Broncos vs Bengals: Denver's Biggest Winners and Losers from Sunday's Win

Joe Rapolla Jr.Featured ColumnistNovember 4, 2012

Broncos vs Bengals: Denver's Biggest Winners and Losers from Sunday's Win

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    Denver notched another win in the column with a decisive 31-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. 

    The win came as no surprise to most, and aside from back-to-back drives where Peyton Manning threw interceptions, the Broncos faced little adversity throughout the game from a slumping Bengals squad. 

    At this point, it appears to be clear that Denver is a team that should beat any sub-par team in the NFL. With the easy schedule that it faces moving forward, it seems that the next real test for Denver may be the playoffs, where it may have to face teams like the New England Patriots or the Houston Texans again. 

    Denver will travel to Carolina next week to play head coach John Fox's former team, but before that, let's look at the biggest winners and losers from this week. 

Winner: Trindon Holliday

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    Denver brought in the speedy Trindon Holliday to help in the return game, which was an area it was slacking in badly. On Sunday, that investment paid off. 

    Holliday, who runs a 4.21 40, took a kickoff from five yards deep in the end zone and brought it 105 yards down the field. 

    Hopefully for Denver, Holliday can continue to find his stride on the returns, as the boost in field position is always a vital asset. 

Loser: Willis McGahee

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    I'm not going to call Willis McGahee a full-on loser because he didn't do anything to detriment the game, yet 66 yards on 23 carries is not McGahee's best performance of the season. A 2.9 yards/carry average is not going to do anything for Denver's offense. 

    To be fair, though, Cincinnati did a nice job bottling up McGahee, and Geno Atkins is one of the best defensive tackles in the game. 

    McGahee should bounce back against a weak Carolina defense next week. 

Winner: Wesley Woodyard

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    I can't say enough about Wesley Woodyard. He deserves all the praise in the world for how versatile he is on the field; he literally appears everywhere. 

    Woodyard is far and away the team's leading tackler and added 14 more tackles to his 2012 resume on Sunday. Four of these tackles were solo tackle. 

    Woodyard deserves a Pro Bowl nod and more national media attention at this point. He may not have the sexiness of a pass-rusher, but taking him off the field would open up a huge hole in the Denver defense. He's absolutely vital to the unit's success. 

Loser: 3rd-Quater Peyton Manning

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    Maybe Peyton Manning was having some gas or something, but I don't know what got into him during the third quarter of Sunday's game. 

    After playing a clean first half of football, Manning threw two uncharacteristic interceptions on consecutive drives in the third quarter. The first was not as a bad of a throw as the second, but it was a red-zone interception that could have proved costly. 

    Luckily for Denver, Manning seems to enjoy the excitement of playing from behind. Which leads me to my next winner...

Winner: 4th-Quarter Peyton Manning

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    It must be something in Mama Manning's chili because Mannings just love playing fourth-quarter football. 

    After tossing two picks in the third and putting the game in momentary jeopardy for his team, Manning led another fourth-quarter comeback that almost makes you think he sets himself up for these intentionally. 

    I'm kidding, of course, but Manning sure does make it look easy in the game's final 15 minutes. After two quick and clean drives, he found tight end Joel Dreessen and wide receiver Eric Decker for scores, respectively. 

    Manning walks off the hero, and the Bengals, like so many Manning opponents, walk off bewildered at how they let Manning go so, well, Manning on them.