Monday Night Football. The end-all be-all for the professionals and fans alike, primetime. Unfortunately, the play was not “prime” for the Broncos last Monday, as they turned over the ball four times in a 27-21 loss to Atlanta.
A Bronco’s fanatic myself, I will stand by their side no matter how they play, but I was severely nauseous throughout that toxic first quarter, which took nearly an hour.
Granted, it was not solely due to Peyton Manning’s three seemingly consecutive interceptions or Knowshon Moreno’s late-quarter fumble; in week two, the replacement referees rubbed everyone the wrong way.
Thanks to yet another lockout, the regular referees have been idle since June, with no immediate plans to rescue the game from the incapable hands of their replacements.
The first half of the game was not completely forsaken however; down 20-0 with six seconds remaining, Manning and second-year receiver Damaryius Thomas were able to connect for a touchdown.
Of course John Fox first had to throw his challenge flag because Thomas was initially ruled to be pushed out of bounds without both feet touching the end zone. After review, what had been seen as a clear inbounds pass by everyone else was finally visible to the officials, and was ruled a touchdown.
Following what was surely an uncomfortable halftime break, the Broncos emerged looking less like the flailing CU Buffs and more like the Manning-led team from last week’s victory against the Steelers.
However, after two more touchdowns from our offense, a stellar sack from 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Von Miller and a hopeful last minute drive by Manning, it all proved to be too little too late.
Fox was very optimistic at the end of the game, considering the fire-engine-red face he sported throughout the majority of the game, particularly when sending spittle-flecked reprimands at the officials.
“In regards to Peyton, he settled in and we scored three times. That says a lot about him and the offense and what they did,” Fox said to Boncos.com Next-Day Notebook reporter, Sam Davis. “Our guys will bounce back, we have a new test, a new challenge, this week against the Texans.”
Speaking of which, the current leaders of the AFC South started the season with an impressive 2-0 start.
Statistically, thanks to the Bronco’s abysmal first half, the Texans look to have the upper hand offensively, posting a +5 turnover ratio to Denver’s -4, 748 total offensive yards compared to the Bronco’s 670 and a much higher 3rd down conversion percentage. They lead the entire league with those stats heading into week 3.
Realistically, Manning and co. should prove those stats to be misleading, especially when taking into account each team’s previous two opponents. Neither Miami nor Jacksonville are particularly strong teams, 1-1 and 0-2 respectively. Meanwhile, the Bronco’s faced the perpetually-decent Steeler’s and the on-the-rise Falcons.
Regardless, the Orange Crush defense will certainly have to be on their game to stop powerhouse running back, Arian Foster who currently accounts for half of the teams 6 touchdowns. Despite feeling ill in last Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, he racked up 110 yds on 28 carries with one 1 TD.
“We’ve got to get off to a better start,” Manning said according to ESPN.com blogger, Bill Williamson. “We’re still learning about each other, the key is, you want to win games while you are continuing to learn.”
Right you are Peyton, us fans are behind you in hoping that this Sunday shows just how quickly that can happen.