For quarterback Peyton Manning, an 11-3 record and a nine-game winning streak don’t mean the Broncos have arrived.
Each week, Denver has prided itself on focusing on one thing and one thing only – the next team on the schedule. With New England’s loss to San Francisco Sunday night, the Broncos can secure the No. 2 seed – and an all-important first-round bye – by winning out. That won’t change the way the team approaches Sunday’s game against a Cleveland Browns team that has won three of its last four.
“The only thing that’s going to mean something to me is if we play well and get better this week and try to beat Cleveland,” Manning said. “That’s really all we’re focused on. That’s been the best thing we’ve done all year is approach every opponent the same, regardless of who the team was and where we were playing and what the situation was and what their record was.”
The Broncos rank in the top six in the NFL in yards per game, passing yards per game and points per game. But at this time of the season, with only two weeks left until the playoffs, it’s not about what Denver has accomplished so far. The emphasis is on getting even better and finishing strong.
“That’s the thing I’ve always believed in, in the month of December, ‘Are you getting better? Are you making some strides every week?,’” Manning said. “We still have some things that we want to get better at, we feel like we need to get better at, and that’s what we’re trying to do this week. Usually if you get better, hopefully a lot of times some good things will follow. That’s our goal is to get better this week and to try to beat a good Cleveland team.”
With so much recent success, as evidenced by the Broncos’ average margin of victory of nearly 13 points during their win streak, obvious room for improvement is hardly the first thing evident in Denver’s recent play. But the team has two options: it can continue to step forward, or it can regress. So Manning and Co. will remain intent on bettering, not just duplicating their efforts.
“I don’t feel like it’s worth sharing to the opponent but I think coaches are constantly challenging us,” Manning said. “And I think the offensive line coach was proud of that last drive, but he’s challenging the offensive line, ‘Hey, there’s another level we can take it to,’ so that’s what you want. You either get better or you get worse. You don’t stay the same.”
Tags: Peyton Manning