It may not be enough to brag about, but a 34-20 win over the Tennessee Titans on a national stage sure goes a long way in helping people forget the two embarrassing blow outs earlier in the year - and it just might have saved the season in the process.
Three hundred-fifty nine total yards on offense, a buck sixty-six on the ground, two picks on defense and the first punt return for a score since 2003. Yea I know it's three days till Thanksgiving, but Monday night Broncos' fans had plenty to be thankful for, and it all started at the top.
Jay Cutler, playing the type of game Mike Shanahan promised us he could, put up career best numbers, connecting on touchdowns of 41 and 48-yards through the air and finished with a quarterback rating of 137.0.
No, it's not a typo - it really was 137.0.
Not a bad rebound for a guy that's been hammered repeatedly since the 44-7 spanking in Detroit.
"We have talked about this from day one," Shanahan enjoyed pointed out to reporters. "I thought Jay has done a great job of managing the game. I think he is continuing through this process, and continuing his learning experience. He works at it and puts in a lot of great effort and shows a lot of poise."
"We had to come up with some big plays, which I thought we did throughout the game."
Big plays and big numbers - Glenn Martinez opened it up early taking back a Titans punt 80-yards to give the Broncos a 14-0 first quarter lead and Andre Hall, third man down on the Broncos running back totem pole, got his act on Sports Center with a 62-yard jaunt to the end zone to help seal it in the fourth.
For those trying to keep up with the Broncos revolving backfield, Hall replaced Selvin Young, who left midway through the third with a sprained left knee. Young was replacing Travis Henry, who has a multitude of problems including a partially torn ligament in his left knee and a possible suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Behind Hall there's … well who knows, it's Shanahan's plug and play ground game, but it seems to be working and at this stage of the season they'll take it.
"This is our division - it's always been our division, second-year receiver Brandon Marshall said afterwards. "Before we had myself, before we had (WR) Rod Smith and before we had John Elway. It's always been ours and we just have to take it back."
Consider it taken - at least temporarily. Denver's final five opponents have a combined 20-30 record heading into Week Twelve, and this Sunday it's off to Chicago to make fun of Brian Griese.
Now there's a reason to be thankful.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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