Normally, the Broncos overcome a slow start by finishing with a flurry and recently, with a win.
Sunday against the Patriots, the Broncos started strong but then faded, thanks in large part to three second quarter turnovers which the Patriots turned into 13 points, en route to a 27-16 halftime lead.
Losses are hard enough to take. Losses in which a team feels its own mistakes played a pivotal role are even tougher to swallow.
Yet, despite falling to the Patriots, the Broncos are still in good shape to make the playoffs. They are still on track to win the division.
That’s what I’m focusing on. Perspective is so key. Despite the disappointment of losing, the Broncos’ big picture outlook remains bright. I’m not using the big picture to excuse away what happened against New England, but I am keeping in mind that not a lot changed for the Broncos because of the loss.
The Lions’ dramatic one-point win over the Raiders kept Oakland one game behind Denver in the AFC West race. The Chargers are also a game back after defeating the Ravens. The Broncos know that if they take care of business against Buffalo and Kansas City, they will advance to the postseason.
And the good news is Denver has plenty of room to improve.
“We haven’t played our best football yet but I think we feel good about the position we’re in, in terms of the division race,” cornerback Andre’ Goodman said after the loss to New England. “Right now, that’s the only thing we can focus on, and being able to play better, especially in big games like this.”
Cornerback Champ Bailey said Sunday’s loss needs to serve as a wake-up call.
“We need to concentrate on getting better,” Bailey admitted. “We showed today we’re not ready to go into the playoffs and make a push. We gotta get better. We have only two or three weeks to do it and if we don’t, we’ll be sitting at home.”
I believe the Broncos will get better and I firmly believe they’ll win the division. Why? Because they have the players who will take the loss to the Patriots to heart and who will redouble their efforts to improve, as Goodman and Bailey suggested they need to do.
In addition, Sunday’s loss, while disappointing, had to convince the Broncos they indeed belong in the playoff picture and indeed are capable of making a push if they get there.
“We learned we can play with those guys and win the physical battle,” quarterback Tim Tebow told 850KOA after the game. “We can score points on a team like that and our defense can stop them. We just have to do it a little more consistently and we can’t turn the ball over.”
One game lead in the division. Room to improve. The type of players and coaches that will put the effort in order to get better. Take care of things and the Broncos know they are in the playoffs.
Those are all reasons which make the loss to the Patriots a bit easier to stomach.
Do you think the Broncos will win the AFC West and advance to the playoffs? I’d love to get your thoughts.
Thanks for reading and posting.
Tags: Mike Rice