By all accounts, the Broncos turned in a heck of an opening act to begin the regular season Sunday night against the Steelers. No, they didn’t play a perfect game but they did a lot of things right.
They won. And at times, they looked really good in doing so.
I was anticipating this season more than any other Broncos season in recent memory. What I saw only reinforced the fact that Broncos fans could be in for a really fun year.
First off, the Broncos beat a good team but didn’t play their best. I know the Steelers were without some key players. But the Broncos held a good offense to 19 points and the Broncos’ offense scored 24 points against a defense that is considered one of the better ones in the league.
No doubt the Broncos have some things to shore up. The defense gave up some big plays and had issues on third down. My guess is the offense would like to run the ball better, even though part of that was due to the fact that the Steelers controlled the ball so well.
As much as the defense had some problems, it also made some big plays. Tracy Porter had the game-sealing pick six and also batted down a sure touchdown pass. Five different players had a hand in a total of five sacks. And the defense played better as the game went along.
Granted, Pittsburgh’s running game has major issues right now but nonetheless, the Broncos gave up only 284 yards of offense, just 75 on the ground. Those kind of numbers keep a team in the game.
In addition, that kind of defensive performance gives the offense a chance to get things going. The Broncos did just that. After falling behind 19-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Broncos responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive (one of three in the game) on its next series, a possession that was vintage Peyton Manning. He efficiently operated the no-huddle, completed 6-of-7 passes for 57 yards, found four different receivers and kept the Steelers completely off balance.
The Steelers forced Manning and the offense to stay on the bench for all but 36 seconds of the third quarter. When they had the chance to stop Manning and the Broncos offense in the fourth quarter, they couldn’t do it. The Broncos scored the final 17 points of the game and shut the door on the Steelers’ efforts to rally for a win. The Broncos’ offense and defense played its best football in the fourth quarter.
Manning is just too good. He hadn’t played in an NFL game since January of 2011 and in his first game back, with a new team no less, he completed 19-of-26 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. The guy is incredible. And to think he’ll only get better as he continues to play this year. Going into the game, if anyone had any doubt about whether or not Manning could still be a great NFL quarterback, I don’t see how that person could still be wondering.
On top of everything, this all came in front of the home fans. They got a glimpse of what is to come this season and I have to think they came away both pleased and excited.
We all know the Broncos have work to do. There are plenty of things they need to tighten up as soon as Monday night when the play the Falcons on the road.
But there is also no doubt they did plenty of things well in the opener and most importantly, came out with a win.
There is a long, long way to go but the Broncos are off to a terrific start.
What impressed you most in the win over the Steelers? Thanks for reading and weighing in.