Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wrap-up: Broncos 34, Browns 12
By Bill Williamson
A look at yet another Denver victory:
What it means: The Broncos moved another step closer to a first-round bye in the postseason. Denver can earn the No. 2 seed with a win at home over Kansas City next week or a New England home loss to Miami. Denver can get the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Chiefs and a Houston loss at Indianapolis. Denver has 10 straight wins and is now 12-3. There is no doubt this team is very much in the mix for the Super Bowl.
Focused club: On the surface, a 22-point home win over a team like Cleveland is not exactly awe-inspiring. But the easy Denver win is another example of how focused this team has been. The Broncos are rolling week in and week out. That’s very difficult to sustain. Denver coach John Fox doesn’t get enough credit for keeping his team so focused and steady.
Big day for Manning: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning continued to press for the MVP award. He was brilliant. He threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns. He hit receiver Demaryius Thomas nine times for 102 yards, which should seal a Pro Bowl berth for the third-year receiver. Even without standout guard Chris Kuper, Denver’s offensive line was excellent. Manning was not sacked.
Moreno slowed some: Knowshon Moreno had 238 yards in his previous two games. He wasn’t that good Sunday as he finished with 78 yards on 22 carries. But it was good enough to keep the Broncos balanced.
Miller sets mark: Second-year linebacker Von Miller continued his push for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award (Houston’s J.J. Watt is probably the favorite). Miller had 1.5 sacks. He now has 17.5 sacks this season, which is a new Denver franchise record. Overall, Denver had six sacks Sunday. Elvis Dumervil, the previous team record holder, had two and has 11 on the season.
What’s next: The season finale against the Chiefs. The Chiefs played Denver tough last month. I’d be shocked if the 2-13 Chiefs could muster a similar effort next week with Denver playing for so much and the Chiefs on the cusp of getting the No. 1 overall pick.