That padded practice on Christmas day paid off for the Denver Broncos as they absolutely slaughtered the Oakland Raiders 34-13 in the final regular season game of the year.
The Broncos jumped out to a 31-0 lead by halftime and pulled Peyton Manning after he went 25-for-28 passing for 266 yards and four touchdowns (145.8 rtg.) He not only extended his NFL record with 55 touchdowns on the season, but he also set the record for the most passing yards in a single season in team history. A strong case can be made for Manning being the best overall player in NFL history.
With the Broncos’ 606 points on the season, they set the NFL record for the most points in a single season.
The first half was also highlighted by Demaryius Thomas and his 113-yard, two touchdown half. This was his 15th career 100-yard game in the regular season.
Nate Irving started in place of Von Miller, and recorded his first career sack to go along with his two tackles for a loss.
The Broncos rode the rest of the game out on Brock Osweiler’s shoulders. Osweiler got real comfortable with his tight ends and finished the day 9 -for-13 for 85 yards. He lead the team on one scoring drive, which resulted in a field goal.
The running game put up 125 yards with Montee Ball (10 carries for 72 yards) and Ronnie Hillman (12 carries for 30 yards)getting most of the carries. It was a nice day to limit Knowshon Moreno, who had six carries for 23 yards, and five receptions for 41 yards and a receiving touchdown.
David Bruton led the depleted defense with five tackles, and the Broncos didn’t give up their first points of the game until there was 4:30 left in the game. It was a complete game for the Broncos, who have been gunning for one for the entire season.
The Broncos clinched home field advantage for the entire playoffs, and they will have next week off.
It’s one and done from here on out. The greatest offense in NFL history won’t mean much if the team is bounced from the playoffs before the Super Bowl. That’s the main message for the next two weeks. Who knows? Maybe with the week off, the Broncos will re-watch last January’s Ravens game again for some extra horsepower. It wouldn’t be a bad idea.
The season starts now!