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Broncos-Seahawks final score, 26-20, doesn't show the 'fight' Broncos put up against Seahawks

What a game. Sheesh. While both frustrating and exhilarating - and at times a deja vu to February - this Broncos team didn't let that game get into their heads. They forgot 43-8. And thanks to the fight all game by the defense, and the life of the offense at the end of the game - when it ultimately matters - football fans finally saw a score more indicative of these two teams' abilities.

Steve Dykes


There's a whole lot more to that score than those final numbers.

That score includes two very significant two-point scores - a safety in the fourth quarter that signified a crucial turning point in momentum and a two-point conversion to tie the game that tangibly changed the momentum. Two was my favorite number yesterday.

That score includes an 80-yard drive in under a minute that ended in an 8-point addition to tie the game.

There's a whole lot more to that score than just 26-20. When you remember 43-8, yesterday's score says a lot.

That score includes eight punts from Britton Colquitt that averaged 47.8 yards.

That score includes a Denver Broncos defense that held the Seattle Seahawks to six punts, three field goal attempts and 10 stops on third down.

That score includes a 6-point difference that doesn't really show how close this game came to being the other team in the ‘W' column.

And that score doesn't quite show the fight that was in our favorite team yesterday.

But when you remember 43-8, that score says a whole lot.

It says, We Can Do This.

It's tough to get close and lose. It's tough to fight hard and not be rewarded with the win. But a loss like that can also make you tougher.

Going into the bye week with a hard-fought game and a loss that could have easily gone the other way might just be the perfect recipe for the rest of the season.

"It's hard to say what you hang your hat on after a loss, but I think there is something to say about the way our team pulled together, offensively and defensively, to get back in that game," said tight end Julius Thomas, who was responsible for the Broncos first touchdown of the game. "That is not easy to do. That takes a strong mindset and a bunch of guys who continue to believe. So we'll keep it going and get better from this."

Brandon Marshall made a point that this third-week performance wasn't the first time the team showed its strong will to persevere.

"I thought we showed character in the first three games," Marshall said after the game, noting that the outcome was just unfortunate. "We came up short, but I thought we played a hell of a game. There is no consolation prize."

No there's not, and there aren't moral victories. Or are there? In this game, given the February outcome, I believe there are.

Ever the fighter, Chris Harris, Jr., praised the team for its continual effort.

"We fought with them the whole game, we didn't give up. We could have easily given up and let them run away with the game," he said. "We took their punches and punched them right back and kept fighting. That's something from this team you want to see. Being in that situation we know that we can always come back and win."

Terrance Knighton praised his defense but kept it real.

"It's tough, it hurt. Just the fact that they ran the ball in," Knighton said of Seattle's OT touchdown by Marshawn Lynch, the explosive back who the Broncos had basically contained all game. "We felt like we were the better team."

And though the Broncos walked out with their first loss of the season and head to the Bye Week 2-1, Knighton is encouraged.

"We felt that we could come in here and get a victory," he added. "It didn't work out that way, but we improved as a team, and I think it's a perfect week for our bye week, get our minds right, come out and get things rolling down the stretch."

Peyton Manning, who by many accounts looked rusty through three and a half quarters, showed in that final minute, he is still a force and can dictate an offensive drive that John Elway would be proud of.

But Manning was disappointed in the loss and particularly of his own missed chances.

"The game didn't start out the way we wanted to. We had a good second drive. I thought Virgil Green's injury was significant - it changed some things and limited us a little bit formation-wise," Manning said, adding that his incomplete pass to Julius Thomas in the end zone was a key miss. And once the Broncos got down 17-3, they were playing with their backs against the wall. "Of course being down two scores we became one-dimensional, which is not what you want against these guys. It wasn't working for us, especially being down two scores"

But the game is four quarters for a reason, and even when that one-dimensional offense struggled - which was often yesterday - it did fight back.

"We obviously fought back better this time than last time," Manning said in reference to the 35-point loss to Seattle in February. "Last time we got down early in the game and never got anything going, so we did get something going here in the second half."

And that is thanks in large part to a defensive safety that changed the momentum in the Broncos' favor - finally.

After an up-and-down first half offensively, and some quick scores by the Seahawks in the second quarter that gave every indication this was not just a Super Bowl rematch but a Super Bowl repeat, the Broncos D stayed tough through the third quarter and then brought life to the team with an amazing series to start the fourth quarter.

DeMarcus Ware got his first sack of the game that put the Seahawks on their own one. The next play Nate Irving and T.J. Ward made sure Lynch saw nothing but blue grass as they brought him down for a safety.

"The defense had a critical turnover to springboard us," Manning noted.

The Broncos couldn't get any offense going in the next series, but the Broncos D came back big again with an interception by Harris Jr. to set up the Broncos first touchdown. Suddenly, the game became a game.

"We got our guys back and that's why we can play straight man against them like we did," Harris, Jr. said. "And if we see them again, we are going to play straight man again. Talib and I can play man all day."

After the defense held Seattle to a field goal in the final minutes of the game, the Broncos' O finally rewarded their efforts.

"We just had to go 80 yards in under a minute with no timeouts, that's not easy to do against this defense," said Manning. "Those are things you take it when you get in this situation, ‘Hey, we have been here before, we can do it.' I try to build off things like that."

And there will be many things to build on while taking a critical eye to many others. Among the positives was an impressive debut by Wes Welker, back from a two-game suspension as well as concussion recovery.

The slot receiver's six catches for 60 yards were often clutch plays as is typical for Welker, and though a pass intended for him was intercepted (which included a terrible no-call on a major hit to Welker), No. 83 showed why the Broncos have missed him.

"I just tried to help out where I could," Welker said, adding that making it a game at the end was a huge positive for the team. "You're never out of it, you just keep on playing and keep on grinding. Our defense made a great stop after that and we were able to tie it up. Unfortunately, we came up short in overtime."

While many of the Broncos defenders also defended their offense in the post-game press conference, Thomas summed it up best.

Our defense, man, they did a tremendous job. They played their butts off to keep us in the game.   -Julius Thomas, tight end

"We knew coming in this was going to be a tough road game, a tough environment, playing against a really good team.  We knew we needed to play better than we played in previous weeks," Thomas said. "I think we made an improvement from that standpoint.  We're still getting a little too stagnant at times on offense.  But our defense, man, they did a tremendous job. They played their butts off to keep us in the game. It definitely was not the outcome we wanted, but I think we learned a little bit and we are still growing as team."

And even if Manning didn't get to make the ultimate play-of-the-game to try for a win in overtime, he did have the quote of the day.

"It's disappointing, but it is Week 3."