That’s all I had to say to my wife last Sunday when the Broncos received their second loss of the season, this time to Peyton Manning and the Colts, 27-13.
“You always say that,” she replied, rolling her eyes. “They always beat themselves.”
OK, so I, along with dedicated football fans across the country, say that every Sunday evening when their team loses. It’s a statement that says, my team lost today, they should have won, there still is hope for a successful season.
Even though they are sitting at 1-2 right now, I still have hope for the Broncos this season, and it’s no time to panic.
While Sunday’s final score would indicate that the game wasn’t close at all, it really was a close game and it was an indication that Denver could be good this year. The Broncos were in the game and had a chance to win it until mid fourth quarter.
You would think in preparing for a game against Peyton Manning, the team would have to emphasize a defensive-minded game. That is the wrong emphasis. When playing the Colts, you have to emphasize offense. Your team needs to be able to score to keep up with the Colts offense and then hope for a chance to win it by a field goal at the end of the game.
On Sunday, Denver’s defense did what they needed to do. They held the Colts running game to an absolute minimum. Champ Bailey and the Broncos defensive backs kept Manning’s main targets, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, at bay with 109 yards in receiving. The Broncos also shut down the Colts running game, holding them to an average of 1.8 yards per run. The defense showed up to play and had Denver in the game to win.
The offense, on the other hand, didn’t look so sharp. And if your offense isn’t going to be sharp against the Colts, well, you lose games by a score of 27-13.
The Bronco offense had two turnovers in the game that effectively gave Manning 10 points, and then in four straight plays couldn’t score any points from the Colts 1-yard line. Oh yeah, they committed another turnover in the red zone in the fourth quarter. That’s at least 10 points (if not more) that the Broncos offense gave up. The Broncos beat themselves last Sunday.
I know. Woulda shoulda coulda.
The point I am making here is that if Denver finds a way to put points on the board they will be a playoff-bound team. Quarterback Kyle Orton had a career-high day with 476 yards passing. He is at the top of his game. (He could cut down on the turnovers, but he looks really good.)
I think fans in Bronco country are still trying to warm up to head coach Josh McDaniels after so many years of success under Mike Shanahan. Everybody knows McDaniels is a smart, dedicated coach, but is he too inexperienced as a head coach to lead the team in the post season? Why couldn’t the Broncos score a touchdown from the 1-yard line last weekend? Josh, call a play that will put six points on the board! While I love running the ball over and over and over again, with the dinged up running back corps the Broncos have right now, maybe a creative play call was needed on the 1-yard line last week instead of run, run, run, run. Maybe?
Maybe Denver needed Tim Tebow in the mix to put the ball in the end zone? Who knows?
What I do know is that Denver is in a weak AFC West division this year. San Diego has finally proven that they aren’t any good despite what many say. The Chargers are a nobody team once again. The Raiders? Is Al Davis still alive? If he is, then the Raiders are not a team to worry about.
And then there is the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs. Who knew they would be good this year? I am not sold on them quite yet. They seem like a lot of hype, yet they are 3-0. We will have to see how they will handle a tough AFC rivalry with Denver in mid November.
If the Broncos can play the way they did on Sunday against the Colts the rest of the season, and put the ball in the end zone, it will be a good year for Denver. Despite the loss, they are good.
Everything is falling into place for Denver; they just need to stop beating themselves.
But I have said that before.