I will admit that Monday night's game was not Kyle Orton's best effort, nor were the Broncos playing their best football of the season. However, lest I be disrespectful to the Steelers (who pummeled us), they were the better team and the 4th Quarter was once again not our best effort, ala the Baltimore game.
Nevertheless, we are 6-2 and things are still propitious if we can look to the future, assess our mistakes and move on. I did not evaluate this game the morning after as the outcome was too frustrating for me, but let's evaluate what the Steelers did well.
First of all, while we did get significant pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and made him commit several mistakes, the defense wore down and Rashard Mendenhall got stronger as the game went on. After the Steelers took a 14-10 lead, they began keying off on us and showed why they're virtually impossible to beat when they have a second half lead.
I think Ryan Harris' injury is more significant than anyone cares to admit and I hope he returns swiftly. The Steelers were able to get just enough pressure on Orton to force him into uncharacteristic mistakes. However, giving props to the Steelers is done for now.
It is not time to bench Orton. It is time for the Broncos' running game to return, thus making play action more of a threat. Orton was doing fine in the first half, but a couple of bad breaks and horrendous execution did us in. Meanwhile, the Steelers controlled the clock in the second half and were much more productive than we were in the first 30 minutes.
We need to keep the defense fresh and the best way to do that is to control the ball in the first half, even as we did against Pittsburgh, but being more productive when we move the ball down the field. If we can go up 17-0 on the anemic Redskins, they're pretty much dead as they've not amassed more than 17 points all season.
If you'll notice a common trend in our wins, Elvis Dumervil wreaks his havoc in the second half when we've taken the lead, or at the least moved within a touchdown of our opponents. When we sense blood in the water, Doom does his thing and Orton leads a drive down the field to earn victory.
It seems no one exercises true football acumen with us, all of our victories are flukes and all of our defeats (all two of them, mind you) expose us as fraudulent hoaxes. Everybody is waiting for the Chargers to come in and hammer us, thus seizing the AFC West once again while Josh McDaniels is the worst coach in modern NFL history.
All of this, of course, is nonsense. Yes, we have played below our talent level the past couple of games, but the Ravens and Steelers deserve credit for that. What we do now is going to determine our prospects in both the short-term and the future. We desperately need to get back to our foundations of success by eliminating turnovers and running sufficiently enough to keep defenses honest.
I will not lie: Monday, Knowshon Moreno was a colossal disappointment and he needs to justify his selection in the draft by playing better. This is not the University of Georgia, unlike fake football where there is no true national champion, in the NFL, you have to hit the hole and cut upfield. He should really evaluate what Buckhalter does and emulate it.
Perhaps now's the time we see Peyton Hillis return to action, but we'll see what happens. Assuredly, his running ability can do nothing but help us. In any case, it sucks to be the Redskins this week as we're going to come out mad and dictate the tempo early and often.
Thanks again for reading and keep the faith everybody. GO BRONCOS!!!