Judging by the final score, you would never have known that the Broncos actually led this game at one point in time. After going up 3-0 early in the 1st quarter, the Broncos self destructed and never stood much of a chance after.They never gave up, but that's not saying much considering the final score was 49-23. To put it shortly, the Broncos got their asses kicked, but did you expect anything else? The Broncos are in the middle of a long rebuild and the Packers are the defending world champions. Denver never stood much of a chance and the Packers showed why. Still, not all was bad. Let's jump into the Studs and Duds.
The #2 overall pick in the 2011 draft was an absolute terror against the Packers. On a day where Aaron Rodgers torched through the Broncos secondary, Miller recorded 2 sacks to go along with 4 tackles and 3 QB hits. Packers RT Marshall Newhouse stood no chance against Miller. Von is too quick off the snap and has a good blend of speed and power moves that he utilized to abuse the Packers OL all game long. On the year, Von Miller has recorded 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. If he continues at his current pace, he will end the year with 16 sacks. That should be more then enough to win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors as well as a Pro Bowl berth. Miller was unquestionably the biggest stud of the day.
During the week, Lloyd expressed his frustration with the offensive system because he wasn't getting as many balls thrown his way. Against Green Bay, it was evident he was in the game plan much more then previous weeks as he hauled in 8 passes for 136 yards. He would have scored twice, but Orton under threw him on the flea flicker and under threw him on another deep throw in the 4th quarter that led to an interception. Nobody expected Lloyd to repeat his production from last year, but he showed against Green Bay that he can certainly still be a force to be reckoned with.
Many thought 2nd year WR would be the break out player of the year. Many will be right. Against the Packers, Decker caught 5 passes for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the year, Decker has 20 catches for 270 yards and 4 TD's. He leads the Broncos in every major statistical receiving category (Receptions, Receiving yards, Receiving TD's). It's much too early, but Decker could end up being the best draft pick that Josh McDaniels made. Then again, that is not saying much.
Last week, McGahee was criticized for his lackluster performance against the Titans. This week, he looked like a beast against the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. A constantly improving offensive line surely helped, but McGahee definitely ran better today then last week. He finished the day with 13 carries for 103 yards which is good for a 6.9 yards per carry average. He would have gotten even more yards, but the Broncos got into a hole early and had to launch an aerial assault to try and keep up. The last time McGahee got a 100 yard game, he followed it up with a stinker so let's hope he builds some momentum and puts in a good performance against the Chargers next week.
This is the second week in a row I have the offensive line in the "Studs" section. Not only did the OL provide Orton with a ton of time to make his throws, they also opened up some really nice running lanes for the aforementioned Willis McGahee. Clady made it another week without a holding penalty (Woohoo), Orlando Franklin did as well (Double Woohoo). J.D. Walton and Chris Kuper did an above average job as well. The only weak link was Zane Beadles who had trouble keeping up with B.J Raji, but I could have predicted that. Raji is one of the best DT's in the league.
Time to give credit where it is due. Last week, McCoy was criticized for such a blaze game plan that potentially lost us the game. This week, he deserves credit for putting together a much better game plan. Despite being blown out, the game plan was very good. The players just didn't execute. I particularly commend him for his flea flicker call that completely fooled the Packers. As I mentioned before, that should have been a touchdown but Orton under threw a wide open Brandon Lloyd. McCoy also called some nice red zone plays. Denver is going to need McCoy at his best if we are going to compete with the Chargers next week.
Granted, the Broncos committed two more penalties then they did last week, but the team as a whole is still much improved from their 10 penalty performance on opening weekend against the Raiders. Against the Packers, the Broncos committed just 3 penalties for 24 yards. However, there was a passing interference call on Jonathan Wilhite that was total B.S. and shouldn't have been called. So in a fair world, the Broncos only committed 2 real penalties against the Packers. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The Broncos need help in their secondary, badly. The current secondary got absolutely torched by Aaron Rodgers although they aren't the first and certainly won't be the last. Andre Goodman and Cassius Vaughn were completely unable to play man on the Packers receivers. To make matters worse, Dawkins showed his age in coverage this week getting beat on multiple plays. Dawkins remains a very good run stuffer (as he demonstrated earlier in the game stuffing a Packers run on 4th down), but he is a liability in coverage. Dennis Allen might want to consider bringing in rookie Quinton Carter on passing downs for Dawk. Ironically, on a day where the secondary got torched, the Broncos not only got their first interception of the year, but they got 2. Jonathan Wilhite made a nice diving attempt at a tipped Rogers pass and Rahim Moore picked off an overthrown Matt Flynn pass. With Champ out with injury, Denver is showing that they will definitely need to invest an early 2012 draft pick on a CB. They could target a top flight guy like Dre Kirkpatrick or Morris Claiborne, but we all know Denver is going to spend their 1st rounder on a QB so they will have to get a CB in the 2nd round or later.
