A weekly examination of the Broncos’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 3 | Last week: 1 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
It took seven games, a pile of staggering offensive numbers and one bad week, but the Broncos are right back where they started in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings. With their 39-33 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night in Lucas Oil Stadium, the Broncos fell out of the top spot, to No. 3.
The game marked quarterback Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis, complete with a pregame tribute, and linebacker Von Miller’s return to the Broncos' lineup after a six-game suspension. Neither worked out quite as the Broncos had hoped, with Manning looking unsettled at times against an aggressive Colts defense that consistently flustered the Broncos wide receivers and forced a Manning fumble as well as an interception.
Miller, too, looked sluggish and rusty at times in his return to the lineup -- he finished with two tackles and did not have a sack. And the extra 10 to 15 pounds he said he added during his time out of the lineup didn’t appear, at least in his first game back, to have helped him. He was not as explosive as he’s been, or as the Broncos need him to be moving forward.
The Broncos face the Redskins on Sunday before a much-needed bye week. They have yet to field their full starting defense because of injuries -- to cornerback Champ Bailey (left foot) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck) of late -- and Miller’s suspension.
“I’m a believer in you get better every week, hopefully, you’re learning all the time, regardless of game outcomes,’’ Broncos coach John Fox said. “Not too many teams go through these seasons unscathed. I think it’s only been done once in 35 years. ... I expect us to learn just like all mistakes -- you admit them, you’ve got to fix them and do your best not to let them happen again.’’