Bears vs. Broncos: 5 Things We Learned About Denver in 13-10 Win
This article was written and titled with two minutes left in the game as "5 Things We Learned About Denver in 10-7 Loss" because it seemed that the magic was finally going to run out.
Instead, the Denver Broncos did what they always do lately and found a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It really should not be a surprise, and it's not the first time that one of these pieces has changed drastically in the final minutes.
Still, this one felt different. This one actually seemed like the Broncos were destined to win, even if for a good portion of the game, they didn't appear to deserve it.
Here are four more things that we learned about the Broncos after this miracle victory.
The Broncos Can Lose the Turnover Battle and Still Win
This slide was supposed to explain how teams rarely ever win the actual game when they lose the turnover battle. For most of the game, it looked like the Broncos were going to suffer that fate.
Instead, we saw Denver transcend that statistic and cause a turnover that really had an impact on the game in overtime. Luckily for Tim Tebow, his interception and fumble were not crushing to his team's chances like the fate that befell Marion Barber.
Barber is going to be the goat in this game, but Wesley Woodyard deserves credit for causing that fumble when his team desperately needed it.
The Broncos Almost Got Caught Napping
For a majority of the game, the Denver Broncos seemed out of sync and unfocused on making sure they beat the embattled Bears.
The Chicago Bears showed their veteran poise and did as much as they could, while shorthanded, to try and win this game that many thought could be the first romp for the new look Broncos.
The Broncos dropped balls that were sure touchdowns, killed drives and even got lazy and allowed the Bears to block a chip shot by Matt Prater.
Even right down to the onside kick, where the Broncos seemed to seal their fate by whiffing on a perfect onside attempt, they looked like they were going to let this one slip through their hands and ruin the hard work that the Packers were doing to help them stake their lead in the AFC West race.
Matt Prater Is a Weapon
If it wasn't clear before, it is clear now that Matt Prater is a much a part of this resurgence as anyone. His raw power on the kickoff and steady accuracy late in games has been the hammer that drives the nail into opponents' coffins.
As if clutch field goal kicking wasn't enough, Prater has also shown on two occasions that he may have one of the best onside kicking motions of any placekicker in the game.
If the Broncos season was going to be symbolized by one mental picture for fans, it would likely be Tebow kneeling on the sidelines while Matt Prater finishes the job for his Broncos teammates.
The Defense Missed
Brian Dawkins value cannot be understated for the Denver Broncos defense. Rahim Moore stepped in and did an admirable job of filling the veteran's shoes, but he is not the sure tackler and student of the game like Dawkins just yet.
Immediately in overtime, the Bears decided to try and open up the playbook and had some success cutting Caleb Hanie loose against the young safety tandem of the Broncos.
The Broncos are lucky that the Bears thought they had the game won in the final quarter, because Johnny Knox and Roy Williams might have played a bigger role in the absence of Dawkins.
Hopefully, for the Broncos, Dawkins is not going to miss the game next week.
Defenses Must Make a Choice Against Tebow, They Can't Stop Everything
Brian Urlacher did an incredible job of neutralizing Tim Tebow on the ground, and surely, the Bears succeeded in their defensive game plan up until the final minutes.
However, when the defense decided to force Denver to win through the air, Tebow and the Broncos did just that, much like the conclusion of Vikings game.
What is happening now is that defenses are going to have to choose. It used to be that nobody was worried about Tebow and the Denver offense through the air, but with two victories via the air, that has to be a legitimate concern for opposing defenses.
It will be interesting to see how upcoming opponents decide to take their medicine against Denver. Is it a better idea to try and confuse Tebow with more exotic coverages and risk him breaking contain and scrambling? Or, should teams continue to limit the ground game and hope that their offense can get far enough ahead that the Broncos can't keep up?
It's an interesting proposition, and it's made tougher every week as the Broncos offense continues to grow, even if it is hard to see all the time.