The Denver Broncos finally put together a complete game, dominating the Green Bay Packers 29-10. In a game where both sides of the ball were fairly dominant with 500 yards on offense and a smothering of Aaron Rodgers on the defensive side of the ball.
Predictably, most of us jumped all over giving out offensive game balls, but the defense simply had its best game of the year. Not only that, they had the best game of any defense all year long. That Orange Crush defense might as well be a game ball factory, because all they do is dominate each and every week.
Each week, the MHR staff gives out Game Balls to the big performers of the Win That Was. In a game where crowd noise was vital for the defense, Broncos Country showed up. They get that first game ball.
In a game that had single tickets going for upwards of $660 and as much as $6,500 the Broncos crowd did not disappoint. The crowd at Mile High may have been a bit muted in the last three years, even the atmosphere at the stadium has changed between what was the Josh McDaniels era, to the Tim Tebow era to the Peyton Manning era. When the crowd gets hyper, Manning will histrionically wave his arms while he attempts to get his thoughts together. He even got the team's score board operator in hot water, but none of it mattered on Sunday night when two undefeated teams met for only the fourth time this late in an NFL season.
The crowd was in the ear of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense all night as DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Shaquille Barrett and the rest of the Broncos defensive line set up a 'How-to' on how to beat Green Bay Packers with exceptional coverage from the #NoFlyZone. It's color by numbers now and between, the Pat Bowlen tribute, the team's play and the crowd, I've got to go with that boom heard across the Rocky Mountains and give my ball to Mile High.
There really aren't a ton of players on the team who would have had a ton of interaction with Pat Bowlen, but the fans did and tonight they were finally able to thank him and make sure that this season may be special. - Ian Henson
My game ball goes to C.J. Anderson, but really it goes to both him and Ronnie Hillman. The reason I focused in on Anderson is because a lot of players would have quit on themselves after losing the starting job, but what Anderson did was complement Hillman nicely with every touch of the football. On the day, the two would combine for 33 carries for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns, with Anderson logging 14 of those carries for 101 yards and a score. That's 7.2 yards per carry people. Loving this Broncos rushing attack! - Tim Lynch
The No Fly Zone
The Denver Broncos secondary gets my game ball. The Broncos defense did put quite a bit of pressure on Aaron Rodgers, but for a decent portion of the game, they had to cover receivers downfield for between five to eight seconds. They didn't disappoint, only allowing Rodgers to throw for 77 yards.
Wade Phillips employed a variety of different coverage shells and schemes which confused the Rodgers-led offense and were a driving force for the teams 29-10 victory over the Packers in Sunday Night Football. We all knew that the Broncos secondary was absolutely impeccable, but I don't think any Broncos fan predicted that they would hold Aaron Rodgers to less than 100 yards passing. Tonight goes down as quite possibly one of the best defensive performances I have witnessed in my lifetime. All of the defensive backs brought their "A" game tonight and deserve a big Mile High Salute. - Christopher Hart
My game ball goes to Gary Kubiak. He's been working hard all year long to make some semblance of an offense out of his scheme and Peyton's. He's step by step leading us to be a team later in the season that can compete for a championship. The offensive line is finally starting to gel, and from that the rest of the offense is showing a very significant spark. You can see the buy-in in the player's eyes after this game. We have a head coach who isn't just a custodian of the team, but a leader. He's gotten over 500 yards of offense out of a green offensive line in a new system with a couple of young unproven RBs, and an aging QB who is a "bad fit" for this scheme. Today I'm very appreciative of the leader we have on the sideline steering the ship. - Sadaraine
My gameball goes to none other than Peyton "STFU Pete" Manning! I could ramble off stats: 21 of 29 for 340 yards and an INT, but like most things, raw stats are only the frame, not the actual picture. Peyton looked amazing. Scratch that, Peyton looked phenomenal. At no point in this entire game did Peyton look even the slightest bit uncomfortable. His arm strength was there, his decision making was there, and his accuracy on passes beyond 5 yards was there. I don't even have an issue with his interception because like a hot shooter in the NBA, Peyton was in a zone and wanted to push limits to go for the jugular like we all want to see. This time it came up craps, but I loved the aggressiveness shown on that play.
Perhaps the bye week did Peyton and the offense good. I am not one for believing the hype of the bye week simply because the players have those days off. They aren't out there practicing daily, so not much "gets figured out at the bye", but apparently Manning and Demaryius Thomas didn't get that memo. It's clear they put in extra time together. I loved how he started trusting and throwing to Virgil Green. I loved his command of this "hybrid" offense. I'm telling you right now, if Manning and the offense keep this up, and the defense continues to do their thing, we just witnessed a team going from playoff contender to Super Bowl participant. When this offense shows up, there isn't a single team in the NFL who can hang on to lose by two touchdowns, including the Patriots. - Pete Baron
On a night with SO many things to celebrate, it was good to see every part of the offense playing his part, including our $70 million-dollar man, Demaryius Thomas. While Peyton Manning has been taking most of the heat for the offense’s poor execution of late, DT has been quick to say he’s to blame too. For any critics who were concerned the wide receiver was going to go soft now that he had a big contract, Thomas had a 168-yard answer last night. There were no touchdowns on his stat sheet, but there were huge catches all night. Eight of them in fact.
"We had the bye and I just wanted to come back and make sure I had a big game. I want to finish the rest of the season like that. That’s what I look forward to from here on out. I’m not going to say I’ll have a big game like that, but I will play my best and do whatever to help the team."
And Thomas has a lot to keep playing for. Aside from the desire to keep this winning streak alive, his mom is slated to get out of prison this month, and DT is hoping she’ll soon be able to watch him play in a live football game for the first time in his life. I think it’s safe to assume we’ll see many more big games from No. 88 this season. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
My game ball goes to the offensive line. I know I gave it to them last week, but they deserve it again this week. They have found their groove. They run blocked well (34 carries for 160 yards) and pass blocked well as Manning was hardly touched all night - ESPN credits the Packers with 3 QB hits - I didn't think that they got that many. They did this against a defense that came into the game second in the league in sacks and first in the league in points allowed per game. They are the main reason that our offense put up 27 points on a team that had allowed a total of 101 points in 6 previous games. Ryan Harris, Evan Mathis, Matt Paradis, Luis Vasquez, Michael Schofield and even Tyler Polumbus (27 snaps yesterday) take a bow and enjoy another week of recognition from me for your fine work last night. Max Garcia played poorly in his limited offensive snaps so he doesn't get to take a bow. - Joe Mahoney
My game ball goes to Virgil Green (with Owen Daniels getting an honorable mention). I came into the season thinking the tight ends would get a lot of love in the Kubiak/Manning offense, and was disappointed with their lack of targets and catches up until this game. Green came out in a big way, and I hope it means he will be utilized more in the passing game for the weeks to come. He caught all three of this targets for a total of 61 yards, with his longest catch being 32 yards. Between him and Daniels, the Broncos' tight ends had a total of 105 yards! Keep it coming, boys! - Kelly Fleming
My game ball goes to Pat Bowlen. It was a night for Pat - inducted into the Ring of Fame as his Broncos played his hometown team (Bowlen is a Wisconsin native), and the team they beat to earn their first Super Bowl championship. And there is no doubt in my mind that the Broncos' performance we saw Sunday Night was fueled by the desire to honor Bowlen. Thank you, Mr. B. - Kyle Montgomery