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No Comeback Needed

Posted Oct 28, 2012

On Sunday Night Football, the Broncos put together a full 60 minutes of football to come away with a 34-14 victory against the New Orleans Saints.

DENVER -- On Sunday night, a battle of top-10 NFL offenses was decidedly one-sided.

The Broncos carved up the New Orleans Saints defense for 530 total yards of offense en route to a convincing 34-14 win.

"It's what we're looking for offensively, defensively and special teams -- kind of feeding off one another," said quarterback Peyton Manning, who moved to 10-4 in games following the bye week.

Denver more than doubled up the Saints in first downs, total yardage and third-down efficiency, and put together the type of performance the club has been working toward since Week 1.

"To come out and play 60 minutes – that’s what we’ve been preaching the whole season," said wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who led the game with 137 receiving yards. "You saw that today. We came out and tried to score every drive and the defense just did an amazing job."

After a three-and-out to start the game, the Broncos got to work on their second drive -- from the 2-yard line.

Four consecutive runs by Willis McGahee got the Broncos out of the shadow of their own end zone, and opened up the secondary for a play-action pass on the fifth play of the drive. Manning hit Thomas for 41 yards into Saints territory to help jumpstart the drive, and six plays later, McGahee finished it with a 1-yard touchdown run.

"That was huge -- we talked about getting off to a fast start," Manning said. "Getting the ball at the 2-yard line is not ideal, but that was a good drive."

The 11-play, 98-yard drive was the longest of the day for either team -- though Denver also put together an 11-play, 93-yard touchdown drive to start the second half.

A fumble by McGahee on Denver's next drive gave New Orleans favorable field position for its only score of the first half, and quarterback Drew Brees hit running back Darren Sproles for a 29-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

But the Broncos put 27 unanswered points on the board to put the game out of reach.

Manning, who became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in four consecutive games, found wide receiver Eric Decker in the end zone twice and hit Thomas for a touchdown as well. Two 33-yard Matt Prater field goals capped Denver's scoring.

"Playing a 60-minute game, tonight we finally got a taste of what that really feels like," said linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who led the team with 13 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception. "Even though we made some mistakes, it feels good to come out there and be dominant."

The Saints got a late touchdown on a pass from Brees to tight end Jimmy Graham to trim the deficit to 20 points just before the two-minute warning, but by then the outcome was already decided.

"I don’t count that last one, really," wide receiver Brandon Stokley said of the late score. "(The defense) played awesome. To do that against that kind of offense, that’s something that hopefully we can build on and keep doing.”

The theme of executing for a full 60 minutes was echoed throughout the locker room after the win. In fact, both halves of Sunday's game were nearly mirror images -- the Broncos gained 265 yards of offense, scored 17 points and allowed one touchdown in both frames.

It marked the second time this season that the Broncos have finished the game with a 300-yard passer, 100-yard receiver and 100-yard runner.

With the win, the Broncos have a two-game winning streak for the first time in 2012, and at 4-3, Denver sits alone atop the AFC West standings.

“It’s great to string two together," linebacker Von Miller said. "The only thing better than two in a row is three in a row. We’re going to get back in the lab tomorrow and keep on working."

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