A Final Look At Week 1 -- Closing The Book On Buffalo

Tuesday is traditionally an off day for players around the NFL, but not those of us here at the MHR.  We'll use Tuesday to take one last look at the week that was before shifting full focus into the game at hand, which this week means that team in charcoal and gray.

One thing we'll do each week is have some fun with numbers in regards to the Broncos.  It's always fun to twist stats and bring up some little known statistical facts about the Broncos...  Enjoy!!!

Interesting Notes From The Buffalo Game --

TEAM

--Sunday's game marked the second time in team history the Broncos had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard receiver and a 100-yard rusher in a season-opening game (Cutler-304, Walker-119, Henry-139). The only previous occasion was Monday, Sept. 10, 2001 when Brian Griese (330), Rod Smith (115) and Terrell Davis (101) reached those marks in a season-opening win over the New York Giants, in the first game at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Jay Cutler

--First career game-winning drive engineered in the fourth quarter (12 plays, 53 yds., 2:13), culminating in Jason Elam's 42-yd. field goal as time expired.

--On the game-winning drive Cutler was 5-6 for 54 yds., including 3-3 for 43 yds. on third down. He also earned three first downs, one rushing and two passing.

--Third time in just six career starts Jay Cutler has driven his team for either the game-tying or game-winning points in the final 3 minutes of a game:  (12/3/06 vs. Seattle: 1 play, 71 yds....71-yd. TD pass to Marshall with 2:37 remaining to tie game at 20. Denver lost in regulation on a field goal; 12/31/06 vs. San Fran.: 10 plays, 80 yds....9-yd. TD pass to Scheffler with 1:30    remaining to tie game at 23. Denver lost in overtime on a field goal; 9/9/07 at Buffalo: 12 plays, 53 yds....42-yd. FG by Elam as time expired for a 15-14 win)

Jason Elam

--8th career walk-off field goal made (5 in overtime, 3 in regulation).

--17th career game-winning field goal made in the fourth quarter or overtime.

--13th career game-winning field goal made in the final two minutes of a game or in overtime.

Javon Walker

--Caught 9 passes for 119 yds.

--10th career 100-yd. receiving game in the regular season (12th including postseason)

--4th 100-yd. game as a Bronco

--On the game-winning drive Walker caught four passes for 51 yds., each on either 3rd or 4th down (3rd down: 3-43 / 4th down: 1-8).

--His final three catches came after he briefly left the game with 1:31 remaining because he had taken a hard hit to the head on his first catch.

Travis Henry

--With 139 yds. on 23 carries Henry logged his 20th career 100-yd. game.

--Third Bronco in history to rush for more than 100 yds. in his first game as a Bronco, and the first since Gaston Green rushed for 116 yds. vs. Cincinnati on Sept. 1, 1991.

--His effort marked the ninth time a Bronco has rushed for 100 or more yds. in Week 1

       

I prefer to let the fine readers of the MHR provide their take on the game before I give mine just to get a feeling of the pulse of the fans.  I also like to re-watch the game, look a bit deeper, and really get a sense of where I think this team is.  Here are my takes on Week 1 --

