Sometimes a team has so much success that it starts to be taken for granted. This is not anyone’s fault—not the fans, not the media, it sometimes just happens when you win a lot.
And this year the Denver Broncos not only have won a lot, but are assaulting the records books and the imagination of even the most crazed Broncos followers.
Peyton Manning now has thrown for 3,249 yards and 33 touchdowns in nine games. He completed 25 of 36 against San Diego.
The Broncos’ 371 points scored are the most through the first nine games in NFL history, with the previous high being 358 by the Los Angeles Rams of the 1950 NFL Golden Age.
Tight end Julius Thomas had a 74-yard catch-and-run on Denver’s first drive, turning a short pass into the second-longest play by a tight end in team history.
Just crazy stuff.
The Chargers did a great job of controlling the ball, giving the Broncos the ball for just under one minute in the first quarter and for just over 21 minutes in the entire game. But in those 21 minutes Manning led Denver to almost 400 yards of total offense and to 28 points.
The Broncos’ scoring drives lasted 57 seconds, 2:27, 1:25, and 3:26.
Besides the long TD by Julius Thomas, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had a three-TD catch day himself, tying a team record of three touchdown receptions in one game that has now been done 12 times.
So all of this starts to look like old hat.
But I received a couple of great comments from Broncos alum Chip Myrtle, a linebacker with Denver from 1967-72 and a player who has often made very philosophical comments to me on various aspects of the game.
Myrtle was a starter for much of his Denver career and came to the Broncos as a free agent from the University of Maryland.
In his six years with the Broncos, the team never had a winning season.
He played back in the day, but his comments are from last night.
Noting that some pundits look for holes in a performance that otherwise is so successful, Myrtle said, “Criticizing a ‘win’ by someone, to me, means the person giving out the criticism has no idea what goes on in a football game or the week leading up to the football game.”
He clarified his comments, adding, “The main object in an NFL game is to win the game…time of possession, passes completed, fumbles lost, rushing yardage, passes dropped, field goals missed and made mean nothing. What was the SCORE at the end of the game? The ‘score’ only matters.”
All of us who are watchers, not players, fall into the same trap of placing a value on the performance that is sometimes artificial. Again, I say all of us, but we do have to reset our minds that the win is all we really want.
What else is there?
Chip Myrtle added that as a player, “At some point I realized how difficult it is to win a football game. It is fairly easy to ‘almost’ win. All teams share their biggest problem on Sunday afternoon, which is, of course, the other team. The other team wants to win the game also and did not fly in to their opponents’ city to make the opponent ‘look good’ and send their fans home happy.”
That is also a great line which I have heard NFL coaches say many times over four decades, “You have no idea how hard it is to win a game in the National Football League.”
Which is just one more reminder to every Bronco fan as to how remarkable the team’s current success truly is.
Thanks to Chip Myrtle for his contribution to this blog.