Handing Out Horseshoes For Week 8


The Denver Broncos got mauled by the Detroit Lions at home on Sunday, so there won't be any Gameballs this week. There weren't many positive things to take out of the game, but there were some performances worth noting. Such as it is, this will be a single post for Week 8 and I will put all 3 units into it. I will lay out my thoughts and you can vote for the top performance out of the list. If you are ready, let's take a look at them.

Eric Decker has been a bright spot in the Bronco Wide Receiver corp this year. The 2nd year caught 6 passes for 72 yards and his fifth touchdown pass of the season on Sunday. He is now tied for fourth in the NFL in that category. For the year, Decker has 30 receptions for 359 yards. 20 of his catches have gone for a 1st down. Eric leads the Broncos in all 3 categories and has given a consistent effort all season. 

Chris Kuper had one of the more difficult tasks on Sunday. The Broncos Right Guard lined up across from Lions Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010 with 10 Sacks. Ndamukong had 23 Tackles and 3 Sacks going into the game, but Kuper made sure Suh was not a factor. Despite the Lions getting 7 Sacks in the game, Suh was held to 1 Tackle. Ndamukong apparently made the statement that Kuper was the best Lineman he has gone up against so far. It is no wonder the Broncos signed him to a six-year. $28.012 million contract last June.


Robert Ayers had a good game and it is nice to see him noticeably in the picture at the end of plays this year, instead of the quiet support role from last season. The change back to Defensive End from Outside Linebacker has shown us that he never should have moved in the first place and the 1st round expectations now have a chance to be fulfilled. Robert finished the game on Sunday with 3 Tackles, 2 for a loss including a Sack and 1 hit on Lions quarterback Matt Stafford. His 3rd Tackle came on Lions Receiver Calvin Johnson 13 yards downfield. It says something when a Defensive End gets a Tackle on a Receiver that far away from the Line Of Scrimmage. The other two Tackles caused the Lions to Punt. Ayers only made a few plays statistically, but they were quality. On the season, Ayers has 19 Tackles, 4 Tackles For a Loss, 2 Sacks, 2 QB Hits,1 Pass defense, 1 Forced Fumble and a Fumble Recovery.


The Bronco Special Teams Unit has been not only revived, but is excelling under new coordinator Jeff Rodgers. Aside from two great kickers that were carried over from the last coaching staff, Rodgers has done an admirable job and according to Football Outsiders, they are ranked 11th in the league through this week. In 2010, the Unit ranked 27th in the NFL, so Bronco fans can get excited that an area that we have been wanting improvement from, is actually making some. Matt Prater converted a 39-yard Field Goal and an Extra Point on Decker's touchdown. He was also  3 for 3 on touchbacks during Kickoffs against the Lions. That improved his league-leading touchback percentage on kickoffs to 89.7 percent this season. 26 of his 29 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks this season. That is invaluable. Britton Colquitt has given a sterling effort at punter this season also. He is one of just two punters in the league to rank in the top three in gross punting average (50.1 ranks third) and net punting average (43.6 ranks second). Against the Lions, Colquitt punted 7 times. Four of those punts were Fair Caught by Detroit Return man Stefan Logan. The other three were returned a total of 30 yards. Colquitt was astonishingly whistled for an Unnecessary Roughness penalty on a punt return in the 2nd quarter. Punters aren't usually the ones dishing out punishment on the Coverage Unit. Britton’s net punting average of 46.1 yards against the Lions marked the 2nd-highest single-game total in franchise history (min. 7 punts). His 50.4 gross punting average ranked 7th in team single-game annals (min. 7 punts). Matthew Willis had 2 Tackles on the Punt Returns and Dante Rosario had the other Tackle on Sunday.


Ryan McBean, Champ Bailey, Von Miller and Chris Harris. McBean had 3 Tackles and a Sack Sunday. and no penalties, that alone is worth mentioning. Champ Bailey covered Calvin Johnson until the Lions moved Megatron into the slot, where he was pitted against undrafted rookie Chris Harris. Bailey finished with 2 Tackles and 1 Pass Break Up. Von Miller went without a Sack for the first time this season, but finished with 3 Tackles, 2 for a Loss and 2 hits on the quarterback. Chris Harris did a pretty nice job considering he ended up having to cover the NFL's leading Receiver in his first start. Harris finished with a team-leading 9 Tackles, nearly doubling his total for the season. He now has 19 Tackles in 2011.

And finally, as searchleft said, the Game Ball goes to any fan that stayed to watch this whole game.

Go Broncos!

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