A new color scheme didn’t make a difference for Peyton Manning.
The former Indianapolis Colt renewed his rivalry with Tom Brady as a Denver Bronco on Sunday. But just like the vast majority of their previous meetings, Manning’s crew came up short against the New England Patriots.
Denver’s 31-21 loss shouldn’t be a discouragement, though. It should take plenty of positives away from the game. And those positives should make the Broncos confident that they can beat the Pats in the postseason.
Here are those positives.
3. Turnovers Made the Difference
Denver wasn’t overpowered by the Patriots. The Broncos’ offense actually averaged 1.1 more yards per play than them. Not a lack of talent, but turnovers, made the difference in the game.
Manning, Willis McGahee and Demaryius Thomas all coughed up fumbles that either blew a red-zone scoring opportunity for the Broncos or set one up for the Pats. Fumbling, unlike a lack of talent, is an easily correctable issue.
2. Peyton Manning Outdueled Tom Brady
Manning went off completing 31-of-44 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 7.8 yards per pass attempt—0.6 more yards than Brady averaged.
Brady also only threw one touchdown. Of course, he didn’t need to throw more with Steven Ridley running wild.
But Manning’s performance proves that the Broncos have the firepower to keep pace with the Patriots in a shootout.
1. Demaryius Thomas Is a Boss
Manning threw 11 passes to Thomas.
Thomas caught nine of them for 188 yards. That’s 20.8 yards per reception. That’s insane.
The 6’3” 229-pound 24-year-old wideout has always been a freak athlete. He’s always had a high ceiling. This season, he’s fulfilling that incredible potential and has become one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL.
I doubt any Broncos fans miss Brandon Marshall anymore.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.