Happy After a Loss — Mile High Report

Happy After a Loss - Mile High Report

Happy After a Loss?

Yesterday, in a game with three potential outcomes consisting of win, lose or draw, the Denver Broncos experienced the worst possible of those three in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in their Super Bowl rematch. And I am quite happy today. But before you flame me, let me explain.

Am I happy about losing? Of course not. The point of the game is to win and we didn’t get it done. Of course I am not happy about that. But that doesn’t mean that I am not pleased with what I saw from the Broncos yesterday. The final score was not what I would have wanted, but it exceeded my expectations.

If I am being completely honest, I expected a repeat of the Super Bowl. After we struggled to beat inferior foes at home and knowing that we were going to play in the one stadium that is hardest to win in over the last three years, I thought we were going to be blown out in spectacular fashion, although the homer in me could only allow myself to say it would be a close loss.

Once again, we watched the offense struggle. Seattle’s defense matches up against us very well, but here is the good news. We have closed the gap. Yes, the offense failed to produce for most of the game. But at the end, it DID produce, and unlike the Super Bowl, it wasn’t in garbage time. There was no garbage time in this game. We got points when we had to have them. We beat their defense in the most important moments of the game. We would have beaten their defense in OT as well if we had had the chance.

We saw clearly that the addition of Emmanuel Sanders gave us a missing piece to the puzzle of beating the Seahawks. He was able to use his speed and quickness to get open enough to allow Manning to hit him for completions. He had a huge day. Demaryius Thomas seemed to me like he was playing hurt. He wasn’t himself, but consider what might happen in a rematch in February if he is. What if we have the DT of LAST February and combine him with Sanders? Anyone think that combo might have some success against the vaunted Seattle secondary?

Another key thing we saw was Manning get some time to throw. Unlike the Super Bowl, Manning wasn’t peeling himself off the ground with any kind of frequency. Having Clady back was as big as we all thought it would be. That said, the line struggled again in the running game. All day long, Montee Ball was forced to fight through tackles just to make it to the line of scrimmage. Ball may not be a big time RB, but there is no one in the NFL who could have had success running yesterday with the blocking we had going. Not even Lynch. But there is good news. That is something that will improve with time. This was only the third game of the season, boys and girls. Our line is still learning how to play together. Franklin is still relearning how to play guard and Chris Clark is new to his position as well. O-lines play best when they have had time to work together. Chemistry is more important here than anywhere else on the roster, and they haven’t been together long enough to have it yet. So while it remains to be seen what the ceiling is, we should expect to see improvement from the O-line as the season progresses.

Now let’s move on to Peyton Manning. I thought Manning played well. He made one mistake late, but he shook it off and led the team down the field in less than a minute with no time outs to tie the game and send it to overtime. For most of the game, he didn’t produce much. Color me unsurprised. DT dropped some passes (see above re: I think he is not 100%), but Manning connected with Sanders early and often. Unfortunately, between dropped balls and the lack of success in the running game, we faced unfavorable down-and-distance too often. Also, don’t forget that what Manning does best is adjust at the line, something that is made more difficult by an order of magnitude in the noise box that is Century Link. Those two things combined spell a long day for the offense. Here is the good news: We saw success late. The balance on the field had tipped completely in favor of our offense by the end of the game. There is no doubt in my mind that if we had won the coin toss in OT, we would be celebrating a win today. Alas, it was not to be.

Here is the most exciting thing to note from yesterday. We finally saw the defense that we were promised all offseason. Yes, we gave up 26 points. Yes, we failed to contain Russell Wilson at the end of the game. But we made plays all game long. We forced turnovers. We stifled the Seattle run game. The defense played lights out, keeping this game close, giving the offense a chance to come alive late and force OT. In fact, the defense gave us the momentum to make the comeback. In three different instances in the fourth quarter, the defense came up huge. The first was the safety, which was a turning point in the game. The second was the interception of Wilson. And finally, the defense held the Seahawks to a FG after the Manning INT gave them the ball in excellent field position with a chance to put the game away. In 60 minutes of football, the defense gave up 20 points. In a hostile environment on the road, with turnovers by the offense giving the home team great field position on two different occasions, I will take 20 points allowed and be very, very happy. Don’t forget, we weren’t playing against scrubs. This was an opponent that manhandled us seven and a half months ago. They’re the defending champs and the best team in the NFC. It wasn’t a perfect performance by the defense, but it was still very good.

I can hear the naysayers now: «We just lost a game! The offense looked overmatched again! The defense got carved up in OT! And you’re HAPPY?» We were playing the best defense in the NFL, in their house. We wore them down and scored 20 points on them. The defense got carved up in OT because they were exhausted after playing an exemplary 60 minutes prior to that. Am I happy with the loss? No. Am I happy with the way our team performed? You’re (expletive deleted) right I am.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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