ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Through the first five games of the season, the Broncos have proven their resiliency by mounting comebacks each time they've faced substantial deficits.
Despite the rallies, however, falling behind has proven costly in each of the team's three losses. Though the strong fourth quarter performances have been encouraging, performing to their potential from start to finish is what the Broncos are looking for going forward. The players want to treat the entire game like it's the fourth quarter against San Diego and throughout the rest of the season.
"Guys have done their jobs, we just need to play with kind of that type of execution and precision for the entire 60 minutes," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "That's kind of what we're shooting for is that 60-minute game, not good fourth quarters or good second quarters. We still need to find that consistency. This'd sure be a good week to do it."
So far this season, the Broncos have outscored the opposition 58-6 in the fourth quarter. It hasn't happened because of any changes in the play of the opponent. The late-game success has been a matter of better execution, which wide receiver Eric Decker said the team needs to have from start to finish.
"Do what we're doing in the fourth quarter, first," Decker said. "Just executing the plays. When you get in the fourth quarter, you don't see a different defense or them slouched back anymore. We're just making plays and we're not putting ourselves in third-and-long situations. We're executing the first couple plays to move the chains for us. I think that's the biggest thing you have to get back to, just making sure we take care of what we do and make the plays when they present themselves."
At this point, the Broncos are more than familiar with how the game can change after a slow start. They're hoping to turn the tables Monday night in San Diego.
"That seems to be the theme in some of the games we've played," defensive tackle Justin Bannan said. "I'd like to start it the other way, to start fast. (We want to) get a lead early and our defense gets off on third down."
Linebacker Keith Brooking said getting off to a better start has been a point of emphasis in practice this week.
"It seems like we've gotten off to some slow starts," Brooking said. "Not necessarily saying that we're not bringing that passion, emotion and enthusiasm, but it's extremely vital. It's important to get off to a quick start. We've talked about that as a team. We know how important it is. That's going to be our focus and concentration this week is really starting fast. Obviously when you start fast, it sets a tone for the ball game and you have to be consistent with that intensity throughout the game for 60 minutes and finish strong as well. It's something we've talked about and we plan on doing it."