This Broncos Team is Good. Here's Why
By: Eric "The Caveman" December 17, 2014
There’s so much to say about this 2014 Broncos team. So many thoughts popped into my head when writing this piece, there was no logical way to get them all down in a nicely-flowing compilation. Therefore, I’m just going to throw down a bunch of bullet points and conclude as best as possible.
Divisional Play: The Broncos have won 4 straight division titles. That’s amazing. If that’s not dominance, I don’t know what is. Remember that this was done in a very good division – 3 AFC West teams made the playoffs last year, and 3 are still in contention this year. The Broncos have won 12 straight division road games. Only the late ‘80’s Niners have done that in the history of the NFL. John Fox has to get a lot of credit for divisional success. He’s been winning the AFC West with both Tebow and Manning, two radically different QB’s. And he had the same studly divisional track record from his Carolina days. The Broncos have a solid lead in all-time AFC West championships with 14. The Raiders are next with 12…and it doesn’t look like they’ll ever get to 13, let alone threaten to take the historical lead anytime soon. Orange Pride!!
The New-Look Broncos:
Many are worried about our offense, thinking that the high-flying, 400 yards passing pergame days are over. I say: good! We got the name “Denver Broncos” into all the offensive history books last year. Now we’re done with stats, and it’s time to get some rings. It’s not like the new offense is low-scoring either: Denver is the 5th highest scoring team in the league! I love this stat: before the Rams game (high-flying Broncos) – 2.5 points per drive average; after the Rams game (ground and pound Broncos) – 2.9 points per drive average. This offense is actually better than the old one. Combine that with a defense ranked 4th overall, and getting better every week. Manning’s still getting his stats: he just reached 4,000 yards passing for the 14th time in his career. No one else in the history of the NFL is even close to that number of times.
The Chargers Game:
Here’s a list of things that were against the Broncos last week (causing myself and many others to predict a Chargers win): The game was on the road. The Chargers just came off a tough loss. The Chargers needed to win this game much more than the Broncos did. Denver was banged up, both before the game and during the course of the game. Peyton Manning was very sick (to the point of needing IV’s). But what happened? The Broncos DOMINATED the Chargers even with all the issues they had. The Denver defense (with the help of Nick Novak doing his best Brandon McManus impression) held the Chargers to 3 points until the 4th quarter. If Fox/Del Rio hadn’t gone to prevent defense, you better believe that the Chargers wouldn’t have scored that pity touchdown. If the defensive play-calling were aggressive for the entire game, every game, this D would be every bit as good as Seattle’s. I’m not exaggerating there. It’s almost like Fox is doing statistical sandbagging. The Chargers’ D is very good. But the Broncos’ offense pulled a Grond and just beat on it until the gate couldn’t hold any longer. (BTW, who is tougher, has more fire, and is more all-around amazing: CJ Anderson or Emmanuel Sanders? You’re stumped. Or you’d better be.) The Broncos won a road divisional game by being more physical than a tough, desperate team. That’s a trait common to most Super Bowl teams.
Looking Back, Going Forward: John Elway couldn’t do it all on his own. He needed a hungry defense and a studly runninggame. Same goes for PFM. The ’97 Super Bowl team was gritty, won ugly, and went all the way. John Elway’s stats in Super Bowl XXXII: 12 for 22 passing, 123 yards, 0 TD’s and 1 INT. Look familiar to what Manning’s been posting lately? Terrell Davis’ stats in Super Bowl XXXII: 30 carries, 157 yards, and 3 TD’s. Look familiar to what CJ Anderson’s been doing lately? The last three teams to win the Super Bowl are: Seattle, Baltimore, and the New York Giants. What traits did those teams all have in common?
In conclusion, don’t whine. Rejoice! The Broncos are a home win against the Raiders away from sweeping the division…for the 2nd time in the last 3 years. The sudden but impressive shift to being a power-running, defense-first team is exactly what the Broncos needed. You know that the Manning, Thomas, Thomas, Welker, Sanders magic isn’t gone – it’s just dormant. If the Broncos run into a foe that stacks the box and sells out to stop the run, then we’ll see another 5-TD performance from the Maestro.
If the Broncos run into the Seahawks again in the Super Bowl and can only score 15 points, this defense will be able to hold Seattle to 10. That’s the beauty of it all – the Broncos can win however they need to. And they’re 5 wins away from bringing a 3rd Lombardi to Denver. Yes, we may have to face old demons by playing in Foxboro and meeting up with the Thugs from ‘Theattle. But I think that’s not only doable, it will be good for the Broncos. It will show all doubters, including (perhaps especially) Denver fans themselves, that the 2014 Orange Crush is the best in the world.