Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh (91) tackles Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
So, what’s worse Broncos Country: the Super Bowl blowout humiliation or this gut crusher?
The fact the Denver Broncos even had a shot to make this 26-20 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks a gut crusher is a miracle. But the question is still on the table.
For the Broncos, the answer is simple: the blowout in February.
Denver made a statement on Sunday in Seattle. Despite the conservative play calling throughout much of this game, it showed it can play with the Seahawks. It showed when faced with adversity, it can fight back. It showed despite a lack of faith from the offensive coordinator and head coach, it at least has a chance.
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The questions about the Broncos defense end here. The only reason the team stayed in this game at all is because of that unit. Not until the end of the game did the offense give its defense any help. But, as we saw in overtime, it was too late. The defense was exhausted and had nothing left. That’s not a pass, because the incredible plays by Peyton Freaking Manning at the end of the game should have resuscitated them.
It’s a shame with how well that unit played, people will remember that Seattle drive to end the game. It seemed too easy. Tip your hat to Russell Wilson and that Seahawks offense for taking the momentum back. That’s what great teams do. That’s what leaders do. Just as Manning did at the end of the game.
The Broncos made it a close one despite Adam Gase and John Fox having no faith in their offense to win. As Manning and the offense showed on the second drive of the game and the one to end it, Denver could move the ball. What happened in between is an unmitigated disaster.
The purpose of the game plan and play calling was to ensure the Broncos didn’t lose. It was clear Gase and Fox wanted to play ball control and field position.
Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) holds onto the ball while being chased by Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Kevin Williams (94) during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Denver 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The problem is that’s not how the Denver offense is built, as Manning and his mates showed at the end of the game. Memo to Gase and Fox: Tim Tebow is no longer your quarterback. Have a little faith Manning can make plays. See what happens when you do?
Why go away from what you do best? When you do that, you’ve already lost. The Broncos had a shot despite that lack of faith from their coaches.
What this game shows is that Denver can in fact play with the likes of the Seahawks. It can move the ball. It can make plays. It can score points.
The defense showed, despite that final drive, it is mean, nasty and physical and will at least give the Broncos a chance. In the NFL that’s all you can ask for. Remember: This is only the third game of the season with a myriad of new pieces on the defensive side of the ball. That means that unit should and will get better.
The expectation is that Gase and Fox pull their heads out of the mud and realize when you trust the offense and your Hall of Fame quarterback to do what it does best, it has success; even against a great team like Seattle.
Had they done that earlier, perhaps the defense would have shown up in overtime – if an overtime would have happened at all.
But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. As I said last week, no matter the outcome, don’t dwell on the good or bad. Just move on. Work even harder to ensure the deficiencies don’t happen again.
Three games down on a 16-game trek to Lombardi Trophy No. 3, the Broncos sit at 2-1 against three good teams.
They made a statement that they can play with anyone in the NFL.
Denver showed the mental fortitude that championship teams need to possess. The gumption. The toughness.
Would it have been better to get the win? Of course. But in the grand scheme of things, this outcome won’t impact what happens the rest of the season or in the playoffs. Unless these teams meet again in the Super Bowl.
More than anything, this game proves the Broncos can play with anyone in the NFL – even the mighty Seahawks.
Hopefully Gase and Fox get the memo.
Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Virgil Green (85) is pushed out of bounds by Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports