I know the NFL is a bottom-line league. Close games, good effort and heart don’t mean too much if a team can’t win games.
I also all know it’s very early in the season. It is tough to come away with many solid opinions because so little football has been played.
After what I saw Monday night against the Falcons, however, I think the Broncos are better than I originally thought they would be.
I know it sounds crazy, but I can’t remember feeling better after a loss.
It would be tough to imagine the Broncos playing a worse quarter offensively than the first quarter against the Falcons. They turned it over four times in that quarter alone. Those giveaways helped the Falcons race out to a 20-0 lead.
Yet, by the end of the game, the Broncos were one stop away from getting the ball back and having a shot to win the game.
Huh? Are you kidding?
The Broncos were on the road, playing one of the best teams in the NFC and they gave away virtually every opportunity they had in the first quarter.
And yet, the Broncos nearly won. This is what happens when you have a talented quarterback and a solid defense.
There is no doubt that the Falcons did a great job disguising its defense early in the game and forcing Peyton Manning into some mistakes. Well, Manning adjusted. He rebounded from the interceptions and engineered touchdown drives covering 80, 88 and 45 yards. In the first two games of the season, the Broncos already have five touchdown drives of 80 or more yards.
Manning struggled mightily in the first quarter. But he is more than capable of making adjustments and leading his team back. He nearly did both on Monday night.
My guess is Manning won’t have too many quarters like his first quarter against the Falcons. Even with that tough 15 minutes, he was more than good enough to help the Broncos get back in the game.
In addition, one cannot overlook the job the defense did against the high-powered Falcons’ offense. The Broncos’ defense allowed two touchdown drives and the critical third down conversion late in the fourth quarter that enabled Atlanta to seal the game up.
Beyond that, Denver’s D was outstanding. The Broncos held the Falcons to just 67 yards rushing. They kept talented wide receiver Julio Jones in check. But most impressive was the fact that the Broncos’ four turnovers only led to 13 points for the Falcons.
The Broncos defense kept Denver in the game until Manning and the offense got things together.
“As rough as our start was, our defense enabled us to have a shot to get back into the game,” Broncos head coach John Fox told 850 KOA on Tuesday. “Guys just kept hanging in there and lo and behold, we had a chance to win that game as poorly as we played.”
Again, it is worth repeating. The Broncos were on the road playing one of the best teams in the NFC. They had an uncharacteristically tough first quarter. They fell behind 20-0. Nonetheless, they almost won the game.
I can’t say I feel good about the Broncos losing to the Falcons. At the same time, I am hardly worried. The Broncos are a good football team. Yes, they have to win games. I am confident they will.
What are your thoughts about the game against the Falcons? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.