...And we're back after the bye week. Not a moment too soon, the Broncos beat a very good Pittsburgh team, and hopefully restored some of the magic back to Mile High last night. The NFL is littered with teams that start slowly and then go on a roll the last half of a season and a successful playoff run. Let's hope the Broncos use this to start their run.
Elam for Governor...
First Down: The Bye The Bye week was instrumental in the Broncos victory. How a team performs after a bye week, in my opinion, is the sign of a good coach. In the NFL a team that has 2 weeks to prepare for a team should always beat a team that only has one week to prepare.Last night was even preparation since PIT was coming off a bye week as well. Thanks to hoosierteacher for the correction The Broncos played well last night and it's a testament to Shanny's coaching skill that they played this well after a bye week.
Second Down: Offense Despite missing their best WR (Walker) the Broncos found a way to move the ball effectively against a good defense. The Broncs did what they do best, running the ball, and using running sets for roll-outs, screens, bootlegs and throws to TEs and fullbacks. Sprinkle in some dropbacks and shotguns to keep the Defense honest. Denver's line is set up to play this way, and I think they got away from this earlier in the season relying in a more typical offense too often.
Third Down: Cutler This is the most confident he has looked in the pocket all year. The misdirections and roll-outs kept the pressure off of him, and he actually stepped into his throws last night. (Regular readers of this weekly diary post will know that this is something I have been complaining/harping about all season).
Fourth Down: Defense When I heard Baily was out, I thought the worst. He and Bly have EASILY been the D's most consistent and best players all season. Last night though the defense stepped up. Dumerville is a really great little pass-rusher. He wreaked havoc on Pittsburgh's O-line all evening. DJ Williams finally looked comfortable in that MLB position for the first time all season.
There's still some work to do. We still can't cover RBs and TEs in pass-D, and the Rush defense still looked rather pedestrian (which is PC for pathetic) at times. Overall a much improved effort.