The Broncos are transitioning into a new offensive scheme under head coach Gary Kubiak this year, but there was a vintage quality to their game-tying drive in the fourth quarter.
Peyton Manning took every snap out of the shotgun and went without a huddle after completed passes on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders. There were other moments in the game when the Broncos utilized the same approach rather than sticking with snaps under center and Manning generally looked better in those instances.
Sanders told Deion Sanders of NFL Network after the game that it felt good revisiting the older approach.
“Honestly, that two minute drive he kind of turned into Peyton Manning. That’s the offense that we are used to, that no-huddle offense, slinging the ball around. It felt good to get back to that,” Sanders said. “That no-huddle offense is something beautiful. I know I love it, because I don’t have to go back to the huddle … I know Peyton likes it, too. We are going to keep trying critiquing this offense, keep getting better.”
The Broncos probably aren’t going to scrap Kubiak’s approach in the coming weeks and that should be for the best. While Manning was more effective out of the shotgun, he was hardly the same quarterback as in the past. His best success came on shorter throws over the middle, something that defenses can work to take away in the coming weeks so that Manning has to beat them on the longer throws he’s shown less of an ability to make through two weeks.
Countering that will take versatility on offense, even if figuring out the best way to be versatile remains a work in progress at this point in the season.