There Is a Pulse in Denver: Broncos Finally Wake Up and Step Up

Henry HAnalyst INovember 27, 2009

"Wake up and step up."

A phrase that has defined the Denver Broncos since their Monday Night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers three weeks ago.

It took them three weeks, but they finally did it. Going into a crucial primetime matchup with the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Night, the Broncos absolutely needed to win.

And, for the first time since mid-October, they did just that.

Just four short days ago, things looked bleak in Denver. The Broncos had lost four straight, the offense was hapless, and the defense tired. Brandon Marshall and Knowshon Moreno were fighting on the sideline.

It's amazing how quickly things can change.

A short practice week and a game on Thursday night were just what the doctor ordered for the Broncos. There was no time to mope, as practice time was in short supply.

This is a young team with a young coach, both of whom needed the proverbial "fire" lit under them.

Josh McDaniels' smack-talking incident with members of the San Diego Chargers may have been the perfect fire-starter.

When the coach makes a controversial move like that, especially following a loss, the players are more motivated to win, not just for themselves, but to protect their head man's reputation and image.

Regardless of the motivation, the Broncos were able to wake up from their daze, regain some of their early-season swagger, and put a 26-6 beatdown on the Giants.

The Broncos played well in all phases of the game, and looked like the team that fans "knew and loved" through the first six weeks. They were able to repair the holes that had developed over the four-game skid.

The defense held New York to a mere 57 rushing yards, forced three turnovers, and sacked Eli Manning three times.

The Giants only managed one red zone trip the entire game, and scored only the two field goals. This is the same Giants offense that hung 456 total yards and 34 points on the Atlanta Falcons four days earlier.

The Broncos' defensive effort set the tone for the entire game, and gave them confidence to open up the offense and once again take risks.

Elvis Dumervil was "back in the building" racking up two more sacks (he leads the league with 14) and forcing a fumble. His ability to pressure the quarterback is crucial to the success of the defense.

The Denver rushing attack finally got back into gear, as Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter teamed up to consistently put pressure on the Giants and keep the offense moving in the right direction.

Finally, Brandon Marshall's performance cannot be overlooked. His play is critical to the offense, and he made two spectacular catches.

Those kinds of catches help boost confidence for both Orton and McDaniels, which will ultimately lead to more aggressive play calling—something the Broncos undoubtedly need.

In the end, though, the Broncos won the game they absolutely had to win. At 7-4, they now have nine days before they travel to Kansas City to take on the "streaking" Chiefs.

With last season's Kansas City trip in mind, the Broncos must not overlook the 3-7 Chiefs.

At this point, they need as many wins as possible in order to either beat out the Chargers in the West or obtain a Wild Card spot in the competitive AFC.

Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu once said, "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."

The Denver Broncos took their first step. They look to be back on track. Now it is time to buckle down and, ultimately, win.