NFL: Broncos roll past Browns 34-12
Denver • They score, they defend, they win, they dominate. With each victory after victory after victory after victory the Broncos have developed into a team with no noticeable weakness, no drama, no serious issues, no real sweat of defeat.
The Broncos have just about all the qualities of an NFL powerhouse except variance.
All teams occasionally stumble against inferior opponents. The Broncos, though, were supposed to whip the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and they did, 34-12, before another sellout crowd at Sports Authority Field.
Yes, the Broncos have been tremendous. Tremendously boring in their repetition. "Boring for who?" said an aghast Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
"Be quiet," said Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, laughing at the thought. "Lose and it's boring. Win and it's boring. Never happy. I guess the only thing it's going to take is a ring."
The Broncos haven't lost since Oct. 7 at New England. During this 10-game streak, the Broncos have outscored their opponents 308-172.
To the teams they trounce, the Broncos are as maddeningly methodical as Manning. The veteran quarterback had another 300-plus-yard, three-TD game against the Browns as he continues on with one of the more stunning comebacks in NFL history.
"He has a great deal to do with it," Bailey said. "The first day he got here you knew what you were going to get from him. The only question about him was his neck. You see how that worked out."
Manning completed 30 of 43 passes against the Browns and has eight games of at least 300 yards and eight games of at least three TDs in his 15-game Broncos' career.
No team has played better in the past 21/2 months than the Broncos, a run that has gradually, steadily brought about an opportunity to become the conference's No. 1 seeded team entering the postseason. With Houston losing to Minnesota at home Sunday, the Broncos and Texans are tied for the AFC's best record at 12-3 with one regular season game remaining. The Texans hold the tiebreaker because they beat the Broncos earlier this season.
For the Broncos to capture the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs until the Super Bowl, they must beat the 2-13 Kansas City Chiefs next week and hope the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Texans.
"It'd be nice if they somehow won that game, but we have to keep our one-game-at-a-time mentality," tight end Joel Dreessen said. "We know if we win this one, we get a week off."