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Broncos Loook To Rebound Against the Redskins
Playing for the first time since Head Coach John Fox suffered a heart attack the Denver Broncos went into San Diego and picked up a key victory over a division foe, defeating the Chargers 28-20 behind four touchdown passes from quarterback Peyton Manning. Denver ran out to a big lead and held on at the end, keeping pace with undefeated Kansas City and setting up a crucial division matchup when they host the Chiefs next Sunday night at Invesco Field in Denver.
Where the game was won: The Broncos ran out to a 21-6 halftime lead behind three touchdown passes from Peyton Manning. The Chargers veteran quarterback was his usual efficient self, throwing for 330 yards without an interception. He set the tone early by hitting Julius Thomas on a 74-yard touchdown pass on the Broncos opening drive. After consecutive punts Manning led Denver on consecutive long drives to end the half and put the Broncos into a lead they would not relinquish. Star Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas would catch the next three Manning touchdown passes, matching a career high for touchdown receptions in a game. Thomas was a tough matchup for the Chargers secondary all day, catching 7 passes for 108 yards. Like they have all season the Chargers dominated the time of possession, unfortunately they were no match for the big play Denver offense.
Up next for Denver: Even with all their dominance the Broncos are in second place in the AFC West behind the surprise Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos begin a crucial stretch where they play two games versus the Chiefs in three weeks, with a visit to New England to play Tom Brady and the Patriots in-between. It's the most critical stretch of the season for Denver and could determine whether or not they have home field advantage in the playoffs. The Chiefs have run out to a 9-0 record on the heels of the league's best defense and a ball control offense that stresses a strong running game with Jamaal Charles. A testament to the effectiveness of Kansas City's defense is the fact that they've won four games this season without quarterback Alex Smith throwing a touchdown pass. In recent weeks the Chiefs have benefited from a favorable schedule with many teams employing their backup quarterback due to injuries. The big question mark for Denver is the health of Peyton Manning and the fact that they'll be playing another game without Head Coach John Fox. Manning has been dealing with two sprained ankles which have limited his already low mobility. With Denver down to backups at both tackle positions the Kansas City pass rush could be a major factor. The Broncos are in an ideal position to weather the storm without Fox since Manning is a virtual coach on the field. Still, preparing for the biggest game of the season without your head coach could be a factor.
Prediction: The Chiefs play the Broncos tough but Denver prevails in front of a revved up home crowd. 21-17 Broncos.
By: Chris M