Denver Broncos Clinch Home Field Advantage Throughout Playoffs


Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) gives a thumbs up to cheering fans against the Houston Texans during the second half at Reliant Stadium. The Broncos won 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

How about that Denver Bronco defense? The Broncos would hold the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon to just 14 points behind Peyton Manning‘s record-breaking day, but both scores came against the back-ups in the second half. Denver earned the win 31-14 to improve to 13-3 on the regular season.

The Denver Broncos defense looked very well on the first drive for the Oakland Raiders. They didn’t let Terrelle Pryor and company get their running game going, stuffing them for a three-and-out. Denver would capitalize on their first drive of the game as Peyton Manning connected with wide receiver Eric Decker for a 3-yard touchdown for his 52nd touchdown pass of the season, (take that Wade Phillips). Manning would go 8/9 on the first drive, passing for 70 yards as the drive consisted of 12 plays for 71 yards in 5:54.

Oakland would fumble on their ensuing possession as rookie defensive tackle Sylvester Williams recovered the fumble setting up the Denver offensive with excellent field position. Peyton Manning would connect with Knowshon Moreno on a 7-yard touchdown pass, giving him 53 passing touchdowns on the season and counting, as Denver took the 14-0 early in the first quarter. Nate Irving, who is taking Von Miller‘s spot on the defense due to injury, recording a sack on Oakland’s third-drive, a loss of 8 yards as Oakland was forced to put yet again.

Matt Prater would knock down a 34-yard field goal off of an 11-play, 49 yard drive putting Denver up 17-0 in the second quarter. Denver would get the ball back and Peyton Manning would throw the deep ball to Demaryius Thomas for 63-yards, bringing him within 70 yards of Dree Brees single-season passing record, pushing the lead to 24-0. On that drive the Denver Broncos would set the NFL record for most points in a season. Denver would get the ball back as Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas yet again. This time however, Manning broke Drew Brees single-season record with exactly 266 passing yards. The Broncos would take the 31-0 lead at the half as Peyton finished with 25-of-28 passing, for 266 yards and four touchdowns.

Denver would account for 21 first-downs in the first half while the Raiders only collected 4. The total yardage was a complete blowout; Denver accounted for 315 total yards while Oakland only managed to scrape out 55 yards.

Brock Osweiler would take over under center for the Denver Broncos in the second half as Peyton Manning would take the rest of the day off with the 31-0 lead. The Broncos would be forced to punt on Osweiler’s first series and on the punt from Britton Colquitt would be blocked, setting Oakland up with good field position. Sebastian Janikowski would miss the 42-yard field goal keeping Oakland off the board.

Pro-Bowler Matt Prater would knock down another field goal, this one a 54-yard field goal with 6:36 remaining in the game that bounced off of the right post and in, putting Denver ahead 34-0. The Oakland Raiders would put an end to the shutout by Denver, as Terrelle Pryor connected with Rod Streater on a 14-yard touchdown pass as Denver led 34-7. Oakland would strike one last time under a minute to go as Pryor found former Colorado Buff Nick Kasa in the end zone as Denver took the win 34-14.

The Denver Broncos finish off the regular season with a 13-3 record and will have a first-round bye in the playoffs with home field advantage throughout. Denver will face the winner of the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs unless the San Diego Chargers defeat the Cincinnati Bengals.