By Sam Adams

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Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway made a living by creating fourth-quarter magic while playing for the Denver Broncos. Now the Super Bowl winning quarterback-turned-Super Bowl winning general manager has constructed a championship defense that has become fourth-quarter heartbreakers, if not backbreakers, for opposing offenses.
Starting with the 2015 season-opener against the Baltimore Ravens, playoff games included, the Broncos’ defense has forced 16 fourth-quarter turnovers. Four of the 16 turnovers have been cashed in for touchdowns — including two inSunday’s 34-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

When linebacker Von Miller rammed his $114.5 million body into the Colts’ $140 million quarterback Andrew Luck, the collision and football strip resulted in a fumble that linebacker Shane Ray scooped up and ran in for a touchdown. Earlier in the quarter cornerback Aqib Talib’s pick-six helped the Broncos take a 23-13 lead.


DeMarcus Ware TV star

In their past 21 games (including playoffs) the Broncos have gone 12-1 when the defense forces a fourth-quarter turnover, versus 3-3 when teams did not commit a fourth-quarter turnover. Not to be overlooked from last year are a fourth-quarter muffed punt recovery by the Broncos’ special teams against New England during the regular season, and DeMarcus Ware’s forced fumble during overtime in a win over Cincinnati.

STRAIGHT FROM THE BARTENDER’S SHOT GLASS: The Colts haven’t had much luck with Luck at quarterback lately. They’ve been losers in eight of Luck’s past 10 starts dating back to the 2014 AFC Championship Game, a 45-7 loss at New England. Luck’s also missed nine games due to injury … Jacksonville hardly is “Jackson Place” for Jaguars defensive lineman Malik Jackson. Here’s his early-season stat line: Six years, $90 million, $42 million guaranteed, two games, one tackle, one assist, zero sacks. I know. It’s still early … The Seattle Seahawks’ offense rests in “Least Mode” without a mean, hard-charging, tackle-breaking boss like Marshawn Lynch in the backfield to intimidate a defense … After injuries to Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown in the first two weeks, the Cleveland Browns have signed QB Charlie Whitehurst to pair with Cody Kessler. I don’t think it’s too late for the Browns to wave a white flag on the 2016 season. It is way too early to consider signing Tim Tebow. In this space, it’s always too early to sign Tebow to play again in the NFL … If I were Elway, I’d be rich, famous and hated in Cleveland. And I’d still call the Browns, to work a deal for tight end Gary Barnidge. The Broncos’ offense has been anemic in the red zone ever since Julius Thomas left town … Yeah, I was the dip who recommended Bengals WR A.J. Green as a good Fantasy Football point-scorer last week against Pittsburgh’s unimpressive secondary. QB Andy Dalton completed 31-of-56 passes. Two were caught by Green for 34 yards. Your lesson learned. I’ve been wrong at least once in my life . . .


Dak Prescott flying high

Sunday’s Colts-Broncos game marked the 22nd straight meeting between the two teams with a least one of them fielding a former No. 1 overall pick starting at quarterback — Luck, Elway and Peyton Manning … If the Colts can let go of Manning, then the Cowboys ought to man up, say so long to Tony Romo and let Dak Prescott live and learn on the job. Say it again with feeling: two career playoff wins for Romo. Hey, he could be the Browns’ QB next season … Excuse Bronco Fan for catching Super Bowl Fever in September. A win at Cincinnati this Sunday would give the Broncos their 14th 3-0 start in franchise history. In the previous 13, the Broncos have made the playoffs nine times and gone to the Super Bowl seven times. Only once (1970) did the team start 3-0 and fail to finish .500 or better … I believe college and pro football could do me a favor by changing the rules, so that a player has to have his entire body in the end zone to score a touchdown. None of that ‘stick the ball over the goal line’ or ‘touch the pylon with the ball’ stuff. You know, the ‘IN’ zone Maybe it’ll cut out some of the embarrassing pre-celebration, behind-the-back, no-look goal-line ball drops like we saw last weekend. And while they’re at it, get rid of pass interference. Receivers are flopping like soccer and basketball players … My Funky NFL Picks this week are: Patriots, Bills, Raiders, Giants, Dolphins, Ravens, Packers, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, Steelers, Seahawks, Chiefs, Cowboys, Falcons and, yes, Chargers over Colts. Feels like there’s trouble brewin’ in Indy.


CHASER: How much longer before that $75 million ‘Josh Norman makes Washington a legit championship contender’ contract clause kicks in?


(Sam Adams has been an outstanding professional journalist, author and touring comedian for 25 years. He will contribute a regular column to “In 1991, when I worked full-time as an insurance office clerk and part-time as a stringer for The Denver Post, Woody Paige gave me two pieces of advice. One, he said ‘I like what you’re doing kid, but don’t quit your day job.’ Two, he wrote on a piece of  paper ‘Define the goal. Decide what’s important.’ I quit my day job shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Woody. A year later he hired me at The Post. In 2016 my resume includes jobs covering sports for The Post, the Rocky Mountain News and the Charlotte Observer. I don’t have a day job any more. Currently I’m a professional stand-up comedian who wishes he had played in the NFL. Surely I’d have a national TV gig by now.”