Denver Broncos Let Peyton Manning and Colts Off the Hook

Jesse SchafferCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2010

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts is protected by his offense line as he delivers a pass against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Colts defeated the Broncos 27-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In the NFL, not capitalizing on opportunities will kill you.

On Sunday, it cost the Broncos a game they could have won against the Colts.

Five times the Broncos' offense moved the ball into the red zone. They came away with only six points, and failed to convert on fourth down three times.

Before the game, Josh McDaniels emphasized the importance of cashing in on chances in the red zone. Either he didn't believe his own words or he doesn't have the horses in the stable to compete with the AFC's elite.

I'm inclined to think it was the latter and if you were one of those who were concerned that the Broncos' running game wouldn't be up to par with the passing game, your worries have been validated.

In their first three games this year, the Broncos have passed for 1,050 yards, but have rushed for only 201 yards, including a pitiful 47 yards in the loss to the Colts.

Against lesser competition that lack of balance on offense won't hurt the Broncos too much, but to beat good teams like the Colts you have to have a balanced attack. Or Peyton Manning. The Broncos had neither and it's the main reason they came up short.

Usually when we are talking about a Colts' victory over the Broncos, the main culprit is Manning. This time however, Manning didn't hurt the Broncos nearly as much as they hurt themselves.

If they convert on those red-zone chances, they win the game. If knowing that makes you mad, it should.

I don't understand the decisions to go for it on two of those fourth-down situations when two field goals would've cut the Colts' lead to 20-19 in the fourth quarter. When you have a chance to score points against Peyton Manning, you take it. I don't care who you are.

McDaniels risked those points for touchdowns. After the second failed attempt, Manning burned the Broncos' defense on a drive that led to an easy touchdown. Just like that, Colts 27, Broncos 13.

Sticking it to the Colts would have given the Broncos needed momentum going into their next five games. Instead, the Broncos will have to win three of those five games just to be at 4-4 going into their bye week.

And it's probably not a good time to mention that Peyton Hillis rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown for Cleveland in its loss against the Ravens.

It's not a good day to be Josh McDaniels.