NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

November 19, 2013

Broncos not perfect but in first place

(Continued)

Of course, even with their imperfections, the Broncos were double-digit winners over an undefeated team that got its own share of credit for not getting steamrolled by an offense that scored two touchdowns less than its season average.

It was, as most of Denver’s wins have been, a fortuitous blend of successes and failures — not bad enough to cause a loss, but certainly not a clean enough effort to breed complacency, which is good given the upcoming schedule.

“We knew when the schedule came out that these were going to be three critical games,” Manning said after the game. “We hoped they were going to be critical. We hoped they were going to matter because that meant we had taken care of business early in the season.”

They did, thanks in large part to Manning, who moved to 34 touchdown passes on the season — still well in range of breaking the single-season record held by Tom Brady, whom he’ll face for the 14th time. Manning is still nursing his ankles back to full health.

They were shrouded in athletic tape and padding against the Chiefs. And though the offensive line didn’t let anyone get a hand on him, Manning still threw 16 incompletions. That’s the second most this season and can, at times, be a whole month’s worth for a quarterback with a 118.3 passer rating this year. At least half of them were overthrown or underthrown footballs that were uncharacteristic — enough to re-raise the question: Is Manning still feeling jittery after all those blindside hits and dives at his ankles?

All the linemen can do is protect him the best they can. Their determination may have shown most when right tackle Orlando Franklin, clearly beaten by Derrick Johnson in the third quarter, chose to hook him with his right arm and draw the 10-yard holding penalty rather than let Manning fend for himself.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Mo'ne's Mom: She's Up There With LeBron, Kobe - @TheBuzzeronFOX Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Manziel mature enough to start? Ditka Blames 'Politically Correct Idiots' For Redskins Controversy - @TheBuzzeronFOx Redskins show solidarity with Ferguson protesters Is Taney a team of destiny? Taney Dragons wins in walk-off comback fashion Coach Rice has full confidence in Davis vs. Nevada SNC Minute: Maclin tweaks hamstring; Phils lose Bottalico: Giles 'has the makings of a closer' McCarthy and Stairs recap Phils' 3rd straight loss Training Camp Central: Eagles brave the weather in Foxborough Shady and Chip on 2000 yard season 3 takeaways from Eagles' joint practice in Foxborough Checking for Charity Hockey Tournament begins August 14th What are Eagles' options if Maclin goes down again? Mosher: Maclin disappointed after tweaking hamstring Boomer: Johnny Manziel still has a lot to learn College Football Preview: Breaking down the ACC
Special Features