BRONCOS

Just like a decade ago, tonight is a tipping point game for the Broncos

Oct 17, 2022, 6:31 AM
Russell Wilson...
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

For months, those wanting to temper expectations in Broncos Country have been using Peyton Manning’s first season in Denver as an example of why patience would be necessary during Russell Wilson’s inaugural campaign in the Mile High City. While there are a lot of flaws with that comparison, the current situation is eerily familiar.

Back in 2012, the Broncos were also 2-3. They were on the road to play the Chargers. And the game was on “Monday Night Football.”

Here we go again.

A decade ago, the Broncos rallied from a 24-0 halftime deficit to win 35-24. It was an incredible comeback, one that jumpstarted a season that was threatening to careen off course. Instead, the win became the first of 11 straight, as Denver went on to finish 13-3.

That game was a tipping point. Had they lost, who knows what would’ve happened that season? The entire Manning era might have played out differently.

Tonight is exactly the same type of game. It’s one that will swing the season.

If the Broncos win, especially while getting their offense on track, they could rattle off a few consecutive victories. They could still be a factor in the AFC playoff chase. Heck, they’ll only be a game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.

But if Denver loses, particularly while still looking out of sorts, things could go awry quickly. The criticism of Wilson will intensify. Nathaniel Hackett’s seat will get hotter.

A 3-3 mark heading into a home game against the Jets and a trip to play the Jaguars in London makes 5-3 at the bye doable. Conversely, a 2-4 record feels like 2-6 with more bad losses is on the horizon.

The season is salvageable, but the Broncos are running out of time. It has to happen tonight, just like it did 10 years ago.

That night, the Broncos heroes were Manning, Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Stokley on offense. Denver also picked up two defensive touchdowns, with Tony Carter getting a scoop-and-score and Chris Harris Jr. adding a late pick-six.

Tonight, it needs to be Wilson. A big play from Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton would also help. And on defense, Patrick Surtain and Justin Simmons are stars who need to come up huge on the primetime stage.

The reasons for the 2-3 starts heading into Monday night games against the Chargers might be different, but the result could be the same. The Broncos saved their season with a Week 6 win in 2012 and they can do it again tonight.

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Just like a decade ago, tonight is a tipping point game for the Broncos