(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Following their seventh consecutive victory, a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay, the Denver Broncos have clinched an AFC West title for a second consecutive season.
The win over the Buccaneers was highlighted by defensive tackle Mitch Unrein and outside linebacker Von Miller, who accounted for two combined scores on the afternoon.
Early in the first quarter, Unrein lined up at fullback and caught a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning, marking Denver’s first score of the game. Careful to not neglect his day job on the defensive line, Unrein would later record a tackle and force a QB hurry that resulted in an interception.
Fox is the 3rd coach since ’70 to take over a team with a losing record and lead it to consecutive division titles. #Broncos
— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) December 3, 2012
That interception was recorded by Miller, who returned it for a score in the third quarter. Miller finished the day with a team-high six tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and an interception.
On offense, Manning went 27-of-38 for 242 yards and three touchdowns while passing John Elway for the most touchdown passes in a single season in franchise history (29). Manning’s go-to-guy was Demaryius Thomas, who caught eight passes for 99 yards and a pair of scores.
The Broncos (9-3) will travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders in Week 14 on Thursday Night Football. Manning has a 93.3 career passer rating against the Raiders and has helped the Broncos go undefeated in division play this season.
The Buccaneers had a lead at halftime and mounted a mini-comeback near the end of the game, but Denver’s 21 third quarter points proved too much for Tampa Bay to overcome. It feels great to earn another victory. Who gets your Game Ball this week?