Peyton Manning and the Broncos dominated Thursday night against the Ravens.
To be quite clear—seven in one game.
We discovered that Denver is a team hungry for redemption after squandering a season that could have resulted in a Super Bowl.
So, what does this tell us about Denver’s season?
Since the early 2000s, every season has been "Super Bowl or bust" for Peyton, so it is irrelevant to state the obvious. However, this game sent a message to the entire league.
The Broncos set the tone for their season early this year. Lighting up the scoreboard 49 times in an opening game—during which they did not play their best football—should have opposing defenses in the locker room sweating.
Wide receiver Wes Welker came to Denver to put on a display of how he has some of the best hands in the league…and he dropped the ball—literally. Welker’s muffed punt spotted the Ravens an easy seven. They were lucky didn't hurt in the long run.
Additionally, linebacker Danny Trevathan had an easy pick-six, but also dropped the ball—literally.
Six easy points left on the goal line because of showboating.
Even with those bonehead mistakes, the Broncos displayed that their offense is potent and capable of exposing even the best defenses.
Denver got astonishing performances out of its pass-catchers. Three Broncos had two TDs: Demaryius Thomas and often-injured tight end Julius Thomas.
The Denver offense wasn’t the only show on Thursday. The Bronco’s defense flourished against Baltimore. In the AFC Divisional game last season, Ravens wide receivers Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith torched the Broncos’ secondary for much of the game.
Thursday was a much different story.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was forced into throwing two picks, sacked four times and threw a whopping 62 times. Denver’s defense really stepped up its intensity in the second half against Baltimore’s offense, allowing just 10 points—and no more gimmies.
This was done without the help of cornerback Champ Bailey, who is still nursing his foot injury; linebacker Von Miller, who is serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and Bronco-gone-Raven, Elvis Dumervil.
It is just one game and it wasn’t make or break for either team, but Manning looked like he was 10 years younger with his thread-the-needle passes.
The Broncos are not looking to let a slip up like last season occur again. That was evident from the moment they took the field.