It was almost exactly the game Broncos Country feared it would be. When the Denver Broncos played the Cincinnati Bengals, the game started off slow for both teams. It was reminiscent of the Broncos loss to the Buffalo Bills in the early stages of the 2017 season. A game the team should win, but they just do not seem up for. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.
But it turns out it was safe to go back in the water. As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast, there is something different about the Broncos right now. They seem to find ways to win, even when they don’t seem to be in the game. Just a few weeks ago, this very same team would have found a way to lose to this broken Bengals team. However, the one big takeaway is that something has clicked, and the Broncos are finding ways to win where they used to find ways to lose.
The first quarter and a half was an excellent opportunity to get to know the punters, and Colby Wadman showed his ability to be the weapon Denver thought they were going to have in Marquette King. But that wasn’t exactly uplifting. Halfway through the second quarter, Brandon McManus missed a 50-yard field goal, and that “here we go again” feeling started to creep in, but then it didn’t.
After the missed field goal, the Broncos defense pushed the Bengals back, and forced a punt. The ensuing drive consisted of a healthy dose of Phillip Lindsay, with a nice catch and run from Devontae Booker mixed in. In the end, it was Lindsay using his vision to find the hole and get into the end zone. He anticipated the blocks, cut against the grain, and put Denver on the board.
The #Broncos just keep finding ways to win games, and this one keeps the playoff dream alive. On the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast, @AdamMalnati16 & I give credit to Vance Joseph and, like #BroncosCountry, can't get enough of @I_CU_boy. #DENvsCIN https://t.co/XTN4cKjHHw— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) December 3, 2018
The second half began with a couple quick three-and-outs. When the Broncos recovered the muffed punt, it took just two plays to score their second touchdown. On second-and-seven, Case Keenum hit Courtland Sutton down the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown pass. It was a 50/50 ball that Sutton was able to grab over the corner. At that point, it looked like the Broncos were off and running.
The Broncos overcame injuries to Chris Harris Jr., Derek Wolfe, and Josey Jewell. They overcame a sluggish start that would have been there downfall in previous games. They overcame a Royce Freeman fumble. This was exactly the kind of game Denver would have found a way to lose early in the season.
The last three weeks have been fun in Broncos Country. Watching them beat the Bengals told the biggest story. Traveling east and playing the early game used to be a guaranteed loss. Since the bye week, the tables have turned. This shift could result in a playoff bid for the Broncos. What we do know for sure is that the rest of the season is going to be a fun ride.