While nearly everyone is talking about the matchup that was Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck, there’s a lot more to the story than that for the Denver Broncos. Of course, Manning was/is going to steal all the headlines. He always does and when he’s going on the road to face his former team, that’s going to be what everyone is talking about. However, there’s much more going on in Denver.
First of all, this loss shows that they are indeed mortal. At 6-0, many people were starting to wonder if this team would challenge the 1972 Dolphins. Denver still looked really good on offense and against a lesser team, they’d still be unbeaten. But the Indianapolis Colts are no average team. They’re well-balanced, well-coached and they have one heck of a QB.
People are going to say that Luck ‘outdueled’ Manning and they’ll point to that as the reason why Indy won this game. But I think this game was more about the failures of the Broncos’ defense. Sure, they weren’t put in great spots due to turnovers from the offense, but we’re still talking about a unit that gave up 37 points. No matter the circumstances, that’s not championship caliber defense.
Manning and the offense can’t outscore every team in every game. It’s just not possible.
Moving forward, the Broncos’ defense needs to tighten things up. This is a unit ranked 29th in the league that’s giving up nearly 400 yards per game. Most weeks, that’s all find and dandy because of their high-powered offense. Against a team like the Colts, that kind of effort is not going to cut it.
The good news for Denver is that Von Miller is back and things should start trending in a better direction. They’re still the team to beat in the AFC and in the driver’s seat for a top spot in the playoffs. But when you look at how Sunday night’s game panned out, it speaks volumes about the Broncos as a whole. To beat the best, their defense has to get better.