Forget about points for a second – the Colts obviously held a slight advantage over the Broncos in that category Sunday night. Denver was at a supreme disadvantage from another perspective for nearly the entire game.
They lost the game, they were dominated in the battle over controlling field position.
“That was one, among others, a couple of plays where we gave them some points or some field position,” quarterback Peyton Manning said of Robert Mathis’ sack and forced fumble that was ruled a safety and subsequently gave the ball back to the Colts. Indianapolis went on to score the next possession and begin an unfortunate trend for the Broncos.
“And ultimately it was too tough to overcome,” he continued.
From that point on Denver would start with the ball outside their own 20-yard line only twice the remainder of the game, of 12 possessions. And not so surprisingly they would score on each.
Call it a miscalculation or overall inefficiency of the offense to stay on the field but they were never able to flip the field. Of the 17 total times the Broncos received the ball – on a kickoff, punt or turnover – staggeringly only five possessions came beyond the 20-yard line. In comparison, 13 of the Colts 18 possessions started further along than that.
Manning wasn’t able to lead long scoring drives – a tough prospective in and of itself, but what was much worse was that he couldn’t move the offense sufficiently enough to switch field positioning to favor the Broncos.