August 4th, 2012
By Frank Glenn -- As Eric Decker gets nicked and leaves the field suddenly the balls start going to Demaryius Thomas.
You get one in the left corner and then you get one in the right corner. Decker comes back a couple of days later and catches a ball thrown seemingly off the mark to his opposite shoulder but he turns and snags it perfectly -- as if that was the actual play. "We've been working on that one", Decker chuckled. So it was the actual play!
Then, when it looks like the defense gets some push up front -- Manning slips the ball the Willis McGahee and he goes for 17 yards. Next thing you know it's the tight ends and the slot picking balls out of thin air.
It reminds Denver Broncos fans of how many times last year -- even after Tim Tebow t0ok over the offense --- the Broncos went three and out -- or left the opposing offense with a short field and the defense with about 90 seconds rest. Even so, though, you think back to all the games in which in the final 4 minutes, the Broncos, down 15 points, pull off the miracle and win with a field goal in over-time -- or a fumble or some other crazy play -- just giving the Broncos one more shot -- which Tebow or the kicker make good and the Broncos win it. All unlikely -- implausible -- and stunning.
And this was playing with bad field position -- three and out -- bad punts resulting in a short field -- the defense battling -- taking balls away -- intercepting passes --
and still down 10 t0 15 points with give minutes left. And you watched Denver's defense play against big odds in an almost impossible situation -- and then something would happened -- and the Broncos would win. You felt good for a few minutes -- and then you worried about whether or not they could ever win another game like that again. Or even if they did the unlikely thing and got in the play-offs -- how many times are Pittsburgh or New England going to throw a play-off game away and give you a win.
So now you have Peyton Manning. He can go long and beat you in five seconds. He can check down --
change plays once he sees the defense. He can throw short. Throw down and outs. Hooks. Crosses. Slants. Quick hitters. He can hide the offense and then open it up and burn you. You've got him in third and 12 -- and you have him in your grasp -- and he gets the first down and keeps the drive alive anyway. Again -- and again -- and again. Opposing defenses get confused. Then they get tired. And finally they just play knowing what's happening to them. It has happened before -- to them -- several times. I know, too. How many time did Denver play the Colts in the play-offs and just get routed. Even after beating them soundly a game or two earlier in the regular season. Play-offs were always different when you were playing against Manning. Games were never won for sure -- it seemed. But even worse -- somehow -- no matter how hard you played -- they were seldom even close. Manning just kept piling up points. Sometimes effortlessly, it seemed.
So now you have Manning -- and the defense knows he can score in a heart-beat. The defense knows the game is very rarely ever out of reach -- no matter what the score.
A missed assignment here, a bad play there, in the middle of hard-nose side-line to side-line defense -- no biggy -- Manning will get it back for you a lot of times -- in a heart beat -- and sometimes several -- in a short period of time. And before you know it -- football is fun. Defense it hilarious. You play with reckless abandon. You play with confidence. A little swagger. And one day you realize -- you're a good time -- and a very good defense -- and you may play long into the postseason. Ah, yes. Bronco football at its best. and Bronco football is back!