Things got a little dicey in the second half, but all in all, it was a good season-opener for the Denver Broncos, who beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-24, at Mile High on Sunday night.
“Anytime you get a win, of course it’s a great thing,” Broncos safety Quinton Carter said on The MoJo Show. “It’s great to open the season like that against a great team. Give them all the credit in the world. They played a great game. Just looking at the film, there’s a lot of things we can clean up and plays we left on the field. We just got to get better.”
The Broncos were as good as can be for much of the first half, racing out to a 24-0 lead. The Colts cut the deficit to 31-24 with 3:26 remaining in the fourth quarter but got no closer. Carter finished with seven tackles, while linebacker Brandon Marshall finished with a game-high 10.
Denver welcomed several offseason additions to its defense, including DeMarcus Ware, who finished with 1.5 sacks, T.J. Ward, who finished with three tackles, and Aqib Talib, who finished with four tackles and three passes defended.
“I think it’s coming along well,” Carter said of the new-look defense. “We work good as a team. We’re good with each other on and off the field. That just builds the trust and the communication aspect. We’ll just get better. That was the first game of the season and we’ll just continue to get better each week.”
While Ware, Talib, Ward and Von Miller, among others, are widely respected throughout the NFL, Carter said Denver’s defense doesn’t rely on any one player to lead.
“I think we rally around everyone,” he said. “Of course, we have captains and everything, but I think to have a good team or a great team, everyone has to be a leader. I think that’s what we have. Everybody feeds off each other.”
Part of that is a byproduct of defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s upfront style.
“I think he’s a great coach,” Carter said. “Of course, his winning speaks for itself and all the great players he coached speaks for itself. No. 1, he keeps it real. He’s never going to sugarcoat anything, and that’s what you need in a coach.”
Carter, 26, is in his fourth season with Denver. The Las Vegas native and Oklahoma product has adjusted well to life in the NFL.
“I prepare like a professional and treat it like it’s my job even though I love the game and get those same feelings (that I had) as a kid,” Carter said. “I’m very comfortable with it.”
Of course, having Peyton Manning as a teammate can make any player comfortable – even on defense.
“As you can see, since he’s come over, the tide has shifted,” Carter said. “We’ve become a winning team. I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Everyone knows what comes with Peyton. The energy and the level of play you have to bring when you play with him – even in practice, it’s a competition. We’re there to get better every day. If you slack against someone like him, he’s going to embarrass you.”