Make no mistake about it, the Denver Broncos came out of Atlanta with a huge win on Sunday. Not only was it their 2nd consecutive road win but it also gave them a two game lead over AFC West rival San Diego. In two road games in which they were underdogs the Broncos instead came away with two wins, coming from behind in the fourth quarter in both contests. Good teams find a way to win on the road. The Broncos are a good team. While there are obvious concerns on both sides of the ball, you just can't be 6-4 winning tough games and not be a good team.
I think it has been downplayed just how injured this team is. I have never seen anything like this as long as I have been a Bronco fan. Just think about it the Broncos are missing all their running backs, all their starting linebackers including their pro bowler captain, their starting safety, their other pro bowler co-captain starting cornerback, and have had multiple injuries at tight end and wide receiver. That's a lot of freakin' injuries. If there has ever been a excuse for a team to lay down that's a pretty good one. Even at 100% the defense is one the poorer units in the league but on this day with a bunch of 2nd and 3rd stringer's, they played their best game of the year.
A nice story was Spencer Larsen making history by starting at fullback and middle linebacker. Not only was he effective but he might have been the player of the game on defense. He had 15 tackles and flat out played solid at both positions and on special teams. The defense actually forced a turnover that was capitalized by an unlikely player. Yes folks, Dre Bly actually made a play and it's about time. The Broncos brought the blitz on 3rd down and forced Matt Ryan to throw up a duck and Bly actually caught it, which is more that be said for Jamie Winborn, who dropped a ball right in his chest that would have iced the game late and would have been taken all the way for a touchdown. That was just one of a few mistakes by the defense which could have cost them the game. The Broncos jumped on a a 4th and 1 and Jarvis Moss jumped on a unsuccessful 3rd down play which would have forced a Falcon's punt. To the Broncos credit they overcame all those mistakes and made the plays when they had to.
Jay Cutler and the offense put up modest numbers but played a great game. The key? They didn't turn over the ball. Cutler managed the game pretty well other than a string of three and outs. Signed off the practice squad, P.J. Pope looked like a promising prospect. Hillis and Bell did enough on the ground to get the job done. A couple head sratchers. Why do you run Peyton Hillis every play until you have a 3rd and 1 at the goal line and then run Tatum Bell? That made no sense as Peyton is the power back. Also why when you are trying to run the clock out to finish the game do you call three straight pitch's to a known fumbler who hasn't played in three months? Man did that make me nervous, just run it up the freakin' gut.
The Broncos have won two games they weren't expected to win. I believe they will need one more of those to win the division. If the Broncos hold serve at home which they should and steal one of the three remaining road games they should be good. They will most likely be underdogs in all the road games. I think the they will need a two game lead heading to San Diego as they have not had a good track record there the last few years. I think the Jets game is their best shot.
Overcoming a lot of adversity and winning two on the road is big but they still have a lot of work to do. The good news is the Broncos should be getting some key players back in the next couple weeks. The future is looking pretty bright for the Broncos, at least a lot brighter than it did three weeks ago. The Broncos have dug deep and played from the heart and that's all you can ask from your football team.