ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Although the end result of the Broncos' Week 1 offensive performance was a smooth-running, high-performance engine, not every piston fired as was intended. The most visible misfire was from the direction of wide receiver Eric Decker, who led the Broncos in touchdowns last year but dropped a potential score and now heads into Week 2 looking for redemption and a return to his 2012 form.
"I think in the moment, it's kind of, 'Oh, crap. Why did that happen?' And then you've got to flush it quickly because when you play 70-plus plays a game, you've got to play them one at a time," said Decker.
The end-zone drop capped a frustrating night in which he dropped two passes and caught just two of seven Peyton Manning throws that came his way.
"There were way too many mistakes personally," Decker said. "Fortunately I've got a lot of great teammates that picked up the slack and played very well. But I can't let that happen again; it's embarrassing to myself."
With other targets like Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas flourishing, you might think that Decker's performance leads to a de-emphasis. You'd be wrong.
"You will see me throwing the ball at Eric as many times this Sunday as I did Thursday (against Baltimore)," said Manning.
Decker appreciated those words.
"For me, it's a big self-confidence booster, knowing that a guy like him -- your quarterback -- has that trust in you and knows that you have that ability," he said. "It makes me want to work that much harder and make sure that I show up and prove that."
Manning's advice was simple, and similar to what Decker tried to tell himself: just forget about it.
"He's there to tell me that games like this may happen, but it's how you get up and play the next one," Decker said. "I think it's nice to have that confidence from your teammates and the support that you can get back out to practice and get back into a rhythm -- (to) just know that they do trust you and they do expect good things from you."
And realistically, the Broncos' plethora of targets and the limited number of snaps for Manning to get each the football means that someone will likely come up short of what onlookers expect every week.
Some of that will also depend on what types of coverages defenses use; for example, Andre Caldwell's touchdown catch last Thursday was due in part to a Ravens safety staying inside to defend Julius Thomas, which left Caldwell in man coverage that he had already beaten by a step when Manning threw what became a touchdown pass. But other decisions will be as simple as who gets open more often, and which of the Broncos' targets a defense gambles on leaving in soft coverage.
"When you have a lot of talent around you, somebody is going to rise to the top that day," Thomas said. "We are confident that whatever teams give us, we're going to have somebody that can produce and make plays."
And after Decker's rough game last week, it could be No. 87 that finds himself open. If that's the case, Manning will find him.
"He's a huge part of our offense, and we have great confidence in him," Manning said. "He's going to be fine."