Taking a look at the second team to come out of Week 6 undefeated, we turn to the Denver Broncos. General Manger John Elway’s acquisition of former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is paying huge dividends this season. The Broncos current record of 6-0 comes after a game that most expected to be a blowout.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have yet to win a game this season, but their performance on Sunday shows they have the ability to do so. The Jags intensive attacks on Sunday exposed holes in the Broncos offensive line and secondary. Manning fumbled two snaps on bad exchanges which were quickly snapped up by the Jags’ D-line.
They also managed to intercept Manning for a pick-6 close to halftime, bringing them within two points (14-12). That makes two interceptions on Manning for the season. No longer perfect, but close enough for the record books. It was after a Manning kneel-down to end the half that Broncos fans decided it was a good time to boo the home team.
Bronco Mike of MileHighReport.com explores this issue from two sides. If, Mike states, the fans booed because they expect better from their team, there is agreement. The Broncos were inconsistent, lacking the smooth and efficient play we have seen under Manning’s direction.
But, Bronco Mike asserts, if the boos were for the failure to meet the Las Vegas 20+ point spread, or due to the lead being “just” two points, he has no kind words for Broncos fans. After the way the Broncos have dominated all year, a 2-point lead can be disappointing. All things considered, a lead is a lead. Two points or 20, the Broncos were winning, and continued to do so in the second half. The team got it together in the final quarters and brought home a 35-19 win.
The Jags presented challenges the entire time however. This game was not a footnote to the Broncos stellar season. It was a wake-up call. The entire team is a work in progress. The Dallas Cowboys took advantage of flaws in the Broncos O-line in last Sunday’s history-making battle in Texas, and the Jaguars appear to have paid close attention.
Without a doubt the Broncos will address and attempt to correct these flaws. Linebacker Von Miller is set to return from suspension this week and he is just in time to lend aid during the upcoming game at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Colts.
Next Sunday will be the first time Manning has played in Indy as a Bronco. Colts’ owner Jim Irsay has already stated Manning will be honored for his 14 years as their quarterback, but expressed “no regrets” in releasing him.
Recounting a conversation between the two, Irsay reports Manning told him he needed to take Andrew Luck in the draft. “You’re crazy if you don’t.” Although Irsay goes on to speak highly of Manning, Broncos coach John Fox took exception to what he considered an “ungrateful” attitude due to the single Super Bowl the Colts won during Manning’s tenure. Normally unflappable, Fox expressed his displeasure at what he called “a cheap shot” at Manning, saying one ring is more than some teams have managed to win.
Taken all together, next week’s “homecoming” will be another test for the Broncos, and bittersweet for Manning. Whether the Broncos remain unbeaten or not, both teams will bring their best to the field. The Colts and the Broncos are both looking for a playoff berth and the clash in Indy will go a long way towards moving one or the other forward in the race to the Super Bowl.
Written by: Brandi Tasby