On the stat sheet, wins are wins and losses are losses.
But there are losses that shouldn’t be - just as there are wins that should be.
And then there are also wins that shouldn’t be but are.
Wins like “Broncos 23, Chargers 22” and “Broncos 24, Steelers 17.”
After multiple losses in which one or two plays could have meant a win instead of a heartbreaking loss for the Broncos, it was beautiful to see the team fight hard for two back-to-back wins few thought they’d get.
Keep doubting.#VictoryMonday pic.twitter.com/XJVAZaaCXt— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 26, 2018
And now that players are proving critics wrong - and the team is proving naysayers wrong - a “formula for winning” has emerged.
It’s not rocket science.
In fact, it’s not even science.
It’s common sense - but that doesn’t mean it’s always so easy to do:
Don’t turn the ball over to your opponent;
Take the ball away from your opponent;
Run down the freakin’ throat of your opponent at every possible turn.
At least I’m pretty sure that was what the “Game plan for Steelers” sheet read.
Vance Joseph hinted as much while speaking with Dave Logan on Orange and Blue 760 Monday afternoon.
“We’ve played two of the top three AFC teams the last three weeks. Our formula is coming to light - taking the ball away, not giving the ball away and running the ball. That’s been consistent [the last two games],” Joseph said, adding that the Broncos’ own offensive line has been winning the battles.
“We’ve been physical up front, giving up just two sacks in the last two weeks and we rushed over 100 yards each of the last three weeks,” he said, pointing out that quarterback Case Keenum has also “played his best ball the last three weeks.”
In fact, Keenum was a bit of an unsung hero from Sunday’s win - which is the perfect way to rely on him. No. 4 threw for only 197 yards but had two touchdown strikes and suffered just two sacks. BUT ZERO INTERCEPTIONS and several deep balls for big gains.
Couple those stats with Phillip Lindsay’s awesome-sauce 110 yards on the ground and you’ve got a recipe for some good football.
“It’s been amazing to watch [Lindsay] run between the tackles,” Joseph told Logan. “You look at this guy’s body and you think there’s no way he can do it, but he’s one of the best inside running backs I’ve seen in football in a long time.
“He’s a flash in the hole...and when he gets to the second level, he’s a blur,” Joseph added. “It’s Week 13, and he’s consistently doing this. He is the real deal. The offensive line is providing holes, but he’s definitely hitting up in there with a lot of courage.”
Put all that with four takeaways from the defense and you’ve got a recipe for great football.
And now - in the words of Von Belichick - it’s “on to Cincinnati” with this game-winning formula.
Once again, treat yourself to the mashup of Dave Logan’s broadcast of the game in the first few minutes of the First and 10 @ 10 show today.
When there are as many as highlights as yesterday’s game, you cannot listen to it enough:
“INTERCEPTED IN THE END ZONE! They tried to dump the ball over the middle and Shelby Harris with the play of the game. Sixty-three seconds to go, and the Broncos are going to get out of here with a 24-17 victory!”