The comeback for Peyton Manning was one of the great inspirational stories of the season; maybe of all-time but it ended with a thud on Saturday. The defense for the Denver Broncos will and should receive their fair share of the blame, but the offense deserves some of the blame as well.
The Broncos scored 35 points but 14 of those were on returns by Trindon Holliday. He scored on a punt return and a kickoff return; when you get two touchdowns from your special teams, you have to find a way to win that football game. Despite the issues on defense; Manning and his offense had multiple opportunities to extend the lead. After Holliday gave the Broncos a seven point lead to begin the second half, the defense got the ball back to the offense three times and they could do nothing with it.
Manning, for whatever reason, could not find his rhythm after halftime and the Broncos could never get that score to put them up by double-digits. Give credit to the Baltimore Ravens defense; they made the adjustments and were terrific but Manning was off. It’s too easy to blame the cold because he was terrific in the first half. Sometimes the other team is just better and in the second half, the defense for the Ravens was better. The Broncos did put together an 88-yard drive to take a touchdown lead but it was short lived. Had they been able to do that earlier in the game, then the Broncos would have been up by more than one score.
The loss of Knowshon Moreno hurt the Broncos but Ronnie Hillman was effective enough; Manning and his receivers were not consistent enough. In the end; the Broncos lost, in part, because their defense gave up too many big plays but the offense should have put the game away when they had the chance. They also had two chances in overtime and could not do anything and the Manning interception was inexcusable. The defense was playing ok in the overtime period; Manning cannot make that throw.
Whenever a team loses, especially in the playoffs, there are always regrets and the offense for the Broncos will have to live with those until September. It was a fun ride but it ended well short of the ultimate goal.
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