It wasn’t always smooth, but it was a win, 27-24 over Seattle – The Denver Post


Broncos’ players talked about it so often during the offseason, training camp and preseason, it was like they were trying to convince themselves of their ability to handle adversity.

After taking a punch like a long touchdown, freaky injury or missed call, they guaranteed a fight-back, not turn-their-back approach.

And after unforced errors in missed tackles, penalties and turnovers, they promised a bounce-back attitude.

The proof matched their words in Sunday’s 27-24 season opening home win over Seattle.

Quarterback Case Keenum threw three interceptions, but responded with three touchdowns.

Receiver Demaryius Thomas overcame a shaky beginning (a drop and a penalty) to catch the go-ahead touchdown pass with 11:11 remaining.

Rookie running back Royce Freeman gained only 34 yards on his first 11 attempts, but gained 37 yards on four rushes to help bleed down the clock in the late going.

And the defense gave up a 66-yard completion and a 51-yard touchdown, but closed the door over the final three possessions (punt, punt, interception), allowed only 64 yards rushing and had six sacks.

Maybe this Broncos team is different from the one that went 5-11 last year, like they have been saying since the first offseason practice May 21. Flawed? Absolutely, but every team is. And for one game, it appeared the Broncos can beat anybody so long as they smooth out their game.

“We definitely overcame (adversity),” inside linebacker Brandon Marshall said. “Nobody got down. We just kept working and playing regardless of the score. The fact we kept playing and came out with the win is a testament to our grit and never-say-die attitude.”

Coach Vance Joseph led off training camp in late July talking about fighting through adversity. It was also a theme of his speech to the team on Saturday night. The first game is like a rollercoaster. The starters are rusty because they haven’t played in two weeks. Nobody on either roster has played a full game so the conditioning is a factor. And the element of surprise always causes angst.

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