EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The narrative had been set for some time before the Broncos even arrived at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Since Sept. 29, 2020, when the Broncos cemented a second consecutive winless September, the Broncos' early season woes became well known, and as Head Coach Vic Fangio's third season with the Broncos approached, that run would be the biggest story.
With a 27-13 win over the Giants on Sunday, Fangio and the Broncos took a strong first step toward putting that history behind them.
"Obviously the facts are the facts: We've had bad starts here the last two years, record-wise," Fangio said after the game. "And to get off to a good start at 1-0 playing a good team on the road in a pretty good environment in favor of the home team, I think it speaks volumes about the team we have and what we possibly can do moving forward. But it definitely was big. That would have been the story all week; now all you guys have to throw away those stories and write a new one."
The new story, for now, is about the promise that a 1-0 start can hold.
For one thing, it's simply just not easy to win in the NFL, especially on the road. To do so — and to do so in an at times dominant fashion like the Broncos did against a defense that ranked in the league's top 10 a year ago — can mean a lot.
"Honestly, winning any week, because it's hard to win in this league, and we all understand that," quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. "So to come out of here today with a victory is huge for this organization. We get to continue to just roll with each other. We learned a lot about each other tonight, different things."
It could also have implications for the team's fortunes for the year. In 2020, nearly 70 percent of teams that started 1-0 made the playoffs.
But at the same time, it's not a panacea; the Jaguars started that season 1-0 and didn't win another game.
So, if the Broncos like that winning feeling — and based on the video of the victory speech from inside the locker room, they certainly did — they'll have to remember the sensation but forget the win pretty soon.
"When we come to work tomorrow, we'll be high-fiving and then by 4 o'clock p.m., we shift our focus," Bridgewater said.
Fangio's not getting caught up in the feel-good nature of turning a narrative on its head, either. After the win, he told media that he's concentrating solely on the upcoming road trip to face Jacksonville.
"I'm a one-game-at-a-time guy," Fangio said. "I know that sounds cliché-ish, but it really is that way with me. My whole focus will be Jacksonville and trying to get to 2-0, and it will be nothing else. Everything and anything will be pointed in that direction."
While they will move on relatively quickly, the momentum can't be overlooked either and, as Fangio said in the preseason, "I still think you gain something from playing good and winning, especially a team where we've been."
With any luck for the Broncos, the quality of play in September is just one of several trends they'll reverse this season.
"To start off 1-0, it's just what we needed," wide receiver Tim Patrick said. "I'm not saying our season's going to be different just because we're 1-0, but it's a start. And we've just got to make sure we go 1-0 each week. Don't look forward to anybody else. Just keep going 1-0 and then see where we're at at the end of the season."
Check out photos from Denver's season opener victory vs. the Giants as the team celebrated on the field and in the locker room.