Denver Broncos Defeat Cleveland Browns Despite Peyton Manning's Struggles

Denver Broncos Defeat Cleveland Browns Despite Peyton Manning's Struggles

Peyton Manning once again looked like he is declining, but he and the Broncos played well enough to remain undefeated.

Connor Deitrich

If the question, "who is the worst undefeated team in the NFL?" was proposed, the Denver Broncos would be a strong candidate. Of their six wins, only one was a double digit victory, and it came against the Detroit Lions, one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Peyton Manning did not look good today. He threw for 290 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. One interception was a pick-six, and another came in overtime, giving the Cleveland Browns great field position. But, as usual, the Broncos defense stepped up and stuffed the Browns, eventually resulting in a game-winning field goal by Brandon McManus.

On a positive note, the Broncos totaled over 150 rushing yards, which is over 100 more rushing yards than they totaled in last week's win over the Oakland Raiders. Ronnie Hillman had 111 yards on 20 carries, good for a nice average of 5.6 yards per carry. Another positive was that Demaryius Thomas totaled over 100 yards receiving again for the first time since week two. Manning’s success going forward could depend largely on Thomas.

Defensively, the Broncos played above average, as usual. The team totaled four sacks and two interceptions. One of the interceptions was a pick-six by Aqib Talib, his second on the year and the team's fourth in six games.

The Browns had a decent game on the offensive side of the ball. Josh McCown finished with 213 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. They ran for 109 yards, split pretty equally between Duke Johnson, Robert Turbin and Isaiah Crowell. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin was the only real receiving threat, as usual, though it was tight end Gary Barnidge who scored both of their touchdowns.

Cleveland’s defense definitely played good enough to win this football game. As previously mentioned, they intercepted three of Manning’s passes, one of which was a touchdown return by linebacker Karlos Dansby. Also, their third interception came in overtime and it put the offense in a great situation to win the game, but they just couldn’t get the job done.

Looking ahead, the Broncos have a bye next week, sitting at 6-0. They should be happy because their record could easily be 3-3. Sure, defense might win championships, but this team might need a better offense if they have a Lombardi Trophy in their future plans.

Cleveland will travel on the road to take on the St Louis Rams in a game that they should win. Surprisingly, at this point in the season, the Browns aren’t in the basement of the AFC North. Many people thought this division could put three teams in the playoffs, but the Browns have been significantly better than the Baltimore Ravens at this point in the season. The gap could grow even bigger between the two teams, as the Ravens have to play the 4-2 Arizona Cardinals