After their domination of the New York Jets just five days ago, fans had a reason for optimism in regard to how the Denver Broncos would finish out their season. On Thursday Night Football, all of Broncos Country had a reason to smile for a second consecutive week. After a rough start, the Broncos came back from ten points down to earn themselves their fifth victory of the season by beating the Indianapolis Colts on the road 25-13.
Two wins, five days.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 15, 2017
We #BeatTheColts! pic.twitter.com/IGZhDib8Pf
Though their path to victory wasn’t as easy and clear as it came to be when the game first started. It was disaster from the get go for the Broncos, whose first two drives were the symbolic of their 2017 campaign — failure due to self-inflicted wounds. Their first drive ended in an interception, which resulted in a 50-yard drive by the Colts which was topped off with a Jacoby Brissett scramble for a touchdown. On their ensuing possession, the Broncos marched the length of the field, only to have Brandon McManus botch an easy field goal.
Trevor Siemian left the game in the first quarter after being injured when Barkevious Mingo roared by Garett Bolles for his first sack since the 2014 season. With Siemian sidelined, it was up to Brock Osweiler to try and lead the Broncos to a comeback victory after being down 10-0 halfway through the second quarter. It didn’t take long for the offense to start rolling with Osweiler at the helm, and the Broncos were back in business after a 21-yard touchdown scamper by Brock to bring the game within three points at halftime.
BROCK OSWEILER IS MOVIN'.— NFL (@NFL) December 15, 2017
TOUCHDOWN @Broncos! #DENvsIND #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/lFuMowQ421
If the Broncos were going to secure a comeback victory, they were going to have to keep making plays on offense — and that’s precisely what they did. The Colts received the ball to start the second half and were able to string together a scoring drive to extend their lead to six points courtesy of an Adam Vinatieri field goal. But the Broncos answered back with a productive drive of their own, with Osweiler connecting with Cody Latimer on a 21-yard touchdown strike to give Denver their first lead of the game.
After a quick three-and-out provided by the defense, the offense trotted back onto the gridiron to see if they could build upon their earlier success. With lightning-like quickness, Denver promptly stormed down the field and Osweiler was able to connect with tight end Jeff Heuerman on a beautiful 57-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos converted their two-point conversion attempt to give them a 22-13 lead with several minutes remaining in the third quarter.
54-yard @bosweiler17 ➡️ Jeff Heuerman TD!— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 15, 2017
With a successful 2-point conversion, the @Broncos lead by 9. #DENvsIND
: #TNF | NFL Network + NBC + @PrimeVideo pic.twitter.com/uJG2TSE5jZ
With a strong lead, the Broncos opted out of their earlier aerial assault game plan and focused on ball control in the fourth quarter. Denver often used heavy formations and chipped away at the Colts’ defense with a healthy dose of C.J. Anderson, who gashed and ate away at their front seven. With just 5:13 remaining in regulation, the Broncos were able to extend their lead to 25-13 when McManus drilled a 40-yard field goal.
In the end, the strong play of the Broncos defense in the second half, along with the high efficiency of the Osweiler led offense was too much for the Colts to overcome. Denver’s impressive comeback victory against Indianapolis gave them their first back-to-back victories in nearly three months. For all those wishing that the Broncos were going to lose out for a higher draft pick, I think it’s finally safe to say that the tank has been and no longer will be embraced.
Overall it might be a lost season, but the Broncos have showed signs of life in recent weeks. It may have been a win against the Colts, but a win is a win and tonight’s victory against Indianapolis was quite impressive. Here is to hoping their recent success can carry on through the rest of the year and into next season, where they hope to rebound and become contenders once again.
Hart’s Quick Hits
- We still don’t know exactly what the Broncos are going to do at the quarterback position next season, but you have to tip your hat to Brock Osweiler who had a fantastic game after taking over for Trevor Siemian. Osweiler finished the game going 12/17 for 194 yards and two touchdowns, as well as a rushing touchdown. It feels good to Brock and Roll!
- It wasn’t just Osweiler who flashed for the Broncos’ offense, they also had great production from their running backs. C.J. Anderson had a career day on the ground and amassed 158 yards on 30 carries. Additionally, second-year running back Devontae Booker had some highlight reel plays tonight against the Colts and made a few good plays. Shout out to the offensive line for performing well in both pass protection and carving up lanes in the running game.
- Kudos to Jeff Heuerman and Cody Latimer for making some big plays for the Broncos on offense. I’ve often been a critic of both of them throughout their time in Denver, but they certainly showed some of their big play potential this evening.
- After giving up a touchdown on their first drive, the Broncos defense was lights out the rest of the way and held the Colts offense to only six points the rest of the game. The No Fly Zone was in top form and the defensive front seven was able to limit the ageless wonder Frank Gore to limited production. The Colts had only 228 yards of total offense the entire game.