In the NFL‘s 667th Monday Night Football game, football fans across the nation witnessed a comeback of historic proportions. The Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos found themselves down 24-0 against the AFC West division leading San Diego Chargers, but found their rhythm in the third quarter to completely deflate Philip Rivers and his Chargers teammates while scoring 35 unanswered points for a 35-24 win in San Diego.
How does a 36 year old quarterback who missed 19 months after four neck surgeries go about mounting such an epic comeback in which mistakes were the norm early on as in most games this season? Pure luck, I guess.
As I watched the first half unfold with two special teams turnovers and an interception by Manning, all I could think about was the comebacks the Broncos tried to mount against the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and the New England Patriots that fell short. In all of those games, the Broncos made mistakes early and seemed to come out of their funk after halftime to lead a charge both on offense and defense. It is uncanny that time and again, this explosive offense with so many weapons can begin a game so haphazardly, then reel off points and defensive stops in the second half like they were going out of style.
The Broncos proved once again last night that they do belong in the talk of the AFC’s top teams because of the capability of an offensive explosion, but how much longer can they play this type of football? Certainly they have a relatively easier schedule after the bye week, but the Broncos to a man need to commit to playing a full sixty minutes of football if they are to attain their goals.
Manning must now be considered one of the top five quarterbacks in the game with another stellar performance that saw him go 24-30 for 309 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT. Already through six games, he has compiled some gaudy stats, and has shown that he can take the hits when they come while getting up and hitting his target. Manning does not have any limitations when throwing and is the sole reason the Broncos find that no lead is insurmountable. Maybe it was the appearance that they were able to beat teams like the Falcons, Texans and Patriots if the defense was to get one more stop, but when you believe, anything can happen.
So last night, the nation saw an incredible first half by San Diego that was topped by an even better second half for the Broncos. I do bet, however, that the next teams to face the Broncos will never underestimate a lead they might have going into the second half. I also bet that the Broncos wish they could start every game in the third quarter while spotting their opponent 20 points. It seems the only way they get up for the challenge.
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