ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Consistency.
Off to a 1-2 start, it's what quarterback
Through three games, the Broncos have excelled in the fourth quarter, but on the whole, struggled in the first three frames.
Why? Manning said that's hard to pinpoint.
"I don’t think I know enough yet to call something a pattern," Manning said. "In the first and third quarters, we’re not scoring enough points. We’re all looking at that. Seeing what it is that we can do as players, the coaches are looking at it. We’d sort of like to find the answer. I don’t think there’s a special secret formula as far as changing the pregame routine, I think it’s more sound football. We’re capable of playing it. We’ve shown in some critical times in the game. We just need to show it more consistently.”
To the quarterback's point, in the first and third quarters, the Broncos have scored single-digit points through three games.
Denver has been stronger in the second quarter, scoring 20 total points in that frame -- but the club has still been outscored by its opponents, 34-20.
It's the fourth quarter when the Broncos have come alive, outscoring opponents 45-6 through three games. The difference of 39 points is the best in the NFL.
"I think we have made more plays in the fourth quarter for whatever reason, so it’s certainly not a fatigue factor going on," Manning said. "Our challenge is getting out of the box a little bit earlier."
That becomes all the more important on Sunday against an Oakland Raiders team flying high after a comeback victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3.
Manning acknowledged that the Raiders will likely enter Sunday's game -- Denver's AFC West opener -- with "a lot of momentum."
But the Broncos will have the advantage of the Sports Authority Field at Mile High crowd behind them.
"When you play at home, you feel like because of the crowd here, the noise -- that place was rocking there at the end of the (Houston) game in the fourth quarter -- you like to be able to kind of reward those fans with a win when you have it," Manning said. "Especially in these division games, because division games are tough on the road, so you like to able to win the ones at home.”
Getting off to a fast start and getting the crowd behind them is a priority for the Broncos, Manning said, but not a necessity.
"If you don't, you can still win a game," he said.
But fast start or not, the team knows it needs to put together 60 minutes of solid football to get its AFC West slate off to the right start.
"We have to take care of our job better — execute and getting off to a better start and just being more consistent," Manning said. "We certainly have shown flashes of it. It’s been in the fourth quarter, end of the second half. Whatever it is, we need to find a way to be better for four quarters.”