Denver Broncos: 6 Players and Coaches That Resurrected 2011 Season
Even though the Denver Broncos seem to be between a rock (their three losses to end the season) and a hard place (the best defense in the league coming to Denver for a playoff game), their run to get into the playoffs has been spectacular.
The media may want to spin the story in regards to who they perceive to be the main character and place an undue amount of credit and blame, but the real story is the entire team.
Players and coaches alike came together for the Broncos and relied on each other to make big plays at opportune times to seal victories that nobody expected them to score.
Here are some members of the Broncos whose efforts helped to resurrect the season and push the Broncos into the playoffs. Who would you add to the list?
Some will groan when they see this slide, and others will wonder why this isn't the sole focus of the article. Neither reaction is wrong, or right for that matter.
The truth is that, in some form or another, this season would not be where it is now had Orton, Quinn or even Adam Weber been calling the signals.
Tebow was surely not the singular reason for any of the wins during his time at quarterback this season; however, his effect has been undeniable during the good times and the bad. Many plays that Tebow made which helped the Broncos' cause during the streak could not have been made by any other quarterback on the roster.
Love it or hate it...it's the truth.
This is perhaps the one player who made the most apparent impact on the Denver Broncos from day one. Even though it took a few games for Miller to really get going as an NFL defender, his big play prowess was undeniable.
His impact has been even more apparent now that he is hampered by a hand cast. That is not to say that Denver would have won all of the last three games with a healthy Von Miller, but the hand has certainly slowed Miller and maybe cost him the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Miller is certain to be a catalyst not only for this season's resurrection, but the franchise's as well.
It may be Mike McCoy who is buzzed about for head coaching vacancies in the NFL, but the real coordinating hero for the Broncos has been Dennis Allen.
All offseason long, it was widely accepted that Denver's defense was the weakest link in the Broncos chain. However, entering the playoffs, it is the one thing that may keep things respectable against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Allen, like the rest of the Broncos, was slow to start, but once he got a handle on the components that he had to work with, he began rolling.
Doing a lot with a little was always a hallmark of John Fox's teams, and now, he has found a defensive coordinator who shares that talent.
Whether he is 100 percent healthy or otherwise, he is the heart and soul of what little offense the Broncos are usually able to muster.
His experience and sheer will when rushing the ball have been as inspiring to the team as anything, and his absence is always felt.
When the offense is running as they want to, it is McGahee who helps to control the game and grind the clock down so that the defense does not have to work as long or as hard to shut down the opponents.
Sadly, a 100-yard effort from McGahee is not always a guarantee that the Broncos are winning but it never hurts.
Veterans in the Secondary
Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins and even Andre' Goodman have been as integral a part of the Broncos success as anyone, which is impressive for a group that has a combined 39 years of NFL experience.
These grand old men of the secondary have been solid leaders in the case of Brian Dawkins, lockdown corners for the opponents' best receiver in Champ Bailey and the man on the spot for big turnovers in Andre' Goodman.
Obviously, the loss of Dawkins has been huge down the stretch, but there is no denying the impact that all three have made, and it is sad that their time is growing shorter every year. In the case of Dawkins, his Hall-of-Fame career may be over.
Other people may have gotten the credit for a lot of the wins, but even Saturday Night Live realized that it was actually Prater who put the points on the board that won the games for Denver.
Prater is quickly becoming the best long-range threat in the NFL, and many are still bemoaning the decision not to bring Prater out before half in the Kansas City game from long distance.
Regardless, if Prater were on a marquis team heading into the playoffs, he may have the chance to put his name in the legendary ranks of Vinatieri for clutch kicking.
Who knows? He may still get the chance this year.