Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) jogs off the field after the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Denver 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks again, but this time around, things were different. A lot different. The Broncos not only put up a fight, but for the entire second half, they looked like the the better team. They out-scored the Seahawks 17-3 to finish off the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game up at 20 apiece heading to overtime.
The Broncos obviously ended up losing in overtime, surrendering a touchdown to Marshawn Lynch on the Seahawks’ first drive of the period. But I’m not here to give you a recap of the game, I am here to give you a very eerie pattern that we’ve seen in all of Peyton Manning’s (five) road losses while with the Denver Broncos.
In 2012, the Broncos’ second game of the year was against the Atlanta Falcons in their house, one of the toughest in the NFL to play. In fact, not many teams had beaten the Falcons at home at all since Matt Ryan was drafted in 2008 up until the 2013 season when injuries took over there like a plague.
Anyway, in Peyton’s second game as a member of the Broncos, they went into Atlanta and he threw I believe three first half interceptions. The Broncos were getting blown out, but then right when it seemed it was too little, too late, Manning orchestrated a comeback. The Broncos started making plays, and Manning got his team within a play or two of actually winning a game they had no business winning.
To drop to 2-3 in 2012, the Broncos lost a road contest to the Patriots that is somewhat the outlier in this pattern here. The Patriots led 31-7 at one point in this game, and the Broncos came back to make it a 31-21 game in the end. They had their chances to win the game, or at least make it a game but they lost three fumbles and couldn’t overcome their untimely turnovers, giving the Patriots prime scoring opportunities.
The next Broncos road loss wouldn’t come until week seven in 2013, when Manning made his infamous first return to Indianapolis. The Colts received Manning back with open arms until the game started, and then eventual defensive player of the year Robert Mathis had a field day against a battered Broncos offensive line.
Still, despite getting crushed in the first half of the game 26-14, the Broncos climbed out of a 33-17 hole in the fourth quarter to cut the Colts’ lead to 36-30. If not for a Ronnie Hillman fumble, the Broncos would have had a shot to get a stop on the colts down by just two points at the end of the game, but despite the miraculous comeback, the Broncos fell short and it was too little too late.
The next road loss would again come in New England, where the Broncos had a 24-0 first half lead erased by Tom Brady, who became completely unstoppable in the second half, to the tune of 31 unanswered points. The Broncos finally answered late in the game on a Peyton Manning pas to Demaryius Thomas to tie the game and send it to overtime, where the Broncos forced the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands but couldn’t get out of their own way…again.
Tony Carter touched a punt from the Patriots and New England pounced on it, giving them possession of the ball in field goal range.
That was the last game the Broncos had lost on the road until Sunday. Against the Seahawks, the Broncos were in a similar situation as all the other games. Down, in a hole, seemingly no momentum to be had at one point or another, and then all of a sudden, Peyton Manning remembers that he’s Peyton Manning, the owner of 20 plus Papa John’s pizza shops in Denver.
Oh yeah, and a five-time NFL MVP quarterback.
Manning looked like his old self in the fourth quarter until, with the Broncos down by five points, he threw an interception to Kam Chancellor with the Broncos in prime position to score.
The momentum was shot, but not killed in that moment, and the Broncos had to mount another near-impossible comeback with the Seahawks returning the interception into field goal range. Steve Hauschka nailed it to put the Seahawks up by eight, but that wasn’t going to deter Denver. Some incredible plays led to a drive that resulted in eight points, but the Broncos and Manning were left on the sideline at the end of the game with no control over anything that happened.
Marshawn Lynch happened. No quarterback spy happened. A loss happened.
The fifth road loss of Peyton Manning’s tenure in Denver happened, and it felt just like all the other ones.