Posted Sun Oct 3rd by Monty
The Denver Broncos didn’t outsmart the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. They didn’t out-muscle the Titans, and they didn’t best them in quickness.
They frustrated them into the fourth quarter.
In a chippy game that saw plenty of contact after the whistle blew in play after play, the Broncos (2-2), led by Kyle Orton‘s relentless air attack, took advantage of the Titans’ (2-2) crucial fourth quarter mistakes and escaped LP Field with an impressive fourth quarter comeback victory, 26-20.
Down 20-16 at midfield with 2:00 to play, the Broncos’ comeback was all but sealed when Titans safety Chris Hope committed pass interference on an end zone ball to Jabar Gaffney. Two plays later, the Broncos had a 23-16 lead.
Then, Marc Mariani fumbled the ensuing kickoff (Marian earlier had a 98-yard touchdown kickoff return), the Broncos recovered, and Matt Prater‘s fourth field goal of the day put the game out of reach with less than 40 seconds to play.
Orton finished with over 300 yards passing for the sixth time in his career, and for the fourth time in the past five games. The Broncos defense held Chris Johnson to 53 rushing yards and Vince Young to 173 yards passing.
Make no mistake — the Broncos deserved this win.
The Titans’ late mistakes made the difference in the end, but they merely offset similar gaffs on the Broncos’ part earlier in the game. The 10 points the Broncos scored in the game’s final two minutes offset 10 points they had no business surrendering earlier.
First, the Broncos allowed the Titans to get into field goal range at the end of the first half after a questionable timeout call from Josh McDaniels. Vince Young, under heavy pressure, came up gimpy with 0:06 left on the clock at midfield, and McDaniels called timeout. The break allowed Young to compose himself, the Titans called a perfect play, and Rob Bironas nailed a 55-yarder to tie the game at 10.
Then, Mariani’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown gave the Titans a four-point lead that would last until the fourth quarter’s thrilling finish.
The running game is in need of a defibrillator (17 carries for 8 yards between Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter), but the defense and passing game will keep the Broncos in games. They’ll need more than that over the next two weeks though, as the 2-2 Broncos look to face the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets in back-to-back weeks.