Denver Broncos Still Struggle, Get the Win Anyway


Nov 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) catches a pass during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos win against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday may have been the biggest win of the season, but it still left a sour taste in the mouth. It took a first half scare to get the team to find some edge and come out swinging. The second half was clearly a massive improvement over the first half, but Bronco fans are still shaking their heads about this team. Where is the passion? Where is the anger?

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This Denver Broncos team should be better than their performances have shown. The defense still looks a lot like an item on the menu at TCBY, soft. When Ryan Tanehill is capable of leading his team to 36 points, there is a problem with the defense. Maybe the game plan is the problem. Perhaps this team is just unmotivated. It could be that the talent level on the Broncos defense is not as good as it looks on paper. Injuries have been a bit of an issue, but until the second half against the Dolphins, the Broncos defense did not look up to the task.

The defense still looks a lot like an item on the menu at TCBY, soft.

It was not all bad Sunday, and CJ Anderson was a definite bright spot on the field. Anderson, along with a solid performance from a much maligned offensive line, looked like he was capable of putting the Broncos on his back and running through walls. Things did not come together until the second half, but the Broncos stayed with the run, which payed off big time. Anderson, and fellow running back Juwan Thompson broke free for some big gains. Anderson was the nail in the coffin in the fourth quarter, and his breakaway run to ice the game was a thing of beauty.

Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning. He found his receivers downfield, as Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas continued to shine. There was even a Wes Welker sighting, as he caught a few passes, and found the end zone. With Julius Thomas on the sideline, the rest of the core four receivers stepped up, and made big plays at big moments.

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  • So, what about that sour taste? Obviously, a win is what is important, and it is nice to file that away heading into the big showdown with Kansas City in week 13. However, if you were not confident in the Broncos heading into week 12 against Miami you probably walked away from the game with some big questions. Is this the defense we are going to see the rest of the way? Miami was able to move the ball easily in the first half. Aqib Talib was unable to play effectively through an injury, which may have hindered Denver in the first half, but it was more than that. The pass rush still seems lackluster. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are great at getting to the quarterback, but the blitz packages were largely ineffective against the mobile Tanehill.

    It seems like the game plan still is not coming together, and it took major halftime adjustments to get the defense firing on all cylinders. Jack Del Rio is struggling to find the right motivation for his defense, and his game planning has not been great. There is no doubt that injuries have been an issue, but they were an issue last season, and the Bronco’s defense never looked this lost.

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    The main question to be asked is, “Where are we?” Where is this Broncos team? Is it on the right track to make a return to the Super Bowl, or is that an unrealistic goal? Having the offense that Denver has means that anything is possible, but having this defense means a deep run in the playoffs is that much harder. It is not time to sound the alarm bells, but someone might want to get the bells ready. If the Broncos leave Kansas City without a win, it may be time to make bigger changes than just getting a new kicker.