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Denver Broncos must fix NFL's worst pass defense

Three weeks ago, we wondered if any team is capable of beating the high-flying Denver Broncos. We got our answer Sunday night when the Colts turned in a convincing 39-33 victory in Peyton Manning's Indianapolis homecoming.

The game-changing play was a safety by NFL sack leader Robert Mathis after which Manning's already subpar arm strength became a major liability. The Colts went on a 21-0 run while Manning launched a series of wounded ducks to the tune of 5-of-12 for 36 yards during a second- and third-quarter stretch.

Manning insisted after the game that his arm is fine. "I throw a lot of wobbly passes," Manning said. "I throw a lot of wobbly touchdowns, too."

Although he rebounded to generate two touchdowns and a field goal on his next three drives, any hopes of a Broncos comeback were dashed by yet another goal-line fumble from Ronnie Hillman.

The Broncos won't have to overcome two lost fumbles and a Manning interception every game, but the Colts did provide a blueprint for knocking off what was believe to be the NFL's most imposing team.

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NFL Replay
will re-air the Indianapolis Colts' 39-33 win over the Denver Broncos from Week 7 on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Mathis led a relentless Indy pass rush that hit Manning at least 10 times, producing four sacks and forced an interception.

More importantly, Andrew Luck took advantage of Denver's Achilles heel -- a defense that entered the game dead last in the NFL against the pass.

The returns of Von Miller and Champ Bailey were expected to transform the defense, but Miller tallied just two tackles and Bailey left the game after apparently re-injuring his foot.

While the Kansas City Chiefs are standing atop the AFC West as the NFL's last undefeated team, the Broncos are heading back to the drawing board to fix a defense that has surrendered an average of 35 points and 419 yards over the past three weeks.

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