Another game. Another dominant rushing performance. Another victory. I could get used to this winning thing. For the first time since 2009, the Broncos won back to back games after beating the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead by a score of 17-10. The talk of the day was undoubtedly the fact that Tim Tebow only threw 8 passes and completed just 2 of them. We are going to talk about all that and much more so let's jump into the Studs and Duds.
When the Denver Broncos drafted Von Miller with the 2nd overall draft pick, it was expected that he would make an immediate impact. However, it was not expected that Von Miller would become the best Denver Broncos defensive player in his rookie season, but that is exactly what has happened. Von Miller is the best player on the Denver Broncos defense and he might be the best Bronco player period. Seriously. Von Miller was an absolute nightmare on Sunday. He completely abused Matt Cassel hitting the Chiefs QB 4 times according to ESPN while also registering 7 tackles, 2 TFL and 1.5 sacks. Miller hit Cassel so hard that he reportedly left the stadium with a wrapped hand. On the year, Von Miller has 38 (4th on the team) tackles and 8 sacks (1st on the team). Miller is a game changer. He's as explosive as a player as they come and he will be making the Pro Bowl very, very soon. Denver absolutely nailed their #2 overall draft pick.
It is crazy to think that the same unit that got demolished on opening weekend by the Oakland Raiders is playing this well. It's more then crazy. It's almost mind-boggling. The offensive line consisting of Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin have been the sole reason why Denver has now won 3 of its last 4 games. The OL has become a nasty run blocking unit that has the Broncos ranked 2nd in rush yards per game with 158.2 yards per game. Chris Kuper, in particular, has been absolutely dominant this year. If the OL is able to keep this up, Kuper should make the pro bowl for his efforts. On top of that, the OL gave up no sacks and no QB hits on Sunday. I'm sure the 8 pass attempts had something to do with that, but at least they shut out the Chiefs on those 8 attempts. After watching the Jets play the Patriots, if the OL can continue to get the push it has been getting, the Broncos have a shot on Thursday.
A lot of credit needs to be given to Brian Xanders and the scouting department because they found a big time diamond in the rough in Chris Harris. The undrafted free agent from Kansas continues to get better every week. He is consistently improving in his pass coverage and he is excellent at making plays in the run game as well. Harris notched 8 tackles against the Chiefs bumping his season total up to 38. He is tied with Von Miller with the 4th most tackles while starting just 2 games for the Broncos. Harris started on Special Teams, moved his way up into the lineup, took the starting nickel job and never looked back. The guy is a heck of a find and will have a big role moving forward if he continues to improve.
The run game goes hand in hand with the OL, but props need to be given to the RB's who are playing outstanding football. Willis McGahee is having a sensational year and could have had a huge game if he hadn't gotten injured in the 1st quarter. Knowshon Moreno, the Chief Killer, had 52 yards on 4 carries before he sprained his knee. Lance Ball did a great job of stepping up and shouldering the load for the entire game carrying the ball a career high 30 times for 96 yards. Spencer Larsen, the Stormin Mormon, did his part in the run game too carrying the ball 5 times for 17 yards. Finally, Tim Tebow carried the ball 9 times for 43 yards including a TD in the 1st quarter. Kudos to all of the RB's, FB's and even Eddie Royal for stepping up and getting the job done on the ground.
Tim Tebow's Touchdown Throw
"He only completed 2 passes" "He can't throw" "The Broncos don't trust him to throw". Blah Blah Blah. That 56 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter was a thing of beauty. Without that TD, who knows how the game turns out. It was a perfect throw that pretty much put the game out of reach. Kudos to Tim for nailing the throw and kudos to Decker for getting separation and hauling the pass in.
Broderick Bunkley, Marcus Thomas, Ryan McBean
These defensive lineman have been playing well all year long and they definitely deserve some praise for their play against the Chiefs. First off, Broderick Bunkley was a fantastic trade for Denver. They definitely got the best of that trade with the Eagles. He has been a run stuffer and continues to play very well. He is a free agent after this year and Denver would be downright foolish to not resign him.
