The good news is that, should Tebow reign supreme in his career as a Denver Bronco, I'll be able to say I was at the stadium to watch his first TD live. In fact, he scored right into the corner of the end zone where I was sitting. I drove up from Santa Fe, NM to see this game, so I'm hoping witnessing his TD will be the long term plus of having attended this game. In the short term, being there was a roller coaster ride of emotion. With all the lead changes and great plays, it was a total blast being there--at least until the last minute of the game.
For those of you who have been blasting Hochstein, he's the guy responsible for springing Tebow around the corner. His block leveled the Jet player trying to seal the edge. It was cool to watch.
And on a side note, I sat in the family section. This consists of the 2 sections of the club level on the west side closest to the south stands. I liked it a lot. The seats are wider than other sections and cost about 1/3 the price of the best club level seats. Plus they don't allow alcohol there. So if you're part of the 40% of the adult population who does not drink, it's wonderful not having to be around drunks or to have someone continually walking back and forth in front of you yelling how you need to buy beer. I liked that part a lot. Plus being right above Tebow and DT scoring TDs was a trip!
The bad part of the Broncos play fell on the shoulders of the offense and on Coach's play calling. I'm a big fan of McD, but as you shall see, I think his calls in the 2nd half doomed us. The first thing I noticed is that the offense as a whole failed to capitalize on two big momentum swings. They did nothing with the 1st Jets interception, and they wasted an on-sides kick. I was blown away by how gutsy a call that was by McD, and I hope he calls more of them, if nothing else to force receiving teams to play better hands/worse blocking players on the front line. But for the offense to squander that advantage really got me thinking that the when it was all over they would lose the day.
The flip side of this special teams break was the fumbled, and then missed, field goals. Say good bye to 6 points right there.
The next thing I noticed was that Orton has a tendency to lose his touch and really sail balls high when the heat is on. I understand how being aware that in a moment a ton of beef is going to slam into you can give anyone the jitters. None the less, I dream of the day when Orton can make the throw that he missed to Daniel Graham. I think this is 2 weeks in a row where I've seen him sail one high to an open receiver in the flat when the pocket has collapsed. Graham had NO ONE behind him. And he had a full step on the Jet player covering him. It would have been an easy 6 there. Once again, a fraction of a second on one play was the difference between potentially winning and losing.
Now I love Orton big time. But I nearly cried at the end of the game on the bomb he tossed to DT just before the fumble. Thomas had slipped by the corner and was 20 years ahead of him. The safety was 15 years to his side. If Orton could have gotten just a couple of more yards of air under that ball, we'd all be celebrating. Having said that, the ball still sailed more than 50 yards in the air. It confirmed why I love Orton so much. He'll shoot for it all when he see the opportunity. It was a sight to behold!
But where I think we lost the game was on the conservative play calling McD made when the Broncos were pinned deep. Three drives in a row, we ran no where on 1st downs. Running on 1st had stopped working after half time. And yet we continued to do it. I know, we were close to our own end zone. But hey, we're among the best passers in the league! Why weren't we playing to our strengths? We had three and out three times in a row. Our punts gave the Jets great field position three times in a row. I could tell it was only a matter of time until they scored. Our defense played great the 1st two times. But you could see they were gassed and a step slow on the third time the Jets started with a short field.
I understand that Denver was playing to protect their lead at this point, but leading or not, once a team starts playing to not lose, they're tempting fate and asking for the Gods of Irony to serve them up a defeat.
Other than that drive where they were playing tired, I thought the defense looked great. I loved the 4-3 look. And all the rookies stepped up in a big way. One glaring weakness is that Denver has still not found a way to cover the better TEs in the league. The line backers we tasked with this on Sunday were consistently beat, giving up a key play on nearly every scoring drive.
One other thing that puzzled me is why Tebow never passed on his wild horse plays? After all those runs, the Jets would have so taken the bait. I think McD missed another opportunity there with his play calling. The runs were exciting, but they weren't getting the big yards late in the game. And the last couple of times Tebow came out, the defense totally stopped covering Orton. The corner assigned to him was playing in the position of an OLB. I had thought this was what we were waiting for and had expected to see a flea-flicker. But no such luck, just another tackler to stuff the run. I sure hope McD really gets creative and mixes up his Tebow packages, by putting both him and Orton in the back field. That would really mess with defensive assignments.
Well, there you have it. Because the entire AFC West lost, our ship is still holding water. But being 3-3 is would have been way better than being 2-4. Having said that. It was great being a part of Orange Sunday!