The Broncos and Manning were monstered from the first snap and ultimately capitulated to lose the game 43-8 in a very lopsided affair.
Many wondered if the number 18 would retire knowing that may well have been his best chance to win another championship, or if he were to play on this season, whether he would reach the mountain top again.
By Eliot Bingham – @EliotBingham
The fact is with their roster overhaul and improved play this year, the Broncos are primed to win the AFC conference and advance to a second straight Super Bowl.
General manager of football operations and Denver quarterback great John Elway made it his mission in the offseason to improve the personnel on both offense and defense.
Peyton Manning joins Brett Favre as the only QBs to beat all 32 NFL teams after a 31-24 Broncos win vs the Colts pic.twitter.com/werrStwWHC
— 120 Sports (@120Sports) September 8, 2014
Their defense was the biggest issue as was evident in the Super Bowl and in particular a 51-48 week 5 win over the Dallas Cowboys last season.
The Broncos defense ranked 22nd in the league for points per game allowed with 24.9 and their 356 yards per game saw them 14th worst.
Among Elway’s acquisitions over the offseason were two standout defensive performers and Pro Bowlers in New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib and Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
Both were proven veterans who could add leadership and get the Denver defense firing to match its powerful offense.
Both Talib and Ware did not come cheap and were signed to hefty contracts of six years, $57 million which includes $26 million in guaranteed money and three years, $30 million including $20 million in guaranteed money respectively.
Elway didn’t stop there and singled out Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward and signed him to a four-year, $23 million contract with $14 million guaranteed.
Throw in a healthy Von Miller, Rahim Moore and Chris Harris and Denver suddenly has a potent defensive set up capable of matching it with the likes of Seattle and the 49ers.
Their defense has a new look but so does their offense as they have welcomed Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the mix as well as promoting 2013 rookie running back Montee Ball and gaining Ryan Clady back from a season-ending Lisfranc injury.
And then there’s Peyton Manning. The five-time NFL MVP and 13-time Pro Bowler coming off a 2013 in which he threw for an NFL record 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards.
He is like a fine wine that just get’s better with age. At 38-years-old however one would wonder how long one of the game’s best ever players has left. It would seem this year could be the perfect scenario for Manning to add Super Bowl ring number two.
The Broncos schedule is favourable with two meetings this season against the lowly Oakland Raiders and winnable games against the Cardinals, Jets, Rams, Dolphins, Chiefs, Bills and Bengals.
Matches against Seahawks, 49ers, Patriots and Chargers could spell trouble for Denver but will test their championship credentials and the Patriots really remain the biggest threat in the AFC.
The Broncos sit 2-0 after the first two weeks of the season and have a trip to Seattle tonight to test their muscle against the team that pulverised them in the Super Bowl.
If they can overcome the Seahawks, who are coming off a shock loss to the Chargers last week, and their thunderous 12th man, then the Broncos will have all the confidence they can make it back to the playoffs and hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy.