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From a bizarre tipped pass that turned their first loss into a win to Brandon Marshall’s one-on-five catch and run against the Cowboys to Sunday’s gutsy victory over the Patriots, the Broncos are building a resume of confidence and close wins. Worse yet (from the San Diego perspective), they are doing so with a team that clearly has talent on both sides of the football. Their young coach is fist-pumping for the camera, and his attempt to dress like/look like/be like Bill Belichick is almost sick/fascinating, but you’ve got to give him credit. Josh McDaniels, so far, has the Broncos playing great football.
Of greatconcern (from a San Diego perspective) is what’s happening on offense in Denver. Kyle Orton’s found a groove and is developing chemistry with receivers Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. On Sunday, Royal, who had been largely absent from the first four games, re-emerged as a reliable possession receiver, catching 10 passes. Knowshon Moreno is running with burst and catching passes out of the backfield.
The Broncos get a bye after the Monday night game then travel to Baltimore, play Pittsburgh at home, then go back on the road to Washington before the return date with the Chargers. If San Diego beats Denver on Monday night, the Chargers could realistically hope to see the Broncos with three losses by the time the two teams meet again. If they lose, the Chargers would be 3 1/2 back with the Broncos getting San Diego on their snowy home turf next time around.
As the season has played out so far, the Chargers schedule has gotten easier. After Week 11, the toughest remaining games are on the road against the Cowboys and at home against the Bengals. I could easily see San Diego sitting at 5-5 after Week 11, then running the table again to get to 11-5. The problem is, this year the stumbling start won’t get rewarded in the division. If the Chargers miss their chance to corral Denver on Monday night, those wild horses might get so far out in front that this time, they won’t be caught from behind.