“OMG – it feels like a heat wave…” Broncos intern upon hearing the temperature had climbed to a whopping sixteen degrees. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Walk in from the parking lot was wasn’t bad – if you don’t mind numb. Having spent the majority of my twenty’s numb, I felt right at home.
Nothing out of the ordinary for Denver on the Inactives – Champ Bailey, Trindon Holliday, Chris Kuper and Derek Wolfe top the list. Just glad to have a day game mixed in the schedule – should be able to make it home before midnight.
Broncos win the toss – choose to defer and it Titans first up on the block here at Sports Authority. This should keep my fingers warm – Ryan Fitzpatrick busts it quick. Haven’t even gotten halfway through my brownies and RB Shonn Greene is giving his own version of the Mile High Salute to the North Stands…. OUCH – Five plays, 73-yards and the Titans draw first blood 7-0.
Broncos defense must be pacing themselves…
Manning answers back, but it’s considerably more relaxed and methodical – Decker and Julius Thomas both pulled down good yardage in the air (17 and 12 respectively) and Moreno continued his tear on the ground. All told it came down as 13 plays, 74-yards and the same seven points as Tennessee. Thinking this may play out a whole lot closer than the 13 points Vegas was giving.
Case in point – Titans return the kickoff 95-yards and their second drive of the game amounts to ONE PLAY, five-yards and a 14-7 advantage. Chewed up an entire twenty-seven seconds off the clock – Good time management.
Broncos special teams must be pacing themselves…
Rolling it from their own 21 Denver goes ground game – Moreno’s already got 53 and it’s only the second drive of the game. Door completely shuts just past midfield and Colquitt makes his first appearance of the day.
Broncos offense must be pacing themselves…
Titans roll this one from their own nine – worst field position of the day, maybe Denver’s warmed up now. Del Rio’s bringing it – third and eleven comes within baby-steps of becoming a safety thanks to Malik Jackson. Broncos field the end zone punt at their own 42.
Funny how TWO BLOWN CALLS, both negating touchdowns, can ruin your whole drive. Manning to Decker gets overturned when officials claim his leg touched a Titan player short of the goal, Manning to Welker score comes back when it’s ruled incomplete… No choice – Broncos pull out Prater and salvage at least three on the board – Holiday Cheer is definitely NOT being shared with the Officiating Crew.
Titans are beginning to look winded – drive doesn’t make it past the water cooler before they’re forced to punt. Broncos grab decent position for the second time in a row – drive will officially start seven-yards short of midfield.
Manning continues to mix it well, Moreno and Welker move it past midfield but stall just short of anything that would resemble actual points. Colquitt’s back, the Titans drop back and it’ll first and ten from the Tennessee 11-yard line.
Brownies and BBQ are sitting like a brick right now…
Ryan Fitzpatrick has got the coolest Man-Beard I’ve seen all day. Drive rolls steady, crosses midfield with a 23-yard pick up on fourth and one from the 49. One play later they roll the final length of the field as Shonn Greene goes untouched for seven. For those keeping track that makes it a 21-10 Tennessee lead with just under seven left in the half.
I’m officially pacing myself…
Decker’s got something going with the coaches on the Titans sideline… From what I can tell they’re offering props on the new TV gig – but I could be wrong. Drive continues to roll closer to the end zone thanks in part to a HUGE half for Welker, who’s got over sixty at this point. Rolling shotgun Manning connects with Julius Thomas in the corner – doesn’t surprise anyone when officials decide to review the play.
Can’t ignore the obvious, even if you’re wearing stripes, Thomas nails his eleventh TD of 2013 setting a new franchise record for the position, Broncos climb within four at 21-17 with just under two on the clock.
Titans final drive of the half can’t inch pat the 23 – Broncos with one last gasp from their own 15.
Maybe it’s the weather, but everybody’s mood is turning foul. Welker gets his bell rung, verbal spat, shoving match and the broncos are still 64-yards away from any kind of a score.
Enter Matt Prater – who calmly sets it up and delivers from just north of Colfax Blvd…. Kick is GOOD – even Prater looks stunned – Broncos close the half out with an NFL record 64-yard field goal.
All that excitement and they’re still down by one at 21-20.
Things are definitely turning ugly on field – evidentially some players feel that other players are not displaying good sportsmanship. That’s a shock. More shoving and pushing but Manning isn’t fazed, continues to move the ball downfield. Seems like everybody short of the water boy is on the receiving end of a Peyton Manning pass. Drive culminates with back to back Manning to Demaryius Thomas strikes, the final one from four-yards out for the score.
The Denver Broncos have taken their first lead of the game, pretty sure I’m teary eyed.
Positive I’m teary eyed now – three plays into the Titans drive Fitzpatrick gets his pass tipped at the line and it’s picked by DT Terrance Knighton, who rumbles downfield like he’s headed to Casa Bonita. Broncos with the change of possession at the Tennessee 43.
Eight plays later Manning makes it 14 unanswered points for Denver and the lead extends itself 34-27 Broncos on top.
Crowd is on their feet and absolutely crazy, this is where Denver rips it, this is where ….. whoops, maybe not, Fitzpatrick pulls the plug on any celebration with a 41-yard smack to Justin Hunter – that would officially roll out as 34-28 Denver. Still a one possession game.
Crowd immediately heads for more alcohol.
Broncos answer from their own 20. Thomas and Decker continue to come up huge, offset by Moreno and Bell on the ground. Drive nears the Titans 20 as time expires in the quarter.
Did I mention we back to single digits for temperature?
Who says Manning can’t play in the cold? Ok, well a lot of people say it and they may be right – but he at least moves this one close enough for Prater to close. Broncos extend the lead to nine, 37-28 and I’m still sitting good on the point spread.
Here we go Fitzpatrick, here we go – never mind, that sounds dumb…. Kinda hard to cheer for a guy with a beard anyway. Titans drive begins on their own 23. Titans drive continues on the 36 when they gamble on 4th and one with a Fitzpatrick keeper out of the shotgun. Nice brass to call that one…. I’m impressed.
Doesn’t last long though – three plays later Calvin Johnson dances his way into the blooper reel when it’s stripped by Von Miller. Mike Adams makes the recovery and the Broncos grab a gift-wrapped 32-yard field.
So much for the point spread – Manning caps it in three with a quick shot to Decker from 20 and the Broncos move out to a 44-28 lead with just under ten on the clock.
Got a feeling this one’s over for Tennessee – subsequent drive hits negative numbers and flames out at their own 13 – this is generally when Manning goes in for the kill…
Not that I’m psychic or anything, but Peyton Manning has just set a franchise record with 38 completions for the game. This is going to be a long five minutes.
Hope the locker room is warm.
Montee Ball on the ground from 5 for the score – nail in the coffin, singing fat lady, fork officially stuck, chose your cliché – scoreboard hits it 51-28 for Denver.
Orange must be the new Happy Color….
Short week – see you this Thursday for SD – maybe it’ll warm up.
Final stats on Manning – 39/59 for 397-yards and 4 touchdowns. Anyone else impressed?
Notes and Quotes to follow