The Denver Broncos’ defense has had its share of near misses this season, but it has held stout. The Denver defense has had a major part in all of the Broncos’ wins this season. Peyton Manning is having an underwhelming year with hopes of turning things around. But until he does, Broncos Country will have to be satisfied with “Orange Crush 2.0.”
There’s no denying how the Broncos’ defense has catapulted to the forefront, due to the poor play of Manning. To say the Denver Broncos’ signal caller is having a sub-par year is an understatement. Mr. Manning’s numbers have slacked off incredibly. His performance hasn’t been this rough since he came into the league with the Colts in 1998. Manning’s passer rating of 72.5 is not even two points better than his career worst.
The Denver Broncos needed a catalyst. They needed something to pull them team together until the old sheriff could find his shooting aim again. The fans were restless and those trade rumors, researched by The Bleacher Report, made the situation messy.
In every game that looked like a sure loss, the Broncos’ defense came through like champs. The Manning-led offense would be on the ropes and suddenly the defense would step in, land a haymaker and pull out the victory. Each win left the opponents thoroughly confused on what just happened.
When the undefeated Broncos, and the Crush 2.0 defense, rolled into Cleveland, fans and analysts were all in agreement that the game would belong to Denver. The only disagreement was probably from the Browns’ fans attending the game at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Manning’s multiple interception game was horrendous. He ended the day going 26-of-48 for 290 yards. His passer rating of 53.3 was in need of resuscitation. He threw three picks and almost handed the game to the Browns in overtime.
Denver’s win would not have been possible without the Broncos’ top-ranked defense, which came up huge in overtime and has carried the team — and the 39-year-old Manning — during the team’s incredible start.
After Manning’s third pick, the Broncos’ defense recorded a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and then had two consecutive sacks of Josh McCown to push the Browns (2-4) out of field-goal range. They were stepping up and doing their job again.
Before that, with 44 seconds left in regulation, the Broncos’ defense flexed its muscle. On second down at the Denver 46, McCown rolled from pressure before forcing a throw across the field that was picked off by Denver’s David Bruton, Jr. They turned a potential game-ending score into an overtime situation. It’s a scene that has become familiar to Broncos fans. It’s also a throwback to the 1970s.
Manning is still trying to find himself. He has been at times angry with the media and seemingly upset with his play. His lack of execution has almost turned victory to defeat, more than a few times.
”We’re not playing as well as we would like but we’re playing well enough to win,” Manning said. ”We’re doing some things right at critical times whether it’s the last drive of the game or in overtime.”
Those are definitely his thoughts about the offense, because the Broncos’ defense is focusing on being Crush 2.0.
[Feature Photo by Justin Edmonds / Getty Images]