UniMANNINGable. That word, albeit made up, is a perfect way to sum up Monday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers.
Down 24-nil, catching up, let alone winning, was hard to hope for, even with Peyton “The Sheriff” Manning under center. With their 35-24 victory, the Broncos became only the third team in history and the first on a Monday night to overcome such a large deficit on the opposing team’s turf.
Unfortunately, the fumbling, stumbling and panicking of the first half felt all too familiar, much like unwanted relatives staying for Winter break. Their presence is no longer alien, which makes it worse.
After two botched punt returns, (which prior to this week, I had never had cause to worry about) and a so-sad-it’s-funny open field face-plant by Eric Decker, I was feeling pretty downtrodden.
Especially when Peyton Manning threw an interception the very next play. Not exactly the start the Broncos were hoping for.
The poor defense was forced to run themselves raw attempting to stop Rivers and co from completely burying the score. They were essentially on the field for the entire first half thanks to turnover after ruined punt return.
Rivers went 11-17 for 131 yds, two touchdowns and a pointless interception in the first half. Not very impressive, proving that we were really just beating ourselves.
However, it was like two new teams emerged from the tunnels after the half. The Broncos came out swinging and Manning hit Demaryius Thomas with a 29 yd pass for a touchdown less than five minutes into the quarter.
Thomas had been oddly quiet prior to this point in the game, tallying 8 yds on one completion in the first half. Then, cornerback Tony Carter, filling in for an ill Tracy Porter, scooped up a Dumervil-induced fumble and ran it in for 6.
The Denver sideline, which resembled a line of funeral attendants in the first half, came to life – it was go time.
With help from the dependable Willis McGahee who was key on third down conversions, Manning completed a series of passes with Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tammie and Thomas which led to a Decker touchdown. Then, long time teammate and Peyton-pal Brandon Stokely caught an amazing 21 yd pass for the go ahead touchdown.
Before San Diego had time to plan their comeback, CB Chris Harris made his second interception of the night and ran it in for a 46 yd touchdown.
In the second half, Manning showed his true worth, going 13-14 for 167 yds, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Thanks to a stellar 98.0 QBR in half number two, Manning’s average came to a very respectable 73.4, while Rivers’ average dropped to 2.6.
Needless to say, the Broncos looked as though everything was clicking into place for them in the second half. The first half be damned, I know Chargers’ fans wish their game went from miserable to MANNtastic instead of spiraling into an irRIVERSible loss.
And since the Chargers are league rivals, I don’t feel bad mentioning that they are only the fourth team out of 244 to lose a home game after leading by at least 24 points. Ouch Rivers, it looks as though “the Sheriff” has come to rescue his division.