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Old 11-28-2009, 02:45 AM   #1
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Default Denver Post : Broncos can't go cold in December

Broncos can't go cold in December


By Jim Armstrong
The Denver Post
Posted: 11/28/2009 01:00:00 AM MST



The next time the Broncos play a game, November will have given way to December. And you know what that means.

But if not, we'll let Brian Dawkins tell you. He knows all about December. Basically, it comes down to this: You can forget January football if you don't set the stage for it in December.

"This is crunch time," Dawkins said. "Whatever you need to have learned at the beginning of the season, learn it. This is when you need to be playing your best football."

Crunch time. Or crunched time, if recent history is any indication.

December hasn't been kind to the Broncos lately. Their famed draft class of 2006 has played 14 games in the month and won five. Last season was particularly painful as the Broncos finished 1-3 and allowed an average of 32.3 points a game. The final straw was a 52-21 loss at San Diego that cost Mike Shanahan his job.

This year, the Broncos want to make it a December to remember, one that launches them into the playoffs.

"We've just got to finish," said Elvis Dumervil, a 2006 fourth-rounder who has yet to taste the postseason. "That's what it's about. We've preached that all year."

The Broncos (7-4) snapped their four-game losing streak Thursday night against the Giants. Now comes the tough part proving they're worthy of the playoffs.

"It's a long road ahead," Brandon Stokley said. "We've got to keep working and keep improving. That's what good football teams do. Late November and December, that's the time to take that next step and continue to improve. You've got to get better every week."

Truth is, with December just over the dashboard, the Broncos are a tough read. At varying times, they've been dramatically improved, remarkably efficient and maddeningly inconsistent. What else do you call a team that opened the season with six consecutive victories, then followed it up with four consecutive losses?

"Adversity," said Dawkins, when asked what the Broncos had learned during their losing streak. "You come through adversity and you come out the other side of it. You can come out and learn from it or you can't come out. Sometimes you stay in it too long because you don't learn from it. We've learned from that, and that's over. Now this is a new season and we're moving forward."

Toward what ultimate fate? That's a tough call, given the Broncos' tale of two seasons. Add them both up and you have a team whose statistics suggest it's a half-notch above average. One that has outscored its opponents by seven points (196-189), outrushed them by 52 yards (1,262-1,210) and punted the same number of times (52).

Certainly, there's something to be said for being three games above .500 going into December. But that doesn't necessarily ensure a playoff appearance. The Broncos have been 7-4 eight times in franchise history, and have sniffed the postseason on only half of those occasions, including three out of six since the NFL expanded its wild-card format in 1990.

The last time the Broncos walked down this road at 7-4 was 2006, when they lost three of their last five to miss the playoffs.

Said wide receiver Brandon Marshall: "Back on March 17, when everybody got together, the first thing we said is we're going to play great ball in the beginning, but our season starts after Thanksgiving."



http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_13882581
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Old 11-28-2009, 03:35 AM   #2
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Let's continue the playoff push with a strong win in KC.
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:51 AM   #3
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A win at KC won't be easy. If we can get that we're in good shape. Indy is a b****, but I'm not ready to give up on that one.
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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Wow, hard to believe the season is this far gone already.
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlaK-Argentina View Post
A win at KC won't be easy. If we can get that we're in good shape. Indy is a b****, but I'm not ready to give up on that one.
Agree, Indy will be tough but Philly on the other hand I feel we have a better chance at winning.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Iron Clady View Post
Wow, hard to believe the season is this far gone already.
Agreed...It almost makes me sick...
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:08 PM   #7
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Let's take these SOB's out!!!!!!

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Agree, Indy will be tough but Philly on the other hand I feel we have a better chance at winning.
I don't think Philly is anything special at all. That game could end up being a Giants-like dominating win.
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:09 PM   #8
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Weird, the broncos need to play well at the end of the season? I wonder if any other team needs to implement that strategy as well?
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:15 PM   #9
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Weird, the broncos need to play well at the end of the season? I wonder if any other team needs to implement that strategy as well?
I was questioning the motive/duh factor of the artical as well.
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