Broncos’ latest win is one for the books
Whew! My head is still spinning.
Watching the Denver Broncos rally to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 51-48 on Sunday was like nothing I’ve ever seen in the National Football League. It was the fourth-highest-scoring game in NFL history with two quarterbacks combining for 1,039 passing yards and nine TD passes.
It wasn’t watching tackle football; it was a summer 7-on-7 scrimmage or an intramural flag football game on a college campus.
The big problem for both defenses was the lack of pressure on two very good quarterbacks, Tony Romo on the Dallas side and Peyton Manning on the Denver side. All Romo did was throw for 506 yards and five TDs and all Manning could manage was 414 passing yards, four TD passes and another TD run on an extremely naked bootleg.
Speaking of Romo, he was skewered in the Dallas media Monday for throwing the late interception to Denver’s Danny Trevathan that allowed the Broncos to kick the winning field goal.
“This game everything Tony Romo represents, 10 times over,” was one headline.
“Romo the better passer, Manning the better quarterback,” was another.
“Romo’s costly mistake,” was in boldface over a featured photo that showed Trevathan diving and catching the final interception.
Romo was magnificent throughout — it was his best game ever, claimed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He threw the interception because he was pressured up the middle, something he wasn’t used to in this game, by the bull rush of Broncos lineman Derek Wolfe.
Poor judgment comes about when one is soon to be decapitated.
When all was said and done, the Broncos escaped to remain 5-0 and tied, yes, still tied, with the Kansas City Chiefs for the lead in the AFC West.
The Chiefs — and I issued this warning last week as faithful readers will recall — rallied to beat a 3-1 Tennessee Titans team in Nashville 26-17.
The Chiefs play their next three games at home against Oakland, Houston and Cleveland, then hit the road to play Buffalo — and should be favored against all. Then, it’s a bye week before what might be a match-up of unbeatens on Nov. 17 in Denver against the Broncos.
The Broncos might have a tougher time getting to that point unbeaten than the Chiefs.
Denver’s next several foes: Jacksonville (OK, don’t start counting tough tasks just yet), at Indianapolis against the Colts, the Redskins, then at San Diego against the Chargers.
Obviously, Manning’s return to his longtime Indy home to do battle with the player who replaced him, Andrew Luck, and a 4-1 team that has defeated, among others, the 49ers on the road and Seattle at home, will be huge.
And beating the Chargers in San Diego could prove problematic as well. After all, the Chargers did beat the Cowboys 30-21 a couple of weeks back.
Let’s step back now and take a breath.
We’ve mentioned 5-0 squads Denver and Kansas City.
New England dropped its first of the season to Cincinnati, scoring only two field goals in losing 13-6. Indy is the only other 4-1 squad in the AFC. Cincinnati, Baltimore and Cleveland are all 3-2 in the AFC North, Miami and Tennessee are also 3-2.
In the NFC, the only 5-0 team is New Orleans, where quarterback Drew Brees is doing statistical battle with Manning and the Saints are resurrected on the defensive side. Think Sean Payton can coach a little bit? His team already has a three-game lead in the NFC South and is all but assured of a playoff berth already.
Seattle is the only 4-1 team.
The NFC North has two decent 3-2 teams in the Bears and Lions.
Pity the poor NFC East, with Dallas and Philadelphia tied for the lead at 2-3 (but we know Dallas isn’t that bad, don’t we?).
The season is virtually one-third complete.
If you had to go place a bundle of your hard-earned dollars on a Super Bowl winner right now, you couldn’t go far wrong betting it on New Orleans … or Denver … or, without much more of a reach, Kansas City.