Exorcism: Denver Broncos Bust Ghosts of 2008 in 34-23 Win

Kris BurkeCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 19:  Eddie Royal #19 of the Denver Broncos returns the ball en route to one of two first half touchdowns against the San Diego Chargers during Monday Night Football on October 19, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The last time the Denver Broncos visited Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, they were on the receiving end of a 52-21 beatdown by the Chargers that cost them the division title and coach Mike Shanahan his job.  It was a defeat that would haunt the Broncos into the 2009 campaign.

Not anymore.

Fittingly, the specter of the Broncos' epic 2008 collapse disappeared permanently on October 19, a little less than two weeks before Halloween.  If this Broncos team decided to dress up for their last game before October 31, they had to have all dressed as the Ghostbusters after exorcising their demons in their 34-23 dismantling of the San Diego Chargers to move to 6-0 and take a three and half game lead in the AFC West.

This win is even bigger than the win over the Patriots for many reasons, but the fact that this win formally shuts the book on 2008 is huge for this team and its fans. While many of the players on this Broncos team weren't with the organization last year, they still felt the sting of the collapse when they arrived into town from the people who were there.

The Broncos needed this game to move forward and say that what happened last season will not happen again. They needed to make a statement.  So who were they going to call?

Eddie Royal.

From the moment Royal returned the ensuing kickoff after San Diego scored the first points, notice was served to the Chargers and the rest of the NFL that the Broncos have moved on and refuse to look back.  They were going forward, and they are determined that what happened in 2008 never happens again.

The Broncos also busted the ghost of their former starting quarterback who threw two interceptions to one touchdown in the blowout at San Diego last season.  This season, his successor who has thrown one interception (and on a desperation heave to boot) in six games threw two touchdowns to zero interceptions.

While the specter of John Elway will always hover above Kyle Orton and future Broncos quarterbacks, Orton has done his share to put skeptical Broncos fans at ease after the trade of Jay Cutler created a division amongst the fan base.

If there was any remaining doubt after the first five games, there can be no more now. The Broncos are well positioned to make the playoffs for the first time sine the 2005 season. The multiple critics and skeptics that wondered if Josh McDaniels would hang on to his job for for more than one season have been silenced.

The Denver Broncos, picked by many to win five games this season, have eclipsed that mark by one and show no signs of stopping now.

After all, this Broncos team ain't afraid of no ghosts.


Follow Kris Burke on Twitter @KBurke02