The second episode of the weekly Elway Access podcast is now on DenverBroncos.com, less than 24 hours after the Broncos’ 27-21 Week 2 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. With Broncos TV’s Chris Hall hosting, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway gave his thoughts on Monday night’s game and answered fan questions submitted via Twitter.
After falling behind 20-0 in the first half on the road against a strong team like the Atlanta Falcons, the Broncos fought back to make it a six-point game with less than four minutes to play.
“Number one, any time you turn the ball over like that on the road, even at home, your chances of winning are very slim,” Elway said. “To be able to do that and come back is difficult. Especially going into a place that’s hard to play, and do it in the first quarter.”
Despite a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs by running back Willis McGahee, the Falcons were able to run out the clock to deny Denver a chance at a game-winning drive in the final minutes. Elway was pleased with the heart his team showed in defeat.
“We always try to pull the positives out of it — the fact that we kept playing hard,” Elway said. “We really still had a chance. If we could have got one more stop there at the end of the game, we would have had a chance to win it. That’s where I was impressed, is they never gave up, they kept battling back. We realized that when we go into football games and play well, then we can win. It really comes down to not what the other team does, but how well we play. And we didn’t play well enough yesterday to win.”
One of the highlights of the evening for the Broncos was the play of McGahee, who gained 113 yards rushing on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“Willis has not lost a step,” Elway said. “So many times, these running backs get close to 30 and all of a sudden you can see them dropping off. Willis has just continued to be tremendous. He’s got great feet inside the tackles and is always going north and south. And plus when he’s running that well, we’re doing some good things on the offensive line, which we really did. They did a good job up front taking the pressure off. For us to continue to be successful, we’re going to have to have that running game, and that’s why it was good to see Willis run for that many yards.”
While McGahee enjoyed a big night thanks to solid offensive line play, Denver’s counterparts on the defensive side of the ball limited Atlanta running back Michael Turner to just 42 yards on 17 carries.
“Any time you turn the ball over and to be able to still be in the football game, your credit goes to the defense because they have to pick it up and make some stops,” Elway said. “They did that last night and they did a tremendous job against the running game, really bottled up (Atlanta running back Michael) Turner.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Broncos this week, as Houston will come into the Mile High City as one of six teams undefeated through two weeks. The Texans have given up a total of just 17 points in their season-opening victories over the Dolphins and Jaguars.
“Number one is to put this game behind us, try to learn as much as we can from this, but it put behind us and start looking forward again,” Elway said. “Number two is learn from the mistakes, look forward. Houston’s a very good football team. We’re going to have to be ready to go and bounce back in a hurry. Guys are ready for the challenge.”
The next episode of Elway Access will air Tuesday after the Broncos’ home game this Sunday against the Texans.