CLEVELAND —** The Broncos are still perfect on the season thanks in part to kicker Brandon McManus, even if he isn't.
With the game-winning 34-yard field goal, along with three other successful attempts, McManus continued to have an integral impact on the Broncos, though he did miss his first field-goal opportunity of the season.
The Browns battled back to tie the game in regulation, but the Broncos pulled out the overtime victory on the road to go to 6-0.
With FirstEnergy Stadium right off Lake Erie, the wind sliced through the deep architectural divisions in the northeast and southeast corners of the stadium and provided McManus with a challenge from the first steps he took on the field.
"That first half and the warmups, the ball was moving from one upright all the way to the other, even at 40-yard distances," McManus said. "It was pretty unbelievable."
After hitting a 29-yard attempt in the first quarter, the Broncos looked to McManus to build on a 10-0 lead with a long try from 51 yards with 22 seconds remaining in the half.
It sailed wide left. After 13 successful field goals, including four from 50 yards or greater, and 12 PAT kicks to start the season, McManus' streak came to a halt.
"I could've sworn that 51-yarder was good," he said. "I think that was my best kick all game and it didn't move one yard from where I thought it was going to move all the way in."
The wind would calm down a bit in the second half, and with the offense's red-zone struggles continuing, the Broncos were able to rely upon McManus' consistency to keep putting points on the board.
In the waning minutes, the Browns fought back to tie the game, sending it to overtime. Denver conducted a 72-yard drive beginning at the Broncos' 12-yard line, giving McManus a more-than reasonable shot to win the game.
He figured the Browns would take a last-second timeout in an effort to ice him, but that just gave him an opportunity to test the waters.
"Usually they try to ice the kicker, especially a younger guy," McManus said. "I'm one of those guys who likes to get his practice rep in, and see if my ball go through the uprights on the distance and kind of see what the wind is doing."
The second attempt was as true as the first, and the Broncos escaped the Dawg Pound with their sixth victory in as many games.
"[The offense] did a great job of getting me down the field, making a very easy kick at 34 yards, and that's the hash I wanted it to be on based off the wind in warmups," McManus said. "But [that was an] unbelievable team win. We fought together to seal this thing on the road to get to 6-0."
Now the Broncos head into their bye week with a perfect record, and that makes his game-winning kick all the more gratifying.
"Especially with the amount of time that was left on the clock," McManus said, "you definitely don't want to tie or have that kick, you know, to go through the whole bye week and you sulk on that."