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Kubiak: We're struggling because we didn't catch ball

Peyton Manning played one of his better games of the season against the Steelers last weekend and propelled the Broncos into yet another conference title shot.

But Denver head coach Gary Kubiak thinks Manning's game was even better than most. He tossed 16 incompletions, but seven of those were registered drops. That made all the difference.

"We were struggling because we didn't catch the ball," Kubiak said, via The Denver Post. "We would have had a really big first half."

"The wind was a factor, the ball was moving around, it was tough," Kubiak added. "Our guys, I know we wouldn't use that as an excuse, we've got to come back and make those plays this week."

One ESPN review suggested the Broncos dropped 31 passes on the year, and that 17 of those were registered to Demaryius Thomas alone. Pro Football Focus has Thomas at a more modest 12, six behind leader Amari Cooper.

So it goes for the Broncos, who find themselves at a fascinating intersection. On one hand, there are the interests and efforts of Manning, who could very well be playing his final season under center. Then, there is the team around him. Are the Broncos playing better with Manning? What caused the drops this weekend, and what has caused them throughout the year?

Kubiak has been around long enough to know how Manning operates and why he plays his best when he does. So his comments on drops may have been just that. Or it could have been a message to everyone else on offense.

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