Broncos: Five Things We Learned From Colts Loss
Plain and simple, the Denver Broncos lost to the Indianapolis Colts because of turnovers and mistakes.Forget about all of the pre-game hoopla involving Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay. Forget about the pre-game tribute to Peyton Manning. Forget about the shining star Andrew Luck. Forget about all the stupid penalties. Subtract any one of the turnovers and the Broncos win the game. But here's five things we learned from this disappointing loss.
1) Peyton Mannng is Human
Peyton showed the utmost class all week long, and demonstrated it again following the pre-game tribute to Manning on the big screen when he took his helmet off and acknowledged the crowd, and you could tell it was an emotional moment for him. Whether it was the distractions of the week, whether he wasn't physically at his best, (he admitted after the game he was more tired than usual going into the game, and was relieved the game was over) the fact is, during the game, Peyton was not the Peyton we are used to seeing, and we certainly can give some of that credit to the Colts' defense. Although Manning's numbers were good, we are reminded that even the greatest can't be great all the time.
2) Offensive Line Injuries are Taking Their Toll
What team in the NFL could play without either starting tackles, or either of their top two centers, and still function at a reasonably competent level? The Broncos clearly aren't one of them and that is a problem. Protecting Peyton Manning, not only from getting sacked, but from getting hit is paramount if the Broncos have any hope of reaching the Super Bowl. Sunday night, Manning was under constant pressure, and was hit way too often. Of course, one of the sacks resulted in a safety, and the Colts scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession. The Broncos need to to block better for Peyton and for the running backs. The offensive line could only produce 64 rushing yards against a defense, which admittedly was willing to give up some run yards in order to stop Peyton Manning.
3) The Broncos Have to Find A Pass Rush
Von Miller played his first game of the season and was not a factor. The Broncos managed to sack Andrew Luck twice, but way too often he had way too much time to throw the football. It seemed like whenever they got close to Luck, he was able to easily step away from the pressure. The main reason why the Broncos have the worst pass defense in the league is because they have no consistent pass rush. It may take Miller a couple of games to get into the swing of things, but the Broncos need him to be the Von Miller that grabbed 18.5 sacks a year ago. And then need some other people to step up and help get after opposing quarterbacks.
4) Ronnie Hillman Is Going to Have A Short NFL (Broncos) Career
It started in the pre-season and it rearing its ugly ahead again. For the second straight week, Hillman turns it over, only this week, a team mate didn't recover. What looked like it would be a sure touchdown and a two point deficit with over three minutes to play, ended up being the dagger in the heart that killed the Broncos come back. Sometimes it's not so much that you fumble, it's when and where you fumble that can spell your doom. It's happened to Hillman before at the goal line. Remember the pre-season game against the Seahawks? Unfortunately, this time the game counted, and could end up being the difference between home field advantage in the playoffs or not -which ultimately could determine if the Broncos go all the way.
5)The Broncos Are Resilient
When Adam Vinatieri nailed a 52 yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to put the Colts up 36-17, it looked like the final curtain fro the Broncos. But, they didn't quit. The defense was solid, and the offense moved the ball. And after a defensive stop with just over seven minutes to play, the Broncos got the ball trailing 36-30. But a leaky offensive line allowed the rush to get to Peyton, who's arm was hit as he threw, resulting in an interception, and leading to a final field goal by the Colts. The Broncos could have given up, but they didn't, and we know that they never will give up in a game as long as Peyton Manning is wearing a Broncos helmet.