What. A. Game. On Sunday afternoon, the Denver Broncos marched into the black hole and beat the Raiders by a score of 38-24. It was a full team effort and was arguably the best win the Broncos have experienced in the past two years. After an up and down first half, the Broncos were hitting on all cylinders in the 2nd half and scored 31 2nd half points on their way to their 1st divisional victory. With the win, they pull to 3-5 and are just 1 game out of 1st place of the AFC West with a trip to Kansas City coming up next week.
Let's jump into this weeks Studs and Duds
Broken hands are so overrated. On Sunday, the Broncos running back demolished the Raiders on the ground. He ran the ball 20 times for 163 yards for 2 TD's. He did it all on Sunday. He ran in short yard situations. He ran in long situations. He out ran the Raiders on a 60 yard dash to the end zone. He plowed over defenders. He even Tebowed in the end zone. McGahee was a force on Sunday. On the year, he has 623 yards and 3 TD's. He's averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He ranks 9th in the NFL in total yards. Not bad for a 30 year old running back.
This game was big for Tebow. After last week's debacle, Tebow bounced back against the Raiders in a pretty big way. His stats aren't pretty: 10 for 21 for 124 yards and 2 TD's. In addition to his passing yards, he ran the ball 12 times for 117 yards. Tim had a rough first half. He was unable to get any momentum due to badly timed penalties and players unable to make plays. In the second half, Tebow played very well. He opened the second half with a 9 play, 80 yard scoring drive that culminated in a Eddie Royal TD. Tebow still has work to do in the passing game, but he definitely improved from last week. After reports surfaced before the game that Tebow could be benched in favor of Brady Quinn if he performed poorly, it was great to see Tebow rise to the challenge. Let's hope he can build on this performance.
What a day for Champ. After getting burned a couple times by the speedy Jacoby Ford, Bailey was able to make his impact felt later in the game. Carson Palmer (stupidly) started to pick on Bailey more and the future HOFer made him pay for it by getting two interceptions. The first interception came when he played great man to man coverage and shielded the WR from the ball. The second interception occurred when Palmer under threw his intended target and Champ made a great adjustment to the ball. The 2 interceptions today gave Champ his 50th career interception. Congrats Champ.
The Broncos got 298 yards on the ground today in large part to the OL who dominated the Raiders and opened up great running lanes. Their cohesiveness as a pass protection unit still needs work, but they are top notch as a run unit. J.D. Walton appears to have taken the next step from last year as he physically dominated the Raiders DL on several occasions. Zane Beadles had one of his best games of the year while Kuper and Franklin continue to be the best run blocking duo on the OL.
This is the Eddie Royal we have been waiting to see. This is the Eddie Royal who can be a big factor on the Broncos. Eddie had a great game for the Broncos as he caught 2 passes for 25 yards and 1 TD as well as have a huge punt return in the 4th quarter. Now, his numbers aren't really that impressive, but his impact is what made the difference. Instead of keeping Eddie as the #2 receiver, it might be a good idea to move him down the depth chart and focus him as a ST player. It is becoming clear that Eddie won't be a go-to receiver and his impact on ST is undeniable.
I have been waiting all year to put Von Doom in the studs section of my Studs and Duds article. Today, I finally get my chance. Von Doom was causing havoc all throughout the game. Carson Palmer is going to wake up very sore tomorrow after being hit by Von Doom so many times. The dynamic pass rushing duo combined for 2 total sacks. Elvis Dumervil finished with 1.5 while Von Miller finished with .5 sacks. Dumervil is the more technically sound pass rusher, but Von Miller has the speed and explosion that is almost impossible to stop. To think that Miller is only a rookie and will continue to get better is a scary thought. We got ourselves a good one here folks.
Eric Decker is having a great year. Against the Raiders, he caught 3 passes for 47 yards and 1 TD. On the year, Decker has 33 catches for 406 yards and 6 TD's. He's tied for 2nd in the league with 6 receiving TD's. On top of his great receiving skills, Decker is showing great leadership on the field as well. He is developing a nice rapport with Tebow that will only grow as they get more experience with each other. Keep it up Deck.
You have to give credit where credit is due. Mike McCoy called a fantastic game on Sunday. He threw in a mix of everything from screen passes to short crossing routes to the newly formed option run game. McCoy has gotten a lot of criticism for his play calling and there were some moments in the first half where his play calling was questionable, but for the most part, McCoy called a great game. Let's hope that he continues to do well as he continues to adjust to Tebow's playing style. If today is any indication, things are on the rise.
The undrafted free agent from Kansas has been very impressive. He notched his first interception of the year after he made the catch off of a tipped ball. Harris has been making the most of his opportunities ever since taking the job from Cassius Vaughn and Jonathan Wilhite. Other then Champ Bailey, I think you could make the case that he has been the Broncos 2nd best cornerback. Did you know that Harris is 5th on the team in total tackles with 30? Not bad for an undrafted free agent. Not bad at all.
Got nailed in the knee and kept on trucking. He's one tough SOB.
It is becoming blatantly apparent that Andre just doesn't have it anymore. His skills are rapidly declining and it's getting to the point where opposing QB's are just targeting whatever WR Goodman is covering. Goodman stands no chance against faster receivers and good route runners are able to get great separation from him. With a great class of corners supposed to be available in 2012, I would be shocked if the Broncos do not address the position. Goodman is just not going to cut it for much longer.
What the heck is wrong with Ryan Clady? He didn't even play this bad last year when he was still recovering from a torn patellar tendon. This year, he is getting slammed with holding calls. He had 3 called on him alone. It is just too hard for the offense to move the chains when they are dealing with 2nd and 20. Clady needs to regain his mojo in a hurry because his play hurt the Broncos many times on Sunday.
After raving about how great the Broncos special teamers are the past few weeks, it is time to call it like I see it. Colquitt and Prater were bad against the Raiders. Colquitt, who has been an absolute stud so far this season, fumbled a snap and was nearly safetied in the 1st half. As for Matt, well he missed an easy 43 yard field goal that could have pulled the Broncos to within 1 score. On a typical Sunday, it's these kinds of mistakes that cost a team a victory. Fortunately, that was not the case against the Raiders.
There is just something about the Raiders that brings out the illegal stuff in the Broncos...go figure. On Sunday, the Broncos committed 11 penalties for 93 yards. There were a wide assortment of penalties. Tebow has got to have a better internal clock and stop getting delay of game penalties. I already mentioned Clady's holds. It was way too many penalties, but fortunately, they did not come back to haunt the Broncos.
Think about this for a moment. Knowshon Moreno is so bad that even with Willis McGahee and Tim Tebow getting the majority of the carries and the yards, Lance Ball still got more touches then Moreno.
Where did Joe go? He must have disappeared. How does Spencer Larsen finish the game with more tackles then Joe Mays? Spencer Larsen plays FB and Special Teams. I'm not sure how our starting FB finished with more tackles then our starting MLB.
There you have it. The Broncos have beaten the Raiders and are now just 1 game off from being in 1st place in the AFC West. Next week, the Broncos travel to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs in a big time divisional game. If the Broncos can win, they will automatically become 2nd place in the division. So fasten your seat belts folks because things just got a whole lot more interesting around here. Congrats to the Broncos on a fantastic team win. Let's build off of it and take down the Chiefs next week. Until next time, MHR.
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