In a game against a clearly superior opponent, you cannot turn over the ball. Apparently the Denver Broncos and Kyle Orton didn't get the message since they turned the ball over 4 times. Once on a fumble in the red zone by TE Daniel Fells and 3 interceptions by Kyle Orton (more on him later). On the flip side, Denver forced two turnovers of their own so they only lost the turnover battle by two. Although, both of Denver's turnovers were when the game was way out of hand so...
After the 1st quarter, he was definitely going in the Duds column. After the second quarter, I thought he would be a stud. So at halftime, I said that he had such a mixed first half that this second half would tell the tale of whether he was a stud or a dud. Well, my friends, it is several hours after the game and I can say that Kyle Orton was a dud on Sunday. Now, that doesn't mean that he was the reason why Denver lost. If he was the reason Denver lost, he would have been first on the Duds list. Instead, he is in the middle getting the fair share of the blame that he deserves. He finished the game with a decent statline: 22/32 for 273 yards, 3 TD's and 3 INT. However, as we all know, stats don't tell the whole story. He looked off on Sunday. He under threw and over threw quite a few throws. I mentioned above how he under threw Brandon Lloyd twice. Both would have gone for touchdowns if he had thrown it where it was supposed to be. Additionally, he threw a terrible pick 6 to Charles Woodson and another one late in the game. I give credit to Orton for bouncing back in a big way in the 2nd quarter after throwing his pick 6, but football is a 4 quarter game and Orton made too many mistakes in those 4 quarters to be anything other then a dud.
Knowshon is dangerously close to being labeled a bust. After looking very good in pre season, Knowshon is the perfect example as to why you can never completely rely on how a player's pre season performance as an indicator as to how they will do in the regular season. Moreno carried the ball 2 times for 4 yards and he caught a pass for 7 yards. We need better out of our 1st round pick in 2009. Fox clearly trust McGahee way more then Moreno as evidenced by McGahee getting 13 more carries then Moreno. An even more telling stat is that Lance Ball carried the ball the same amount as Moreno and got one yard more. Moreno better step it up or he is going to get booted out of here in a hurry.
Decisions Surrounding Tim Tebow
Was Fox giving a big middle finger to all those who have been hollering for Fox to use number 15? I can't help but think it's a possibility. Fox gave Tebow one carry in the game and it was at Denver's own 26. Then, when Denver got in the red zone late in the game, Fox didn't call on Tebow once. So what exactly is the point of giving Tebow a carry from his own 26? Is there a realistic scenario where Tim could have succeeded in this position? I have my doubts. Furthermore, Fox refused to put Tebow in at the end of the blow out game. Even Tim's harshest critics were wondering why they wouldn't at least give him some snaps. It makes no sense...unless Denver really has no plans to make Tebow their future in any capacity. That's the only scenario that makes sense to me. It's the honest truth folks so the sooner everyone accepts it, the less frustration you will endure during the season. EFX seem to have no desire to keep Tim in their immediate or future plans.
Packers Onside Kick
Seriously? Green Bay was up 14-3 in the first quarter and they decided to do an onside kick? It's not like they had great difficulty scoring their first two touchdowns so they wanted to get as many points as possible. This just felt like over kill and I was more then a little annoyed that they would make that call in the first quarter. The only person I can think of to call an onside kick in the first half is the high character coach Todd Hailey /end sarcasm.
Well that's all I got for you this week. Instead of naming individual secondary members, I decided to bundle them together as Duds. Next week, the Broncos face the Chargers at home. The Chargers are much better on paper, but when it comes to rivalry games, anything goes. Will Denver make the proper adjustments to pull of an upset next week? Will we ever get a resolution to the Tim Tebow drama? Are we ever going to get an MHR Radio? Stay tuned folks. This season is just getting started. Until next time, MHR.