  1.  People often ask me why I decided to do this, and why I do MHR Radio each week.  It's simple.  I got so sick and tired of Main Stream Media garbage like THIS.  And this article wasn't the only one aking light of the Broncos' win.  Was it ugly?  Sure, but all that matters in the National Football League is putting that number in the column on the left, not the column on the right.  Teams play 6.25% of their schedule every week so making the most of each one is obviously imperative.  I'm not out to gain style points, I don't care what Keyshawn Johnson thinks, or Bill Cowher, or Sean Salisbury.  All that matters is the W.  Way too often, in an attempt to stir the pot and sell papers, the guy and gals lucky enough to cover this team on a weekly basis maintain a negative stance regarding the team.  We know there are still things the Broncos have to work on, but for God's sake we won the game!  Stop with the negativity.  I started the MHR to gives fans a place to get away from all the negativity, to find a haven for positive Broncos fans.  The atricle referenced above is a prime example of what I am trying to avoid.
  2.  OhNoKoolaid did a great job of talking about the Special Teams and some of their struggles.  The Broncos struggle on special teams because many of their mid-round draft picks of the past several years have been busts, areas of the draft a team will build depth and bolter their ST units.  Look at how many Undrafted FA's are on the roster playing special teams.  That said, the Bills are probably the best in football on Special Teams and it showed.  Terrence McGhee is one of the best kick-off return men in the game and we all saw what Roscoe Parrish can do.  
In the end, however, it came down to a miscue by the Bills punt coverage team and the perfect play of the Broncos field goal team to help determine the outcome.  The Broncos Special Teams are still a work in progress, with progress being the key term, and it is being made.
  1.  I had best shave my head now becuase Jay Cutler will having me pull each and every one of them out before the season is over.  Cutler was absolutely brilliant at times, and a complete bafoon at others....just like all the great QBs.  Go back to Bradshaw's early days, or Elway, or Favre.  Even Peyton Manning struggled big time his rookie year.  Such is life with a young quarterback, but as long as the highs are higher and longer lasting than the lows I am all in.  Cutler has the certain something, that magic.  He is completely unafraid to fail and plays as such and to be great you HAVE to play that way.  Cutler has now started 6 games, is 3-3 in those starts, and now 2-1 on the road.  While it is important to play well at home, John Elway became a legend on teh road, and if Cutler continues to win away from home he won't be far behind.
  2.  Travis Henry can lull you to sleep, only to end up with a huge day.  While some of Henry's numbers were slanted a bit by a couple big runs, that is the style of back Henry is.  He is going to keep coming, and keep coming and keep coming until he beats you.  Sure, he may run for 3 yards, 2 yards, 3 yards, 1 yards, before running for 15 yards, 9 yards and 11 yards.  That is how Henry runs and fits the Broncos scheme perfectly.  He was getting stronger as the game went on, and his play catching the ball out of the backfield was a pleasant surprise as well.  1500 yards seems to be a perfect number for Henry this season.
  3.  I was very surprised how afraid the Bills looked to be of throwing towards Dre Bly and Champ Bailey.  In an obvious attempt to protect J.P. Losman, the Bills game plan was to get a lead and sit on it.  Just take a look at their offensive possessions after the Marshawn Lynch TD made the score 14-6 with 6:24 to go in the 3rd quarter -- 3 possessions, 12 plays(7 runs, 5 passes), 26 yards + 15 penalty yards -- only 2 of those passes were really attempted forward, and Losman only completed 2 of them.  Of course, I give alot of the credit to getting back into the game to the Broncos defense.  Only once did the Bills get a first down, and the Bills gained just 7 yards rushing the final 20 minutes of the game.  If the Broncos can play that type of defense - which included an excellent job on third down(3/11) - we are going to win, or be right in, alot of football games this year.
Player(s) Of The Game --

Jay Cutler, Javon Walker, Travis Henry -- With a big assist of the O-Line, the Broncos "Big 3" really dominated when they had to and had huge days.  I expect these three to only get better as the season goes on, and while the Broncos certainly left alot of points on the field, it was nice to see the Broncos offense look more like the Broncos of old and less like a Div III college team.

Big Disappointment Of The Game --

Ian Gold -- Coming off a mediocre 2006, I was expecting big things form Gold, especially with the loss of Al Wilson.  Maybe it was just blind faith.  Gold looked plain bad on Sunday, amassing 1 tackle while missing several plays.  Twice Marshawn Lynch made Gold miss badly, and in Bates' defense the Linebackers have to make plays and be sure tacklers.  Gold's lock on the Weakside Linebacker spot has to be tenuous at best and he needs to step up big time in Week 2.

Speaking of tackling, the Broncos need to improve as a team, and don't give me the BS that it was Week 1.  Watch the game again and you will see the guys in the Blue Jerseys making tackle after tackle.  The Bills played extremely well fundamentally and their ability to tackle on first contact is what really kept them in the game.  The Broncos inability to do the same nearly cost them the game and there was simply way too much head tackling.  This will need to improve, starting this week when the Broncos face another big running back in Lamont Jordan.

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