The Denver Broncos seem to be making a habit of playing tight games. They held on to beat the New Orleans Saints 34-32 today. Once again, it came down to a fumble inside the 10 yard line. Broncos QB Jay Cutler threw a pass in the flat to tight end Tony Scheffler. Scheffler made a one-handed catch, but he dropped the ball when he was hit. This time, though, the officials got the call correct when they ruled it a fumble. Replay confirmed the call.
As a Broncos fan, I want to say, "What's your excuse this week?" when it comes to discussing why the Broncos won the game. I know the response I would get would be that they only won the game because Martin Grammatica missed a field goal that would have given the Saints the lead. (We have developed this attitude in Denver after many years of hearing, "Yeah, they won, but..." after nearly every Denver win.) That isn't the case, though. Ultimately, yes, it did come down to a missed field goal. You can't overlook the fact, though, that the Broncos defense held the Saints out of the endzone at the end of the first half when the Saints had 2nd and goal from inside the one yard line. You also can't overlook the fact that the Broncos stopped the Saints from converting 3rd-and-1 to force the field goal attempt. All in all, it was a solid effort by the Broncos today.
The Broncos were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game by the Saints. The Broncos rushed for 105 yards compared to only 88 by the Saints, but the Saints had 3 rushing TD's to only one for Denver. Drew Brees threw for 421 yards compared to 264 for Jay Cutler. Cutler threw 2 TD's, though, and Brees only threw one. The key in this game was, obviously, 2 missed field goals by Martin Grammatica and a fumble return for a touchdown by Nate Webster for the Broncos. The Saints outplayed the Broncos, but the Broncos took advantage of the opportunities that they had, for the most part. The Denver D made some big plays when they needed it the most. The day is over, and the Broncos sit at 3-0, 2 1/2 games ahead of the San Diego Chargers for 1st place in the AFC West.