5 Things the Denver Broncos Must Carry over from Win vs. Chargers
The Denver Broncos completed a 24-point comeback over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium last Monday night. It tied for the largest comeback in Broncos history and the largest comeback on the road in NFL history.
The Broncos entered the second half down 24-0 before rattling off 35 consecutive points, becoming the first team to ever come back from a 24-point deficit and win by double digits.
The Broncos forced Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers into six total turnovers—including five in the second half alone—and completed easily their biggest win of the season over their fiercest rival.
The Broncos played a terrible first half, eerily similar to their three previous losses against elite opponents. Denver turned the ball over three times—including two special teams fumbles—before turning it around in the second half to hand the Chargers a devastating loss.
What are some things the Broncos need to carry over from their miracle comeback of last week?
A Complete Game
It's as simple as that header says.
A complete game.
A complete game by the offense, a complete game by the defense. A complete game by the Denver Broncos as a team. The Broncos were outscored 24-0 in the first half by the Chargers. In games versus the Texans, Falcons and the Patriots—all of whom are considered elite teams—the Broncos were outscored 89-67.
I realize people are excited about the Broncos' comeback victory.
I realize that it's an annual thing to pick on the Chargers and announce that the Philip Rivers and Norv Turner era has finally come to an end.
Woody Paige made the prediction recently that the Broncos would reach the Super Bowl this season, go 12-4 and win their next seven consecutive games.
This is a Broncos team that has been outplayed by all three of the elite opponents that they've faced. When I say outplayed, I mean outplayed. This is a Broncos squad that trailed by 20-plus points versus four different teams.
Elite teams do not play like that.
So it's nice that the Broncos are riding a wave of momentum heading into their matchup with the Saints Sunday night.
However, one word of advice for the Broncos—don't fall behind. The New Orleans Saints, for all of their troubles thus far in their 2-4 season, still have Drew Brees and the third highest scoring offense in the NFL.
If the Broncos fall behind early and fail to play a complete game as they've become so accustomed to thus far this season, don't expect the Broncos to pull off another comeback versus the Saints.
Let's be honest here—this defense is not built to slow down opposing quarterbacks who are considered of "elite" status. They will allow a lot of passing yardage to Drew Brees, just as they did against Aaron Rodgers last year, Tom Brady three times in the past year and Matt Schaub this season.
Tracy Porter stated that he expects to play this week, and hopefully he does, because Drew Brees threw for 320 yards this past week vs. the Bucs—in the first half.
What aided the Broncos' comeback win over the Chargers last week?
Amazing how much of a difference turnovers make in the NFL. The Broncos forced six on Rivers—five in the second half—and went on a 35-0 run to end the game.
Brees will have his way with Tony Carter, Chris Harris and likely Tracy Porter, too. The key to this game, and what might be the difference in what will likely be a shootout, will be one key category—turnovers.
Consistency in the Passing Game
This category goes a little bit hand-in-hand with the "complete game" slide, but I want to talk a little bit more about the offense.
Through the first six games of this season, this offense has had their struggles.
The passing game is magnified because this is a passing league. We have a four-time NFL MVP in Peyton Manning, and the passing offense seems to be lethargic for the first 40 minutes of a game, only to come alive during the last 20 minutes of a game and look absolutely unstoppable.
There have been numerous drops by Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. There have been even key drops by the likes of Willis McGahee.
The Broncos are the best team in the NFL in scoring margin in the fourth quarter. They have outscored their opponents 79-6. Yes, 79-6. Denver has yet to allow a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The offense seems to play well when their backs are against the wall. But they also have to cure miscommunication issues, such as the Peyton Manning interception to Quentin Jammer due to lack of communication with Matthew Willis.
The Broncos need to cure little issues such as these if they want to keep pace with Brees and company.
It's easier said than done. I realize that.
I don't expect the Broncos to have as much of a pass rush on Brees as they did Rivers. Completely disregarding the offensive lines of both teams, Brees is obviously better than Rivers in just about every department—pocket awareness, limiting turnovers, pre-snap audibles and a quicker release.
All of those are important traits of a quarterback if they want to prevent sacks from occurring. Not many quarterbacks do it better than Brees.
The Broncos were able to generate tremendous pressure on Rivers in the second half—especially from Elvis Dumervil—which forced fumbles, interceptions and failed fourth down conversions on the Chargers' behalf.
If the Broncos want to slow down this seemingly unstoppable pass offense, "Doom" and Von Miller will need to make their presence felt in New Orleans backfield.
Utilize the No-Huddle Offense
Notice how the Broncos always play better with their backs on the wall? Notice how the Broncos always score in the fourth quarter in the no-huddle offense?
Don't play scared. Don't wait to unleash the no-huddle offense late in the game. The Broncos are playing at home. That is to their benefit.
They are not playing in the Georgia Dome with a raucous Falcons crowd. The no-huddle offense in Denver should not have the same issues as it had in Week 2.
Keep a New Orleans defense that is already bad even more so off of their feet to capitalize on momentum and the fact that you're playing at home.
I expect Brees and the Saints to do the same thing to the Broncos, but if Denver is able to run their no-huddle offense the way that they're capable of running it, I don't expect the Saints to outlast the Broncos in a shootout.