The tough question for Denver opponents going forward is how they will adjust to Decker's revival. It's a stretch to say he was in a slump -- he is well on his way to another 1,000-yard season -- but it's also apparent that defenses had found ways to effectively attack the Broncos offense in recent weeks. The Patriots knocked the ball out and tackled well. The Colts beat up the Denver receivers and pressured Manning all day. The Chiefs also slowed the Broncos before Denver pulled away in a 27-17 win on Nov. 17.
Decker's performance makes it impossible to think more teams will be able to control this attack going forward. The more Decker went off, the more other weapons sprang up in the Broncos' offense. Thomas shook off his bum shoulder to break free for a 77-yard catch. Rookie running back Montee Ball rambled for 117 on 13 carries. Let's also not forget that another runner, Knowshon Moreno, is having the best season of his four-year career, even if he didn't do much Sunday.
This is important to note because the Broncos are looking very much like a team that will have to ride that offense as far as it can go. Their defense is battered and bruised, with three starters out for Sunday's game and cornerback Champ Bailey still hobbled by a lingering foot injury.
"This win is huge," Decker said. "We knew coming in that this game was for control of our division. When you get to the end of the season, winning your division is huge -- setting yourself up and taking care of business. We have four weeks left and a lot can happen."
What isn't likely to happen is the Broncos giving up the division lead Decker just helped them snare. Most people who follow the AFC West knew this division would be decided by the two games Denver just played against Kansas City over the past three weeks. The first contest told us that the Chiefs weren't ready to deal with the Broncos in Denver. The second one reminded us that the Broncos, now 10-2, have another gear they can reach when they really want to showcase their high-octane attack.
Right now, that gear happens to be a fourth-year receiver who was getting lost in the mix of an offense brimming with talent. Given the way he performed, Decker isn't likely to disappear for such a long stretch in the coming weeks. The Broncos are reaching the point in the season where they need all their weapons focused and at full strength. And Decker just proved that teams better not forget what he can do when his time to shine arrives.