DENVER** – Four weeks into the season and each week, history has repeated itself for the Broncos. Like clockwork, the fourth quarter tolls and the offense finds its groove, followed by the defense making a big turnover to seal the win.
This week's episode of Denver's last-minute rally concluded with the offense setting up kicker Brandon McManus for the go-ahead 39-yard field goal and the defense forcing a fumble and recovery in the waning moments of the contest as the Broncos walked off with the victory, 23-20.
"We play really good fourth-quarter football," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "We talk about in our goal sheet that we have about winning the fourth quarter and we have done that each week.
"We've done some good things on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter. Defensively, obviously, we come up with some big plays or big turnovers or sacks or whatnot, but offensively we put some drives together at the right time and we had a setback today with a turnover and we were able to overcome that."
They say that good teams find a way to win, and the undefeated Denver Broncos have seemingly embodied that cliché.
Manning and the offense suffered some "self-inflicted wounds" when it came to penalties and a pair of interceptions, but the team was able to brush itself off and forget about the miscues in their next possession.
"I think that's a good sign, right?" Manning said. "If you just keep making mistakes, or you let the mistake affect the next drive, that's not what you're looking for. So you don't want the mistakes to happen, but if they do, you want to be able to overcome them and I think we did that today."
While there were missteps on offense, there were plenty of standout moments from both the running and passing attacks. Running back Ronnie Hillman broke out for a 72-yard touchdown sprint and Manning found tight end Owen Daniels for a touchdown in the second consecutive game, wide open in the end zone in the opening drive of the second half.
For the Broncos, this kind of balance is what they've been striving for under Head Coach Gary Kubiak.
"I think the more balanced we can be, I think the more pressure you can keep on a defense," Manning said. "I think for them not to know what you're going to be doing on any first or second down – that's what you're looking for.
"You're looking for them to be on their heels,* are they going to run it here? Drop back and pass? Are they going to run play-action?* … But you're got to have productivity in each phase, so we're always looking to do that whether it's the passing game or the running game."