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2012 Season Review: Third Quarter

Posted Feb 11, 2013

In the third chapter of DenverBroncos.com's four-part series reviewing the 2012 season, the Broncos clinch the AFC West and go 4-0.


Denver 36, Carolina 14

GAME RECAP: After the road win at Cincinnati in Week 9, the Broncos took another East Coast trip. It was a homecoming of sorts for many of the coaches who had come to the Broncos from the Carolina Panthers when Fox was hired in 2011.

Linebacker Von Miller set the tone with a first-possession sack of the only player selected ahead of him in the 2011 NFL Draft, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. He finished the game with four tackles for a loss and a forced fumble, and went on to earn the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month for November.

Denver scored touchdowns in all three phases of the game. Wide receiver Trindon Holliday became the second player in team history to return a kick for a touchdown in consecutive games with his 76-yard punt return that gave Denver a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. Cornerback Tony Carter added a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown to extend Denver's lead to 24-7 in the third quarter. Safety Mike Adams added his first career safety with a sack of Newton in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

TURNING POINT: One play after Manning was strip-sacked and the Panthers recovered, Miller broke into the backfield and hit Newton as he was releasing a pass. Carter jumped in front of the receiver, intercepted the pass and returned 40 yards for a touchdown. The play halted the Panthers' momentum and extended the Denver lead to 24-7.

KEY STATISTIC: Panthers went 0-for-12 on third downs.

QUOTABLE: “We don’t rely on just one guy, or offense or defense or special teams -- touchdowns can come from anywhere. You never know how Sunday’s going to go, you’ve just got to go out there and play football. That’s what we did.”
-Linebacker Von Miller


Denver 30, San Diego 23

GAME RECAP: After back-to-back road games, the Broncos returned to Sports Authority Field for a Week 11 divisional matchup against San Diego.

Denver earned its first season-sweep of the Chargers since 2005 with a 30-23 win, extending the team’s AFC West lead over second-place San Diego to three games.

The Broncos defense led the way in the win, stifling the Chargers on third downs. San Diego started the game 0-of-11 before finishing 3-of-16.

TURNING POINT: Eric Decker's 20-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter gave Denver its largest lead of the game at 24-9.

KEY STATISTIC: San Diego started the game 0-for-11 on third downs and finished 3-for-16.

QUOTABLE: “It’s a team thing. As long as the offense keeps putting up points and we can get quarterbacks off the field and continue to force turnovers, the sky is the limit.”
-Cornerback Chris Harris


Denver 17, Kansas City 9

GAME RECAP: Defensive play also highlighted the team’s win in Week 12 over another AFC West rival in Kansas City.

Despite failing to top the 30-point mark for the first time in the team’s then six-game win streak, the Broncos defense kept the Chiefs out of the end zone on the way to a 17-9 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

In his first start of the season, running back Knowshon Moreno accounted for 111 yards from scrimmage in the win.

TURNING POINT: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning to put the Broncos ahead 14-9 in the third quarter.

KEY STATISTIC: Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn was held to just 126 passing yards and was intercepted once to finish with a quarterback rating of 49.8.

QUOTABLE: “They're not all going to be pretty. Sometimes you’re going to have those games. It’s just nice to come out of here with a win, because this is a tough place to play.”
-Wide Receiver Eric Decker


Denver 31, Tampa Bay 23

GAME RECAP: Looking to close the third quarter of the season undefeated – and clinch the AFC West title, the Broncos took on the Buccaneers in Week 13.

The team did just that, riding a 21-point third quarter to a 31-23 victory to claim its second divisional crown in as many seasons.

Two defensive players contributed to the scoring with defensive tackle Mitch Unrein catching his first career touchdown pass and Miller returning his first career interception for a touchdown.

TURNING POINT: Miller's pick-six gave Denver a 28-10 lead with 3:56 to play in the third quarter.

KEY STATISTIC: The Broncos outscored the Buccaneers 21-0 in the third quarter to turn a 10-7 deficit into a 28-10 lead.

QUOTABLE: "(Clinching the AFC West) is a great accomplishment, a tribute to the staff and coaches in that locker room. They did a fantastic job. But we still have a whole quarter of the season left. We'll see what happens."
-Head Coach John Fox