Denver Broncos: 5 Takeaways From Week 1 Victory

By Bethany Robison

Denver Broncos: 5 Takeaways From Week 1 Victory

Peyton Manning Denver Broncos vs Indianapolis Colts 2014
Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY SPORTS

Peyton Manning has now defeated each of the 32 NFL teams, including the Indianapolis Colts. It will always feel like an event when Manning faces his former team, and coming off a gut-wrenching Super Bowl loss, fans expected the Denver Broncos to wreak vengeance across the league. Both teams showed promise, and here are five takeaways from the Broncos' win.

5. Manning Still Loves and Relies on Tight Ends

Julius Thomas Broncos vs Colts 2014
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5. Manning Still Loves and Relies on Tight Ends

Julius Thomas Broncos vs Colts 2014
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY SPORTS

Manning has always loved and relied on his tight ends since he first connected with Dallas Clark in Indianapolis. Against the Colts, Julius Thomas went 7-of-8 for 104 yards and three touchdowns, resulting in a lot of very happy fantasy owners. Most of those stats came in the first half, so Thomas could have even bigger days ahead.

4. The Broncos' Defense Was Much Improved

Andrew Luck Sacked Colts vs Broncos 2014
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4. The Broncos' Defense Was Much Improved

Andrew Luck Sacked Colts vs Broncos 2014
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Broncos had several defensive players return from injury, and took advantage of the offseason to reload after their Super Bowl struggles. Their efforts paid off to the tune of two interceptions, three sacks, six quarterback hits, and several tipped and broken up passes, not to mention a boat-load of third-down (and two fourth-down) stops. Granted, the Colts aren't known for their protection, but the Broncos clearly have a lot to work with.

3. The Broncos Started Strong but Lost Steam

Monte Ball Touchdown Broncos vs Colts 2014
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3. The Broncos Started Strong but Lost Steam

Monte Ball Touchdown Broncos vs Colts 2014
Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY SPORTS

Neither team played all four quarters. The Broncos started strong, holding the Colts scoreless until the last moments of the first half. But the Colts are once again a second-half team, and they gave the Broncos a good gut check. The Colts can't keep spotting teams 20-plus point leads, and the Broncos are going to have to figure out how to finish off opponents without counting on them to beat themselves.

2. The Colts Lost More Than the Broncos Won

Andrew Luck Touchdown Indianapolis Colts vs Denver Broncos 2014
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2. The Colts Lost More Than the Broncos Won

Andrew Luck Touchdown Indianapolis Colts vs Denver Broncos 2014
Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Broncos didn't finish off the Colts. They took charge early and looked like a typical Manning-led machine, but In the end, the Colts beat themselves with poor execution, untimely penalties and mental errors. By the end of the game, both teams were even in first downs and total plays. If the Colts had found fourth-quarter gear one series earlier, the outcome might have been different.

1. Both Teams Will Win a Lot of Games

Indianapolis Colts vs Denver Broncos 2014
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY SPORTS

1. Both Teams Will Win a Lot of Games

Indianapolis Colts vs Denver Broncos 2014
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY SPORTS

Each team played poorly for a half, but both teams are loaded with potential. If they can avoid key injuries, both teams are likely to win at least 10 games, and both are likely to make the playoffs. They may even face each other again in January. The Broncos still appear to have the higher ceiling, but when it comes to the fourth quarter, you can never quite be sure with the Colts.

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