Denver’s defense did it again. They carried a struggling Broncos offense for long enough to beat the Cleveland Browns 26-23 in overtime in one of the craziest games of the season.

1. The Broncos have two opponents every week: The guys in the other uniform, and the Broncos‘ offense. And they still remain undefeated. The Broncos‘ defense overcame injuries, three Peyton Manning interceptions, and terrible field position on a day the Browns‘ defense did more than enough to win.

Broncos linebacker Shaquil Barrett, starting in place of DeMarcus Ware, has been a revelation; Aqib Talib‘s pick six and sticky coverage typified the Broncos‘ secondary; and Denver’s intense pressure on Josh McCown forced mistakes and saved Denver once again.

2. This was Manning’s worst game of the season despite hitting some throws downfield. He was picked off three times, with two being mental errors. He’s telegraphing passes and defenders are sitting on the short stuff. Manning ended 27 straight drives without an offensive touchdown on a great throw to Emmanuel Sanders, but he wasted that play with only one first down and an ugly overtime interception in the next four drives. Feel free to mock anyone this week who says Manning is “doing enough to win.” 


3. This was the full Josh McCown Experience and it was mostly ugly. He randomly put together two touchdown drives full of contested catches, but the game was mostly filled with three-and-outs and off-target throws. The Browns were past midfield with under a minute left and he throw one of the worst picks of the year under pressure. He said he was trying to throw the ball out of bounds, but it didn’t get there. The Browns were given the ball nearly in field goal range early in overtime, and the offense moved 18 yards backwards after McCown took two sacks.

4. This time, Manning supporters can’t blame the offensive line or the running game. Ronnie Hillman was great throughout the game with 111 yards. He’s the clear featured back. C.J. Anderson took over primarily in overtime, with Manning only needing to throw four passes in the game-winning 13-play drive. Manning deserves credit for a perfect pass to Owen Daniels on third down to kick-start the drive.

5. Emmanuel Sanders left the game in overtime after hurting his shoulder late in regulation. He had an eventful game with a long score and another moment where he openly got angry at Manning for a third-down misfire.

6. It was interesting to see the Browns repeatedly hand the ball to Robert Turbin late in regulation on their biggest drive of the season. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson couldn’t get much going most of the game, with the three runners splitting time equally.

7. The Broncos lost first round pick Shane Ray to an MCL sprain that will keep him out four to six weeks, but he will have an MRI to be sure, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. In his absence, Barrett helped carry a Broncos pass rush that relied more on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ blitzes. Barrett had three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Guys like Barrett, safety Darian Stewart, and Malik Jackson have been making plays all season.

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