As the final seconds ticked off the clock in a game between the New York Jets and Denver Broncos at Inversco Field at Mile high, Josh McDaniels and his disappointed players made their way across the field to congratulate Rex Ryan and his New York Jets team.
The Denver Broncos had just had their hearts ripped out again.
It was a game which the Broncos seemed to have wrapped up after Renaldo hill broke up a 4th down desperation heave to Santonio Holmes in the waning moments of the contest.
For a moment, as a Broncos fan, I was ecstatic. But the joy would only last until both players got off the ground, revealing a yellow flag that had been thrown by the nearby side judge.
And as Santonio Holmes screamed and cried to the referee, I knew what would happen next.
The Jets would be handed the game on a silver platter, and the Broncos would have to eat another tough loss.
It was a shame to see the Broncos lose in such a fashion, especially after watching the replay which showed that Holmes had put his hands on Renaldo Hill before the "pass interference" call, but my spirits were raised a bit when I saw that every other team in the AFC West had lost that day as well.
A loss always hurts, and moral victories won't help in the standings, but I am very encouraged about the Broncos chances to win the AFC West this season after they were clearly the better team against the Jets, the self proclaimed "best team in the NFL".
As the Broncos prepare to open up divisional play against the Raiders this week, I can't help but think that Denver is primed for a breakout performance. One that will not allow Oakland to win the game, or even make the score close in the 4th quarter.
Denver has played a brutal schedule this season, as they have played arguably three of the top four defenses in the NFL over the past three weeks:Tennessee, Baltimore, and the New York Jets. The Pittsburgh Steelers, or course, would be the other team I would place in the top four defenses in the NFL. Probably the nastiest of them all, in my humble opinion.
They also had to face the defending AFC Conference Champion, Indianapolis Colts in week three.
Interestingly, the Denver Broncos have been in every game they have lost this season, save for their disastrous trip to Baltimore.
They could easily be at 4-2 or 5-1, but they have unfortunately found ways to lose games they should have won, while falling to a disappointing 2-4 record after six weeks of play.
Denver is an angry and disappointed team that could take out all their frustrations on a Raiders team that has been predictably bad so far this season. This could be a "Get Right Game" for the Broncos.
An offensive explosion is bound to happen with Kyle Orton becoming a masterful field general for Denver, and once they get it rolling, they could be a very dangerous team over the course of November and December, and in the AFC West, where everyone but the 3-2 Chiefs is an identical 2-4, you've got to like Denver to be the team to take charge.
They are a team on the verge of being unstoppable once they start having things go their way.
So far it has been a year in which almost everything has gone against Denver. Despite frequenting the red zone more than any other team in the NFL this season, Denver is ranked as the 6th least efficient team inside their opponents 20-yard line.
If Kyle Orton can further develop his chemistry with his receivers, and more importantly, have his offensive line come together and give the running back some lanes to run through, Denver could vault to the top of the NFL in terms of scoring.
This past Sunday's game against the Jets, in which the Broncos ran for over 150 yards, is very encouraging.
Could Denver's offense finally be finding it's balance, six games into the season? One could only hope so, and with six out of ten games remaining against a very weak AFC West, it seems safe to assume that the worst is certainly over for the Broncos this season.
In addition to their six games remaining against AFC West opponents, the Broncos will travel to London to face the extremely disappointing San Francisco 49ers, play at home against an improved St. Louis Rams team, travel to Arizona to face a bad Cardinals team, and face the so-so Houston Texans at Invesco Field.
In other words, with the Broncos sitting a game and a half out of first place in the division, the season is far from lost for the Broncos. With San Diego's struggles, this could be the year the Broncos finally get back into the playoffs.
San Diego should still be considered denver's number one threat to winning the division, but Denver already has a distinct advantage againt the Chargers, in that San Diego has already lost two games within the division, which will come into play for a tie- breaker, should the Broncos and Chargers split their meetings this season and finish with identical records.
Looking at the schedule, and overall quality of the AFC West, anything less than the playoffs should still be a great disappointment.
Even when the Broncos are sitting on a 2-4 record.
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