Broncos on the rebound....maybe

The Denver Broncos may have won the battle, but they're still a mile away from winning the war.

An unbelievably sloppy first half, a reputed chop-block by Dan Neil and the first thirty-point performance by the Broncos since the opening game of the season.

My what an afternoon.

Denver's 31-20 victory over the New England Patriots may have, at least temporarily saved the Broncos season, but it certainly didn't provide the hope Denver fans were looking for heading into next Monday night's game against the Oakland Raiders.

At best, it reinforced the weaknesses that surround the 2001 team.

After giving away ten points to a team led by Tom Brady, an unknown quarterback who once served as Brian Griese's backup, Denver fans did what they do best. They let their feelings be known, this time in the form of a cascade of boos directed at those they had paid their hard earned money to see, the Denver Broncos.

It certainly wasn't unwarranted.

After suffering two embarrassing losses, many expected the Broncos to come out with a vengeance, especially against a team it has routinely dominated in the past.

Instead it was the Patriots who dominated, scoring on their first two drives almost as effortlessly as both Seattle and San Diego had done in previous weeks. Questions surrounding motivation, talent and preparation surfaced quicker than bad acne.

Griese, Shanahan, Kubiac and Ray Rhodes were all were all under the microscope, failing miserably within through the game's opening minutes.

Then, almost as quickly as the downfall started, it took an abrupt turn.

Denver scored twenty-one unanswered points in the second half, thanks in part to four Bronco interceptions, courtesy of Deltha O'Neal, Denard Walker and Eric Brown.

The boos turned to cheers, frowns turned to smiles and for just a moment you almost forgot that the Broncos were a team struggling to achieve mediocrity.

Almost.

A quick glance at the schedule brought you back to earth with the realization that next week's Monday Night Football contest pits these same Denver Broncos against arguably the top team in the AFC, the Oakland Raiders, a team more than willing to hand the Broncos a major embarrassment on national television.

Whether or not Mike Shanahan and company are willing to settle for that remains to be seen.

What the fans are willing to settle for has been made perfectly clear.

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