The Denver Broncos finished the season with a 12-4 record and secured the #1 seed in the AFC. Peyton Manning replaced Brock Osweiler in relief in the third quarter to lead the Broncos past the San Diego Chargers. “My gut told me to turn it over to him,” coach Gary Kubiak said. Kubiak wouldn’t say who his starter will be in the playoffs, but insisted “…We just find a way as a football team to be successful.” Let’s look at the offensive and defensive stars that helped secure the 27-20 victory on Sunday.
Brock Osweiler looked lost in parts of the first half. He finished 14 of 22 for 232 yards with a TD and two interceptions before being pulled in the 3rd quarter. I started feeling that, “Here we go again” until they put in Peyton Manning. Manning’s stats were 5 for 9 for 59 yards, no TDs and no picks. The running game looked really good with a combined 212 yards on 30 carries between C. J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. Hillman scored on a 23-yard scamper on the last scoring drive of the game. It made the die hard Broncos fans happy to see that the running game chewed up eight minutes of the clock in the fourth.
The defense played very aggressive but allowed some fickle plays get past them. Aqib Talib let Tyrell Williams get behind him for an 80-yard touchdown. How can you forget about one of the fastest wide outs and let him get behind you? Aqib is an All-Pro cornerback and he allowed him to get past him. It happens when you play that much man coverage on defense. Sacks and the interception helped keep San Diego at bay. The Broncos defense needed this win to get them ready for the playoffs.
The Broncos earned a first week BYE to start the playoffs. Let’s see who they get for the Divisional Round.