There are games that define a team. That define a season.
Yes, it’s Week One, but this 24-21 Denver Broncos win is one of those games. However it happened, the Broncos found a way to win their opener. However it happened, they walked out of Mile High Stadium with a huge win. They’re now in first place in the AFC West. As the cliche goes, you never turn down a win in the NFL.
What makes this game significant goes beyond the win. No doubt Vance Joseph will remember his first victory as a head coach in the NFL. But what will make him proud is how his team didn’t quit. Faced with adversity, Denver continued to fight. Sure, it helps to have a team like the Los Angeles Chargers that has a special talent for losing in heartbreaking fashion. The fact the Broncos didn’t quit and kept fighting is what the team takes away from this season-opening win. It’s what will make Joseph the most proud and allow him to flash a bright smile.
Denver's six consecutive opening game wins is the longest current streak in the NFL.— The Orange Page (@theorangepage) September 12, 2017
There was some good, really good: Trevor Siemian putting the offense on his back and looking like an NFL quarterback, which I called in the Mile High Report predictions. Denver’s tight ends showing forms of life. But what really stood out was Mike McCoy. It’s no coincidence the Broncos offense looked the way it did given what he’s done in the past in Denver and how he fits his system to his players. The defense was downright dominant too. There might actually be an answer for the run defense.
But then the game changed, and it’s where the Broncos need to grow and learn. After a crucial fourth-down stop by the defense at midfield and the offense humming, McCoy had his headsets hacked by Gary Kubiak and/or Rick Dennison. Denver’s offense got conservative and cute. Before you blink, Philip Rivers and the Chargers have the Broncos defense on its heels and in control of the game. Broncos Country was wondering what the hell was going on. In a sense, we still are.
That was close ...— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 12, 2017
But we're ☝️ - 0! pic.twitter.com/v6pO75bKhl
Then you do blink and Los Angeles has the chance to tie the game with a chip-shot field goal. Enter Shelby Harris, who had his Brandon Marshall moment to save his team. Instead of a forced fumble that led to an inconceivable touchdown for a win, Harris gets the inconceivable blocked field goal for a win.
Games like this define a team’s character. It shows you what it’s made of. The key for the Broncos is to build on it. Revel in the win but know they have a lot to work on to reach their goal. It doesn’t get any easier with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday for Week Two. But it no doubt gives Denver confidence to win like this.
It is only Week One, but games and wins like this define a team. They define a season.