Mile High Monday: Broncos Begin Home Stretch with Big Win
Matt Prater (5) celebrates with teammates after kicking a 64 yard field goal at the end of the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)
Some may have been worried about a letdown game after the Denver Broncos emerged from a tough four game stretch that yielded 3 victories over bitter division rivals. After a slow start, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Broncos put those worries to rest with a 51-28 whipping of the Tennessee Titans at Mile High Stadium.
Titans’ coach Mike Munchak stated earlier in the week he hoped Manning would regret his decision to choose Denver over Tennessee as his free-agent destination, but with Manning throwing for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns while improving to 11-2, that probably isn’t the case.
Denver registered 39 first downs and 551 yards in total offense against a Titans defense that typically plays well against the pass. Tennessee came into the game having only given up 8 passing touchdowns on the season. In what has become commonplace this year, the Denver offense made a good defense look pedestrian while continuing their record-setting pace.
The Broncos need only 75 points in the final 3 games to break the all-time scoring record and Manning needs 6 more passing touchdowns to break the record for touchdowns in a season. With the way the offense played yesterday it seems it’s not if these records will be set, but when and by how much.
Here are some thoughts on the Broncos big win over the Tennessee Titans:
- Despite being down by a point at halftime there was no doubt in my mind the Broncos were going to win the game. After Matt Prater drilled an NFL-record 64-yard field goal in 14 degree weather it certainly felt like the Broncos’ day. The last time a Bronco kicker set a record for field goal distance was in 1998 when Jason Elam booted a 63-yarder. The Broncos ended that dream season with a Super Bowl championship. Hopefully Prater’s kick will be similar omen.
- Without the benefit of some research I can’t say when the Broncos last won the turnover battle without turning it over once themselves. But it sure feels like it’s been an eternity. Von Miller forced a Chris Johnson fumble that allowed Denver to break the game open and big Terrance Knighton intercepted a tipped pass, all without seeing the Broncos offense give the ball away a single time. If Denver can turn this effort into a trend they will be very hard to beat in the playoffs.
- Speaking of Miller, he finally had the breakout performance some fans have been clamoring to see. Although he has been playing well he hasn’t been decorating the stat sheet as much some would like. But against the Titans he racked up a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Those are the impact plays that swing football games.
- The emergence of Montee Ball should be big news in Broncos Country, and it’s coming at a perfect time. He’s rushed for 194 yards over the last two games and is showing how difficult he is to tackle. Rarely do you see him get taken down by the first defender to meet him. His bruising style would have made a massive difference for Denver in last year’s playoffs and I expect him to be a big part of their playoff run this time around.
- At this point of the season it was a technicality that Denver was going to qualify for the playoffs but it still felt good to see it become official. The Denver victory secured a trip to the playoffs for the third straight season and the 20th time in franchise history.
- Next up is a Thursday Night matchup against the San Diego Chargers at Mile High. This is the toughest game remaining on the schedule and a victory will give Denver a great chance at being the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Go Broncos!
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