Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) makes a catch while being pushed out of bounds during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
This is all about small victories, Broncos Country.
The win is the Denver Broncos won’t finish with the cursed 13-3 record. The 1996 playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens two seasons ago. The Super Bowl debacle.
With a win over the Oakland Raiders, Denver will finish 12-4 and still get a first-round bye.
How is that possible with how bad this team looked?
There is no hope for the Broncos after this performance. They’re done. They’re too inconsistent. They can’t play like that in the playoffs. So much for the Super Bowl.
The 37-28 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals doesn’t mean squat.
The Bengals needed this game far more than Denver and it showed. Cincinnati wanted no part of going to Pittsburgh needing to beat the Steelers to get in the playoffs. The Broncos, meanwhile, wanted no part of this game.
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Some will say, “But, but the Broncos could have gotten home-field advantage.” The only way that happens is if the Buffalo Bills, led by Kyle Orton, go into Foxborough and beat the New England Patriots. Yeah, that isn’t happening. Broncos Country knows what happens when Orton gives your team, “the best chance to win.”
The Broncos only needed to win one of their last two games to get the bye. This loss means nothing.
Chew on this: The last time Denver finished 12-4 was in 1997. It won the Super Bowl that season.
As is the case this season and going on the road to New England, no one gave the Broncos a chance to go on the road and beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
Once Denver did, there was no chance it could do it again in Pittsburgh.
Once the Broncos did, there was no chance they could do it again in the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers.
The exact same things that are said right now were said then.
Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) tackles Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The talk is stronger than ever that Peyton Manning is more washed up and done than he was before this game. The poor decisions and four interceptions fuel the fire.
Manning looked as bad Monday Night as he did against the San Diego Chargers at home last season in December for Thursday Night game.
In fact, that’s how the whole team looked – offense, defense, special teams and coaches. Minus a few good drives to start the third quarter, the Broncos didn’t get off the plane. The last place this team wanted to be was in Paul Brown Stadium.
Let’s say this again: this game means nothing.
Enough with the overreactions.
Since people base all they do and say about the NFL on what’s happened in the past, what happened after the Chargers game last season?
It’s tired and old, but the NFL is a week-to-week league; especially when the games don’t matter for a team.
Denver will say all the right things, as it did after the San Diego game last season, but it was completely disinterested in this game.
Follow the example of the team you claim to love so much: find the positives.
The Broncos can still get a first-round bye.
They won’t finish 13-3, which is a curse for this organization.
Meanwhile, this Denver team can follow the example of the ’97 team.
Go 12-4 and win the AFC Championship on the road when no one, not even Broncos Country, thinks it can be done.
Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) makes a catch while being pushed out of bounds by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports