It was a sight that Denver fans had not seen in quite some time — the Orange and Blue defense looking confused and listless, while the opposing offense picked them apart. There weren’t many people who were giving the Atlanta Falcons much of a chance to come into Denver last week and leave with a win.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1716725-3-keys-to-victory-broncos... However, Matt Ryan and company would execute a near perfect game-plan and leave the Mile High city with a 23-16 win that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate.
Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman would go off, as they consistently found room to run against the Denver font seven. The few times that Denver was able to answer the call and slow down Freeman, Coleman would take linebacker Todd Davis to the cleaners and finish the day with a career high 132 yards receiving and a score.
In both rushing and receiving, the duo of Coleman and Freeman would go for 286 yards and two scores in a rare undressing of the vaunted No Fly Zone.
There won’t be much time to commiserate the loss as Denver travels to San Diego for its first divisional game of the year. Earlier this week, Von Miller shared his insight on the team’s mood after their first loss and how they plan to move on from it.
“We just had a tough day on Sunday," Miller said. "Every team doesn’t have a Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman. Every running back tandem isn’t going to go for 88 yards rushing and the other guy go for 136 yards receiving. It’s just not going to happen week in and week out. It was something that they got on us on Sunday that was that Sunday. That was one day out of the month, one game. We lost a game this time last year against the Colts and we lost another game right after. We were able to rally and how we finished the season, that’s all history. It’s the National Football League. It’s a competitive league. You’re going to lose games. It’s how you bounce back from it that defines the type of team that you are.”
Despite the loss, it did little to damper the mood of the jovial linebacker. Miller would also point it out that it could work to the team’s favor to have a quick turnaround for the game on Thursday.
“We lost. The good thing about it is that we have another game on Thursday," Miller said. "We get to get the bad taste out of our mouth pretty quick. We’ve got the first game on. We’re back into the lab working out some of the stuff we did wrong, working on some of the stuff that we did well. Like I said we’ve got a quick game, a quick Thursday and it’s going to be great.”
Cornerback Aqib Talib was eager to point out that, while never a good feeling, losing is part of the game. Talib would also say that the team has moved on and is ready to take on the San Diego Chargers.
“Everybody in the locker room has lost a game before, whether it was in high school, college or wherever," Talib said. "We’ve all lost a game before. We lost I don’t know how many games last year and won the Super Bowl so you’re going to lose games. It’s the NFL, you just have to get rid of it and prepare like you always do.”
It’s a “what have you done for me lately” league and just one week after a dominant defensive performance against Tampa Bay, many are looking around to see if the sky is falling in Denver. It was an out of the ordinary performance, which has led some to hypothesize that the riddle of the Broncos defense has been answered and that it will be the game plan of choice going forward for any offense the team faces.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips would express disappointment with the end result on Sunday but is still confident in his defense and their abilities.
“We did the same thing against New England," Phillips said. "They targeted the guy 16 times and they had four yards receiving. We played pretty much the same stuff we played against New England in the championship game and I think we won. We just didn’t play it as well this time. I think we could have played better. I always think that.”
Every team faces adversity and it would be foolish to think that the defending Super Bowl Champs would be any different. Denver would rebound from two losses late last year to go on its championship run.
Until proven wrong, this year is shaping up to be no different. The first step towards righting the ship starts Thursday night in San Diego.
Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.
To get instant Broncos notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE