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Published on 12/02/2012 at Sun Dec 02 19:04.
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(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Following their seventh consecutive victory, a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay, the Denver Broncos have clinched an AFC West title for a second consecutive season.

The win over the Buccaneers was highlighted by defensive tackle Mitch Unrein and outside linebacker Von Miller, who accounted for two combined scores on the afternoon.

Early in the first quarter, Unrein lined up at fullback and caught a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning, marking Denver’s first score of the game.  Careful to not neglect his day job on the defensive line, Unrein would later record a tackle and force a QB hurry that resulted in an interception.

That interception was recorded by Miller, who returned it for a score in the third quarter.  Miller finished the day with a team-high six tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and an interception.

On offense, Manning went 27-of-38 for 242 yards and three touchdowns while passing John Elway for the most touchdown passes in a single season in franchise history (29).  Manning’s go-to-guy was Demaryius Thomas, who caught eight passes for 99 yards and a pair of scores.

The Broncos (9-3) will travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders in Week 14 on Thursday Night Football.  Manning has a 93.3 career passer rating against the Raiders and has helped the Broncos go undefeated in division play this season.

The Buccaneers had a lead at halftime and mounted a mini-comeback near the end of the game, but Denver’s 21 third quarter points proved too much for Tampa Bay to overcome.  It feels great to earn another victory.  Who gets your Game Ball this week?

  • Big_Pete

    This game was ridiculously out of hand in the 3rd quarter… Then we played our prevent offense and prevent defense which allowed the score (not the game) to appear closer than it really was.

    We had a sloppy field, but man, we need to pick it up on offense. Even though we scored, we seemed as discombobulated and confused as we were all of last year. We need to get things together before the playoffs, cause a team like New England won’t keep us in the game if we fail to score more than 7 points in the first half.

  • Doom92

    As always a win is awesome!!! BUT… I was very disappointed in the first and second to last drives. Hand it to Knowshow and let him loose yards for two drives? Ok so he gained 4 on the second one??? I didn’t get it and thought it was a poor decision.

    As for Knowshow, he is so damn average its not funny. Hey everyone, he will NEVER “break out”, if he is the best we have we are in serious trouble at that position. On the other hand watching Martin play I couldn’t help but think that with our line and offense with him we’d have MJD the 2nd. Wolfe has contributed but nothing special and thats what we waited on to pass on this guy??? I know past is past.

    All phases were damn good against a quality team. I’m not sure that the Raves are much better but we will be playing them in Baltimore. I like our chances to play at home past the first round, that would be nice.

    It is very nice to watch a game and simply sit back and relax, not on the edge of my chair scaring my dogs while I’m yelling…lol. I’ve gotten used to saying, “it only the first half, no biggie” ;-).

  • anthony33

    All in all a good game. Not going to cut it against the elite teams, still room to get a lot better. What we really need is a running back with a big ol’ butt that can run. Our short yardage running game is non-exsistent.
    Manning is amazing and we would be scoring 40 a game with a good running game. That is what is lacking and that is what will hurt us at some point.

  • Carlo Scuri

    first of all we must thank and give credit to John Elway who picked up a team after the hurricane McDaniels and turned it to a Superbowl contender and two times division title in only 2 years. Great job by the coaches, in particular Jack Del Rio. The game ball to Von Miller and Mitch Unrein.

  • Carlo Scuri

    Doom i agree with you on Knowshown, clearly he was not a first rounder, but the idiot McDaniels made that choice, anyway he can be useful. I disagree with you on Wolfe. He played a very good season and i think he’ll be a very good player for us for many years. In my opinion to be absolutely great we’d need a big huge nose tackle who can stop the run by himself, and for sure a kind of young Willis Macgahee.

  • Doom92

    Carlo all a fair assessment, I just do not think that Wolfe is that guy that will do that all by himself as you say. And sure I agree he will be a solid guy for us for a number of years, but I’d bet right now that he will not be as solid or as dominating in his perspective position as Martin will be. Hey I was one of the guys here saying “just say no to a running back” but I was wrong and so were the Broncos front office.

  • Doom92

    Nail head Ant… I guess it just took me the long cut to say the same thing…lol.

  • Doom92

    Can Pete get a Amen??? Dude so true. I said close to the same thing week before last. Now granted Tampa is a more solid team than what we have been rattling off these wins against you are right 100% and I’ll say it again as well, when we get to “Playoff Caliber” teams they will not allow us to stay in these games.

    While the Pats D isn’t great they play better than two rookies ever will this year, and the Texans D is good, if we couldn’t figure out how to exploit 2 rookies how are we going to exploit “Good” secondaries? Hopefully Peyton can figure them out, he is good at it, but he couldn’t do it to the Plain Tampa D and their rooks…

  • Big_Pete

    I think Wolfe can be a Pro-Bowler eventually, but probably not until his 2nd contract. He is green… very green, but the talent, desire, physicality, body, and motor is there.

