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Manning Striving for 60 Minutes

Posted Oct 24, 2012

The Broncos have found a way to finish strong throughout the first half of the season, but the team wants to put together a complete effort this week.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As Head Coach John Fox said on Wednesday, the Broncos are "not afraid to finish."

The team has faced a fourth-quarter deficit in all but one of its games, when Denver led Oakland from start to finish.

From the point the Broncos faced their largest deficit -- down six to the Steelers, 20 to the Falcons and Texans and 24 to the Patriots and Chargers -- Denver outscored its opponents 101-6 down the stretch.

The team is 2-3 in those games, but the 35-point second-half effort against the Chargers in Week 6 proved to the team that it can finish those comebacks with wins.

“It certainly says something good about our team, that we can come back and we can score when we need to, but we’re still looking for that 60-minute game, not that 30- or 40-minute game," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "It’s something we’re addressing, we are studying it, and we’re trying hard to get off to a better start."

At the same time, Manning said the team isn't going to change its entire gameplan to ensure it starts fast.

“We’ve had some chances, we’ve turned the ball over at times in scoring position that you kind of say, ‘Boy if that didn’t happen we could have gotten some points there and gotten off to a faster start,’ so you have to be careful of overanalyzing it and changing what you’re doing because I think we are close," Manning said. "It’s just about being a little sharper, being a little better on the execution, protecting the ball better, lots of those little things. If we can do those better, we think that can make a difference.”

If there's a time to start fast, this week is it. The New Orleans Saints offense, led by Drew Brees, is the No. 3 overall unit in the league. The group averages a little more than 411 yards of offense and 29 points per game.

"This is not a team that you want to fall that far behind because they have the potential to keep scoring and keep extending that lead," Manning said. "It sure would be nice to try to put together that 60-minute game starting this week.”

But Denver's offense has the ability to score in bunches as well, as witnessed by the second-half outburst against the Chargers before the bye week.

Denver ranks sixth in total offense, averaging nearly 385 yards per game, and seventh in points per game with an average of just over 28 points.

That has some pundits predicting a shootout at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday night. Whether or not that's the way the game turns out, the Broncos offense understands the task at hand.

"I can't say what to expect," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "We know they can score points and we have to be able to set the tempo and be more successful in the first half, eliminate turnovers and drops and score some points. That’s our main focus.”

Fast start or not, the Broncos know the importance of taking advantage of their chance to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season and move back above .500.

“It’s such an important game for our team," Manning said. "You’re playing on Sunday night in primetime, and that’s special, but it’s coming off of a bye (and) it’s a pivotal game."

"It’s a game against a really good team, a team that’s hot, a team that their record and statistics and all those are very misleading. It’s a big-time football team that knows how to win and it’s one we need to have a good week of practice to get ready for.”