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Never Out of the Fight

Posted Dec 11, 2011

Week 14 featured more of the same from the Broncos -- another comeback victory for a team that believes close games are its to win.


DENVER -- Of all the comeback victories the Denver Broncos have claimed this season, Wesley Woodyard had to admit the 13-10 overtime win against the Bears stands as the most unlikely.

"This one," he said, "we had our backs up against the wall the most."

Their backs were so far against the wall they could have left an imprint.

This time the Broncos were down 10-0 with less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. No timeouts.

But at the 8:40 mark of overtime, there was Matt Prater, drilling the 51-yard game-winning field goal.

"We've been there before, haven't we?" safety Brian Dawkins said. "This is nothing new."

This is the norm for the 8-5 Broncos.

Denver has now won six in a row. The team trailed at halftime in three of those games.

Week after week, the Broncos defy the odds. Week after week they scratch and claw for victories that appear to be out of reach.

"I can't really explain how we're doing it," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "We're just doing it."

A broad explanation for this continued success is difficult to conjure up. Each victory in this six game win streak has featured a unique set of circumstances. A unique set of challenges.

But the one commonality in all of them has been Denver's collective mindset, a shared belief throughout the locker room that they will find a way to win.

"Our guys never blink. They remain positive," Head Coach John Fox said. "That's kind of the M.O. of this bunch."

"We have a team that constantly believes and believes in each other," quarterback Tim Tebow said.

"In those last five minutes, if it's in reach for us to get it, we feel like we're going to win," Woodyard said. "That's the kind of mentality that we have."

"All you have to do is give us a chance," Defensive end Elvis Dumervil said.

The Broncos got that chance.

After the Broncos failed to recover an onside kick, there didn't seem to be enough time left to mount a comeback. But Chicago running back Marion Barber ran out of bounds on second down with less than two minutes remaining, stopping the clock when Denver had no more timeouts.

The Broncos got the ball back with 53 seconds left. Prater kicked the 59-yard, game-tying field goal eight plays later.

In overtime, the Bears once again appeared poised to emerge victorious. With the ball at the Denver 38-yard line, Barber found room to run up the middle and burst through for 5 yards - a gain that would have set up Robbie Gould for the potential game-winning field goal.

But Woodyard forced Barber to fumble at the end of the run and the Broncos recovered.

"He gashed us on the play actually and somehow I just had to make a play," Woodyard said. "My teammates believe in me and I believe in them and that's what it's all about - making plays at the end of the game."

Making plays at the end of the game is what the Broncos have consistently done.

They've got an undeniable flare for the dramatic.

And now the never-say-die Broncos are alone at the top of the AFC West standings.

"Last week was crazy, the week before was crazy, but every week, the next game takes the crown every game," safety Quinton Carter said.

"We keep making it tougher and tougher but the guys we've got on the team, everybody's fighting," linebacker D.J. Williams added. "You never know what's going to happen until that last second goes off the clock."