Bears, Broncos getting TDs from everywhere

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2012 at 3:32 am •  Published: November 15, 2012
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — It's a big boost and a back-breaker rolled into one, the touchdown that comes while the offense is catching its breath on the sideline.

Nobody's been better at that lately than the Chicago Bears and the Denver Broncos.

"Touchdowns can come from anywhere," linebacker Von Miller said after the Broncos got TDs on a punt return and an interception last week, making things a whole lot easier for Peyton Manning and a Denver offense that was off its game in a 36-14 blowout win at Carolina.

Trindon Holliday's 76-yard punt return for a score — which came a week after his 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at Cincinnati — and Tony Carter's 40-yard interception return marked the 10th and 11th TDs from Denver's defense or special teams since 2011.

"I can't tell you what that does for the entire team, especially an offense," Manning said. "It can be deflating for the other side."

While the Broncos' 11 non-offensive TDs over the last season-and-a-half leads the AFC, their output pales in comparison to the Bears' 18 such scores over the last two seasons, including eight so far this year.

Those electrifying scores have propelled the Bears (7-2) to the top of the NFC North, a game behind Atlanta for the best record in the conference.

"I think with any team, you have a pick-6 or momentum changes on your kickoff return, it's just huge for your team in general," Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker said. "And the offense, it takes some pressure off you."

Unless they come in bunches like with the Bears, where it actually puts pressure on the offense to keep pace.

Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler said recently that the team needed to get off to better starts but added that with the way his defense is dominating, "I think we're going to be OK."

"At the end of the day, it's not the Bears defense making it to the playoffs and the offense not," added wide receiver Brandon Marshall. "You know, we're a team, so whether it's the special teams getting it done that week, or the offense or the defense, we're a team.

"But you have to give respect where it's due: Our defense is playing lights out. They're making it a lot easier for everyone in this building."

Although a TD on a punt or kickoff return or a fumble recovery, blocked punt or interception can fire up a team, NFL players tend to downplay the source of the score.

"Sometimes the media will divide a team into three different teams," Manning said. "Broncos offense, Broncos defense, Broncos special teams. And you write about them as if they are three separate teams, but it's actually the same team. So, the BRONCOS scored those touchdowns."

And he'll take them from anyone.

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