The Denver Broncos have finished the 2012 regular season hotter than any team in the league. They pounded the pathetic Kansas City Chiefs 38-3 on Sunday to win their 11th straight game and complete the year with an impressive 13-3 record. The Denver victory coupled with the Houston Texans loss earlier in the day means the Broncos own the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. That is hard to believe when you consider the 2-3 start to the season and all the people who doubted Peyton Manning during training camp.
It was a dream regular season in the Mile High City; one that the fans have been waiting for a long time. Denver’s focus should now be entirely on the playoffs. This season has had a magical feeling to it for several months, and the 13-3 record is going to be just the start of a special story.
Here are some thoughts on the Broncos beat down of the lowly Chiefs:
- Broncos Country owes a big thank you to Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts. Their defeat of the Texans allowed Denver to leapfrog Houston in the AFC standings on the final day of the season. The Broncos are the top seed in the AFC for the first time since 1998. All they did that year was win their second straight Super Bowl title.
- With the New England Patriots locking up the #2 seed and Houston falling to #3, the Broncos will face the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, or the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs. Denver will be a big favorite over any of those teams.
- There has been a lot of talk in Denver about the MVP Award, Comeback Player of the Year Award, and the Executive of the Year Award. But it seems this team couldn’t care less about those while the Lombardi Trophy is within their grasp. If they win the Super Bowl that hardware will just be icing on the cake.
- This one was a beat down in every sense of the word. The Broncos humiliated Kansas City and dominated them across the entire stat sheet. The numbers are mind-boggling. 19 first downs to 2, 488 total yards to 119, and a 37:30 to 22:30 advantage in time of possession. You could go on and on. The only thing the Chiefs could manage with even a modicum of success was running the ball with Jamaal Charles early, but as soon as the defense adjusted to slow him down the Chiefs’ offense was completely useless.
- The defensive effort was awesome. They didn’t force any turnovers, but they finished with 4 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, and 6 quarterback hits. Brady Quinn had no chance against this defensive unit. Can you imagine how tough they will be in a playoff atmosphere with the Mile High crowd behind them?
- The Broncos completed a sweep of the AFC West (6-0) for only the second time in their history. The first occurred in 1998 when they finished 8-0 in divisional play (the Seattle Seahawks played in the division back then).
- The only criticism has to be the Ronnie Hillman fumble in the first quarter. Denver was driving to go up 14-0 and essentially end the game when Hillman got lazy with the ball and put it on the ground. The only way a horrible team like Kansas City is going to compete is with turnovers. That fumble not only led to the Chiefs’ only points of the day, but Orlando Franklin got hurt in the aftermath and Manning was running down the field trying to make a tackle. Luckily Manning wasn’t hurt and the Franklin injury was minor, but that turnover was a massive mistake and Denver has to limit those in the playoffs.
- 4 Broncos running backs combined for 172-yards rushing and a 4.0 yards-per-carry average. That’s a solid effort considering Denver is still without their workhorse Willis McGahee. Knowshon Moreno has played well in his absence lately, but Jacob Hester and Lance Ball both made an impact yesterday. McGahee is eligible to return to practice this week and can play in the AFC Championship Game if Denver gets there.
- Manning was on point and Kansas City didn’t even come close to containing him. His 304 yards and 3 touchdowns could have been much better had he not been pulled in the 3rd quarter. John Fox called the dogs off early otherwise Denver would have racked up 50+ points.
- The Broncos’ record books need to be updated quite a bit thanks to the season Manning put together. He set franchise marks for completions (400), passing yards (4,659), completion percentage (68.6), touchdown passes (37), and quarterback rating (105.8). Those numbers are completely ridiculous. John Elway hit the lottery when Manning chose to sign with Denver.
- Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have to be recognized for their highlight reel touchdown catches. They both caught scores pretty much one handed, and Decker’s beauty came with 10 seconds before halftime to put the nail in the coffin. If Denver is going to make plays like that in the playoffs their opponents don’t have a chance.
- Next up is a week off before the Divisional Round game on Saturday, January 12th. The Broncos have earned the bye with their dominating regular season and will play the lowest remaining seed at Mile High. Go Broncos!