Yeah, I predicted that the Broncos would win four games this season -- out of sixteen, not out of four. I couldn't be more thrilled to be eating crow after yesterday's game. My top ten reasons why:
10. When the Cowboys took an early 10-0 lead, I expected the Broncos to fold like the French government during any peace negotiations held since the founding of Paris. Didn't happen.
9. The Broncos' point production from turnovers has been off-the-charts and totally out-of-character this season -- but it seemed to have been inflated by facing the recently benched Brady Quinn and the should-be benched JaMarcus Russell. And yet, there was Knowshown Moreno scoring a TD made possible by a Tony Romo fumble to make the score 10-7 at halftime.
8. In recent years, the Broncos have put as much pressure on opposing QBs as a shower of feathers. Yesterday, they racked up five sacks against a strong Cowboys O-line.
7. As good as the upfront beef was at threatening Romo, they were even better at stopping the run. The Cowboys had rushed for 200 yards each of the past two games. On Sunday: 74 yards.
6. Kyle Orton occasionally threw the ball more than ten yards in the air. And sometimes, it didn't flutter.
5. Orton flirted with interceptions on several occasions without actually throwing one. Maybe the spin he puts on the ball is so weird that only his guys can catch it.
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4. On the 51-yard touchdown pass that gave the Broncos the lead for good, bad boy Brandon Marshall literally took the ball out of the defender's grasp and then ran half the Cowboys on the field in a serpentine pattern straight out of The In-Laws. He was even better at it than Alan Arkin.
3. After the touchdown, Marshall hugged coach Josh McDaniels. A real hug, not an I'm-dreaming-about-strangling-you hug. And then he sat down beside Kyle Orton and talked as if it wasn't a big deal. Bizarre but damned nice to see.
2. On the Cowboys' last ditch try for a tying TD, Champ Bailey, who spent most of last season being hung out to dry by the Broncos' laughable pass rush, was given the chance to make plays -- and he came through brilliantly twice in a row. Yeah, the second one might have been pass interference (Champ's arm was wrapped around Sam Hurd sorta like that Marshall-McDaniels moment), but he earned the no-call. So did the reconfigured 3-4 defense as a whole, which seems good enough to keep the Broncos in just about every game this season, against any opponent, if they step up as they did against the 'Boys.
1. After the game, there were no stupid comments by B-Marsh; no demands by his agent to reopen contract negotiations; no news of arrests involving women he does or doesn't know; no bad karma at all. Looks like a lot of people who foresaw Broncos humiliation and doom this season, including yours truly, were wrong. And I couldn't be happier.