The huge Sunday Night game in Denver between the Broncos and Chiefs determined who had temporary supremacy in the West. The Broncos seized the opportunity with a 27-17 win to move both teams to 9-1 this season, and put the Broncos on top of the AFC West, due to the head-to-head win. Not only did the win move the Broncos to first place in the AFC West. It also moved them from the 5th seed in the AFC to the 1st seed in the AFC, and it put them in the driver’s seat for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Peyton Manning‘s ankle seemed to be fine, which is a huge relief to Bronco fans. Montee Ball had two touchdowns and looked more comfortable in the offense this week. Here is what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what’s next for the Broncos after this huge win.
What I Liked
O-Line Protecting Manning
With Manning’s ankle ailing, the Broncos needed to protect him well Sunday. The Chiefs have two great pass rushers, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, but neither one recorded a sack Sunday night. The Broncos offensive line did a great job not giving up a sack to any Chief player and kept Manning upright all night. This was very crucial because getting sacks and turnovers are big parts of the Chiefs defense. It was also crucial because of Manning’s ankle. It would not have been good if Manning would have gotten hit in the ankle again and if he were to suffer a setback in the healing process. I was very impressed with the offense line’s performance against a very good pass rushing team, especially without Broncos tackle Ryan Clady.
What I Didn’t Like
Stupid Penalties/Trash Talking
I did not like some of the penalties that the Broncos were taking last night. The one that stuck out in my mind was on Duke Ihenacho. Ihenacho made a great play knocking a ball away from a Chiefs receiver in the end zone. When the two players were walking back to their respective huddles, Ihenacho got into the receiver face and bumped into him. Ihenacho was flagged for taunting and it gave the Chiefs new life, and eventually they scored a touchdown when it looked like the Broncos defense was going to hold the Chiefs to a field goal. Jack Del Rio pulled Ihenacho for the rest of the drive to teach him a lesson. Also, late in the game things got a little chippy when the Broncos were trying to run out the clock. Fortunately, they did not get flagged but they very easily could have and it could have given the Chiefs a chance to come back towards the end of the game.
Broncos at Patriots
The Broncos will travel to take on the Patriots. The Broncos will play on Sunday Night for the second straight week. While this game does not have the same effect on the AFC West as last Sunday night, it does have big implications on seeding in the AFC playoff picture. It also renews the rivalry between Manning and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Expect this to be a shootout between the Broncos and Patriots.
The Broncos visit the Patriots Sunday Night and kickoff at 6:30 PM MDT.