Steve Atwater came into the Broncos Country Tonight studio on Tuesday singing.
And despite being a Hall-of-Fame safety and a lover of all things defense, he was singing about the Broncos’ offense.
“Rollin, Rollin, Rollin...”
Because that’s what the Denver offense did on Sunday against the Giants.
“Offensively we did whatever we wanted to do,” Atwater said, noting big catches from the receivers, Melvin Gordon’s 70-yard touchdown, even Javonte Williams. “Even though Javonte didn’t rush for that many yards, he played well. And Teddy Bridgewater was just carving the Giants up.”
Although the offensive line wasn’t perfect and they allowed some pressure and didn’t get enough push for the run game, Atwater believes they were “good enough,” and right now that will do. Because when an offense can keep the ball for more than eight minutes, drive 75 yards while converting multiple third downs and even a fourth down before finding its way into the end zone, that entire team can win a lot of games.
“The defense loves the offense when they can do that. ‘Keep us on the sideline; we want to be fresh when we go in there!’ That’s playing complementary football,” Atwater said, noting that the defense played well too, but Bridgewater was above and beyond expectation. “He did a great job leading offense through some nice crisp passes, and it was the 10-19 range where he completed the most passes.”
While Benjamin Allbright has not been a big fan of naming Bridgewater the starting quarterback, he acknowledged that No. 5 looked good on Sunday, moving the co-host to be “cautiously optimistic” about the Denver offense going forward.
“I used to be drinking Mountain Drew; now I’m a Water man,” Allbright quipped.
But in all seriousness, Atwater, Allbright and Ryan Edwards all believe a new level of confidence showed up on Sunday - both among the offensive players, but also the defensive guys. It was even obvious among the play calls by Pat Shurmur and Vic Fangio as they dialed up three fourth-down plays instead of punts.
“We have not seen that kind of confidence in the offense since Peyton,” Edwards said, noting the video clip of Von Miller saying as much to Bridgewater.
Atwater sees it too.
“Hundred percent,” he said, adding that it not only gives the Broncos confidence, it takes it away from the opponent.
“It was a huge deflator for the Giants and a huge inspiration for the entire sideline for the Broncos,” he said, noting that for the Broncos’ offense to drive down before half and score, then get the ball to start the second half and take eight minutes before scoring again, prevented the Giants from mentally getting into the game. “To be able to pick back up where you left off...that’s demoralizing for a defense. It feels like ‘we can’t do anything to stop these guys.’”
As Edwards pointed out, “that’s what winning teams do - take the soul out of your opponents.”
And the best part of that from Sunday’s game, added Edwards, is that it feels like the kind of performance the Broncos could “recreate.” It wasn’t just some good breaks or lucky calls, it was solid play from a lot of offensive players.
Atwater agreed, adding that if the Broncos can just keep grinding against other teams the way they did against the Giants, they can beat a lot of other teams.
Yes, even the Chiefs.
“When the Broncos went on the field - the Giants, especially defensively - they were ballin; they were coming with it. And I think we just broke their will after so many drives,” Atwater said. “And I think that can happen with a lot of different teams. Just keep sticking with it and sticking with it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just keep grinding, keep grinding. You’re not going to blow everybody out.”
Atwater recalled some of the losses to the Chiefs in the past few years where the defense kept KC in check but the Broncos just never had enough offense to win it. Sunday’s win makes a win over the Chiefs feel more plausible now.
“We held Chiefs close in some of those games past several years, and if we had had the performance like we did yesterday, we would have won some of those games,” Atwater said, to which Allbright responded, “It might have won some of those games.”
But Atwater wasn’t buying it.
“It WOULD have won some of those games.”
Broncos Country will get a chance to find out soon enough.
In the meantime, enjoy this gem from Atwater: