sure, Denver's defense didn't help matters with the multiple penalties accrued to allow Alex Smith and his receivers to stay in business, but the Broncos offense has to hold its own.

"Every game there are positives and there are negatives and what you do is try to continue the positives and try to work on the negatives," said wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who had eight catches for 108 yards - his first 100-yard game in the regular season. "I think on both sides of the ball we have some improving to do and I think that we're going to do that. We're more than capable of correcting those things."

Fox credits good ball security and red zone efficiency as two reasons the team is undefeated after Week 2.

"There's always going to be things to clean up, and I'm sure there will be next week," Fox said. "The good news is they're self-inflicted wounds in many cases that we need to correct."

Fewer penalties undoubtedly will rank high on the list of self-inflicted things to improve - and avoid. The defense had eight penalties, including five offsides calls.

"After maybe one or two, I think we probably should've adjusted a little bit better," Fox said.

Ya think?

Fox said it was "obviously" a cadence issue.

"Our fans, albeit great fans, make a lot of noise so they had to be on silent cadence," Fox said, adding that he thought the refs might have been a little abrupt. "It's something that we're going to turn in [to the league]. We'll see what happens. I can't speak about it but we'll turn it in."

DeMarcus Ware, one of the four defenders caught jumping, had a more accountable explanation.

It's watching the ball, but when there's tons of movement before the snap, sometimes you get a little antsy. They had a really good snap count. There's no excuse. -DeMarcus Ware, defensive end

"They had a really good snap count. There's no excuse," Ware said. "It's watching the ball, but when there's a lot of movement before the snap of the ball, sometimes you get a little antsy. That's what a lot of guys did."

Either way, Jack Del Rio better dial that one in before next week because nothing's getting any easier next week against Seattle's offense.

But it wasn't just the defense having a yellow flag party yesterday. Chris Clark's illegal man downfield penalty called back a 55-yard run by Demaryius Thomas was a huge buzzkill.

"Certainly anytime you have a touchdown called back because of a penalty, that's disheartening because it's a huge swing - 14-point swing potentially," Manning said. "So, look, those are things we can correct."

Though the penalties and lack of scoring were frustrating, the players emphasized several positives from the game, especially the defense's goal-line stands.

In the red zone, the Chiefs ran 16 plays for a total of 25 yards. KC had 12 goal-to-goal plays, and the Broncos D stopped 10 of them.

Clearly a talking point, the "bend not break" metaphor was strong with this team yesterday.

"Our defense was hanging in there and obviously bending a little bit, but certainly not breaking," Manning said. "Those long drives and not giving them points on two of them, I thought that was significant."

Among the highlights was also an improved running game, particularly Montee Ball's third down burst that went for 23 yards and led to a 4th and 1 conversion, a huge improvement after starting third down with 24 yards to go.

"You're looking to try and get it fourth and reasonable where at least he has to make a decision," Manning said, adding that once he saw the Chiefs drop a bunch of guys into coverage he changed the play, hoping to get five, maybe 10 yards but never expected the great yardage from Ball. "We had the momentum; it was nice to go for it on fourth down and get it."

Manning acknowledged it was a shame the offense couldn't stay on the field later in that drive and convert on third down, "but it was a huge job flipping field position with that run by Montee."

Ball credited his line and Manning's last-minute change.

"Offensive line did a great job, but I put it on myself to get as much as possible because it was a great check," Ball said.

Demaryius Thomas has yet to have the breakout game this season we are all expecting, but Sunday was a far-better showing than last week. Thomas had five catches for 62 yards and one spectacular touchdown.

"Just tried to put it in a spot where only D.T. could get it, and he makes that catch a lot," Manning said. "That's a catch that only a couple guys can make and he's one of them because of his size, athletic ability, his ability to jump."

Sanders believes the offense is in decent shape with a lot of confidence in its scoring ability. The key is staying consistent throughout the game.

"It feels good to go down and score on the opening drive," the wide receiver said. "It gives everyone confidence that we can seriously do it over and over and over again, but we've got to start finishing these ball games a lot better and that's the thing we're trying to focus on."

Sanders also doesn't think Broncos Country has seen the real offense yet.

"I think we've got a lot of weapons," he said. "We're still not happy about putting up 24 points. I feel like we've got a potent offense that can continuously do better, and I think that we will."

Sanders probably should mention that to Fox, who said yesterday that the Broncos are not "going to beat everybody 58-0."

But Fox will take the win no matter what the score.

"These games are hard to win," Fox said. "We're 2-0, I don't know how many teams in the league are 2-0. I don't much concern myself with that, but I'm happy that we are."

For the record, Coach, the Broncos are one of four teams in the AFC to be 2-0. But they are damn lucky they're not one of four teams going into next week 0-2.