    Onto Knowshon, like Doom said (and I agree whole heartedly), he’ll never have that breakout game. He’ll never be “special”. Doom said it before, and I’m sure he’ll say it again, he’ll never be “THE” guy. He is what he is. We’ve seen tape on him, we’ve suffered through games with him. He’ll never be a viable “answer” for a team.

    As with Doom, I also beat the drum of “Don’t take a RB in the 1st round unless he’s Adrian Peterson type of special.” I liked Martin and thought it would be decent if we took him, but like many, I thought we needed defensive help more than a RB, and even with hindsight, I believe that we needed defense more than offense. Of course, next draft will be different, cause we obviously need a RB, but again, I’m gonna say that unless he’s ADP special, I’m not touching a 1st round RB (but that might change cause we’re gonna be picking #32, so it’s kinda a 2nd round pick).

    Thing is that the difference between Wolfe and whoever we would have had leftover from last year is much greater than the difference between McGahee and Martin. This is why I’m still ok with us drafting Wolfe. Sure Martin is flashier, but that won’t mean anything if we can’t stop the opposing offense. I mean, if any fan base knows the heartaches of having a good offense be nullified by historically bad defense, its us. Its because of that that I’m perfectly fine with drafting Wolfe even if it means we didn’t get Martin. Even if Martin makes the HOF and Wolfe only makes pro bowls, I’ll be fine, cause we needed Wolfe more than we needed Martin at the time we drafted him.

  • Doom92

    Yeah I have to agree that it is hard to argue with your logic there. Its just hard to look at what we got VS what we passed on the last few years. With the exception of Von I think our drafts have sucked… bad! The only reason we got Von is because we sucked. Sad but true.

  • Big_Pete

    Yeah, but man, don’t beat yourself up like that. I mean, it’s soooooo easy to do that. We passed on Tom Brady 7 times… wouldn’t you rather have had him than Brian Griese/Gus Ferotte/Steve Beureline/Jake Plummer/Jay Cutler/Kyle Orton/Tim Tebow? I know I would. Again, we passed on him 7 times!!!

    My point of saying that is that yes, we saw the talent in Doug Martin (while nobody thought much of Brady just like nobody thought much of Terrell Davis), but still, revisionist history is dangerous. It can cause us to put dark clouds in our otherwise pretty blue sky.

    Besides, Rahim is looking to be the real deal, Franklin is a monster, Thomas/Decker are money (well, Thomas is anyways), so it isn’t like we haven’t drafted all that well.

    What we should be thankful for is the fact that our “valley” wasn’t as deep or as long as other teams’ valleys. I mean, we had what, 2 years of being laughing stocks and finishing poorly, which got us where we are today? We could have been Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc… Our “rebuilding” period lasted all of 2 years. That’s a blink of an eye. That’s what I get out of us sucking bad enough to get Von. Just like the Colts, they sucked for 1 whole year and moved from Manning to Luck. Man, I hope we’re that lucky when that time inevitably comes!

  • TheTroglodyte

    To be fair Moreno ran well. Martin would have been stuffed several times in the backfield with how we blocked too. You and I both love Martin and were appalled the Broncos let him slip but to place the blame on Moreno for yesterday’s run performance would be very unfair.

    After all, you take away the last 3 runs and Moreno averaged over 4 ypc against the #2 run defense in the league (according to Football Outsiders Stats).

  • Doom92

    Moreno was Moreno and I think he was absolutely part of the non-running game. He is the same as he’s always been and I don’t think he ran well over all at all. Sure he had, as his MO goes, his moments. As I’ve said before 3 good plays, 2 bad, 4 very average, 3 bad…. It is what it is. Thats not being fair or unfair… And yes Martin would have done much better with the exact same carries. Woulda Coulda Shoulda… ;-)

  • Doom92

    Well stated!

  • TheTroglodyte

    Moreno was average. Still our run blocking has sucked this year by all measurable standards. We have an average at best pass blocking line (who Manning makes looks much better than they are) and we have a bottom 10 run blocking line that gets frequently demolished and leaves are RB’s trying to make plays in the backfield.

  • E. Halsey Miles

    Well, the Bucs are the #1 run defense in the league. I thought our running game actually did really well, all things considered. Many times just don’t bother running against the Bucs.

  • Carlo Scuri

    I agree Pete. Watching what McDumbass did, I thought the Broncos rebuilding would have been very long and difficult. John Elway did an heck of a job. We need to remember that McDumbass drafted in 2009: Moreno, Ayers, Alphonso Smith, McBath, Richard Quinn in first and second round. In 2010: Thomas, Tebow, Beadles. 7 players in first and second round, 2 right choices, stuff like that can destroy a franchise for 6 or 7 years, instead our great John in only 2 years has been able to send us to 2 division titles.