Thomas is a guy many wanted Denver to resign in the offseason. After initial reports had Thomas going elsewhere, he resigned with Denver on a one year deal and has been playing quite well. He fits in very well with Bunkley and the others. He is another guy Denver should consider resigning in the off season.
I really have no idea what has gotten into McBean, but he is playing unbelievable football. He is shedding blocks like a pro, disrupting plays and making an impact this year. He recorded 2 tackles, 1 TFL and 1 sack against the Chiefs. On the year, McBean has 22 tackles and 3 sacks. I don't know if he worked harder in the off season or if he is just thriving in Allen's 4-3 scheme, but the 2012 restricted free agent could be looking at a contract extension if he keeps up his play.
Champ vs Bowe. It has become a match up to look for every year. This time, Champ clearly got the better of Bowe in their first meeting of 2011. Champ shadowed Bowe for most of the game and despite being targeted 7 times, Bowe only caught 2 passes for 17 yards. That my friends is a definition of a shut down corner.
His stats don't look as good: 7 punts for 307 yards for a 43.9 yard per punt average, but when you consider that he nailed 4 of those punts inside the 20 yard line, his work is very impressive. Britton Colquitt should go to the pro bowl this year.
DJ Williams and Joe Mays
For the most part, DJ Williams and Joe Mays were studs on Sunday. DJ racked up a team high 9 tackles with 1 sack while Joe was 2nd on the team with 8 tackles. However, DJ was called for a couple stupid penalties including an eye rolling face mask penalty. Nevertheless, both of them played well and helped contribute to shutting down the Chiefs offense. DJ has played well this year. He has 39 tackles and 3 sacks on the year.
I can't dog on this too much considering the Broncos won, but there were times on Sunday when I was getting frustrated with the play calling. McCoy would often call 3 straight running plays or 2 running plays and a deep bomb. I understand that Fox and McCoy want to stick to the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mantra, but there were many times when the Chiefs simply stacked the box with 8 or 9 defenders and were just waiting to stuff the run. McCoy needs to learn to throw in some passes with crossing routes to keep the offense going when the defenses is playing the run.
2 for 8 for 69 yards and 1 TD. If the Broncos want to get to the playoffs, they are going to have to get their passing game going. Everyone needs to improve here. Tebow needs to make better throws, but when he makes good throws, the WR need to catch them (I'm looking at you Eddie Royal and Lance Ball). Tebow has shown he can throw the ball and score points (see: last week vs Oakland) so I'm not sure why this week's game plan was so anti-passing.
On the first drive, it looked like Willis McGahee was going to have another 100 yard game. Boom. He injures his hamstring and is out for the game. Then it looked like Knowshon was going to tear up the Chiefs. Pop. He sprains his knee. Denver's two best running backs injured in the first quarter. It's always tough to lose players to injury, but it's even worse when those players play the same position. Knowshon is unlikely to play against the Jets, but let's hope McGahee will be available.
What the heck Matt? A 42 yard field goal really isn't all that difficult so get it into gear or get the hell out of here. 9 of 14 on the year is not going to cut it.
8 penalties for 65 yards. Not the cleanest game the Broncos have played, but it should be mentioned that there were some pretty baffling penalties called. Equal dud status for both the penalties as well as the referees. Even the semi bad announcers noted some of the penalties were head scratchers.
I don't know why the Broncos are having such a tough time getting interceptions, but they could have easily had 2 on Sunday if the defenders could hold onto the football. 6 interceptions on the year puts Broncos in the bottom half of the league in that category. Denver needs to capitalize when the opposing QB's throw the ball to our players.
There we have it. The Broncos are 4-5 and are back in the hunt for the AFC West Championship. They now have a short week as they return home to prepare for the Jets on Thursday night. It will be a tough game, but it is a winnable game. Our Broncos are just 1 game out of first place and there is a lot of football left to be played. Exiting times are ahead my friends. Until next time, MHR.
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