On Sunday the Broncos showed why you never say, “Never.”
As improbable as the Broncos’ 12-7 win over the Bengals was, it is real. As miraculous as it was, it is truly happened. As unbelievable as it was, they are off to a 1-0 start.
Welcome to the great unknown.
With the game about to slip away, the Broncos came up with a you-have-to-be-joking 87-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Orton to Brandon Stokley with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
While virtually all of our attention will rightly be focused on the stunning turn of events in the waning seconds, the Broncos’ effort throughout the game shed some light on just what kind of team they might be.
First off, they played really well on defense. They held the Bengals to 307 yards of total offense. They intercepted Bengals’ quarterback Carson Palmer twice and sacked him three times. They didn’t let him get into a rhythm and get the offense into high gear.
Granted, the Broncos’ defense wasn’t perfect and Cincinnati’s 91-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter was evidence of that. But the Broncos, under a new defensive coordinator, allowed seven points while playing on the road in an always emotional season opener.
I’ll take that.
Second, quarterback Kyle Orton looked pretty comfortable running the offense, even with an index finger on his throwing hand that he dislocated only two weeks earlier. I didn’t say the Broncos played well offensively because they didn’t. They are a work in progress and have some things they need to get right.
But I liked the fact the Orton stayed on an even keel. He was in control emotionally and didn’t get rattled, even when the offense sputtered. He got a lot of guys involved; eight different receivers caught passes. I loved how they incorporated the tight ends into the passing game.
The running game showed some flashed of good play, too. Correll Buckhalter averaged nearly six yards per carry. Brandon Marshall caught four passes. All of these things are good signs. Yes, they need to score more points. But it was their first regular season game in a new system and even though they struggled at times, I didn’t see anything that would lead me to believe the system won’t work. It will work and they will get better offensively.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Broncos simply found a way to win. They battled; they scrapped; they played hard. They showed heart and resiliency, attributes that teams don’t automatically have. If characteristics such as these are truly part of the foundation of the 2009 Broncos, then this season could really get interesting.
There is something to be said for winning when you don’t play great. I don’t believe the Broncos played a great game against the Bengals. There are plenty of things they need to work on and it doesn’t take a football coach to compile a list.
But they still won the game. They got the job done. When the clock showed all zeroes, they had more points than the Bengals.
I’ll take that, too.
The fact is the Broncos don’t have to apologize for anything. They went to Cincinnati to win a football game. They did that.
Bring on the Browns.
What did you take away from the win over Cincinnati? Thanks for reading and posting your thoughts.