Come on, Colorado winter. Bring on the dropping temperatures and drop down the snow. The Broncos are ready for tough outdoor conditions, where the manliest of football men run the ball and Peyton Manning can save his arm.

On a day when former coach Mike Shanahan had thoughts of converting a nice tribute into a stunning upset, the Broncos overcome a two touchdown deficit and a rare error-filled game by Manning to defeat Washington, 45-21, on a warm late-October afternoon at Sports Authority Field.

It was the Broncos' running backs and a resurgent defense — staples of cold-weather football — who led the comeback. Running back Knowshon Moreno had 133 total yards including a go-ahead 35-yard touchdown off a screen pass. Second-round rookie Montee Ball moved from the doghouse of lost fumbles to a pile-driving touchdown that set the comeback in gear. Undrafted rookie C.J. Anderson showed enough promise in his NFL debut to warrant more carries in the power running game as the weather turns in the second half of the season.

Stop worrying about the Broncos. They reached the season's halfway point with a bye week and a 7-1 record.

For the season's second half, the Broncos know Manning, at his worst, is still better than most any other NFL quarterback. He threw a season-most three interceptions, and lost a fumble that led to a score, yet he also passed for four touchdowns and 354 yards.

Perhaps more importantly, the Broncos believe they can give Manning a new best friend. His name is a running game.