Dear Tom Brady,
Mile High Stadium is our MF house.... not yours. Don’t come up in here expecting the Denver Broncos to lay down and just give you the keys to the castle. And this just in: We actually match-up well against you and that big, bad East Coast pass-attack.
Before making the jump, MHR, I ask that you think about having a Ferrari that's only ever been driven at 35 MPH.
Fellas, I'm going to start by dropping some knowledge that you already knew. Our defense is better suited to take on an aerial assault than a ground assault. Sure, we’re not too shabby at thumping running backs for lost yards and minimal gains, but everyone knows the true strength of our defense is the pass-rushing duo of Batman and Robin, along with a cover-corner named Champ Bailey.
The Broncos essentially have a PHD in wrecking havoc and mayhem in opposing backfields, a degree they earned at the School of Hard Knocks. It's a degree, however, that often goes under-utilized. Although not by choice, of course. And since school's still in session boys, I'm going to hit you with another drop that you probably already knew, too: Teams fear Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Take it in slowly or smoke it in a bong - no matter. Just breathe it and recognize that we're no longer talking about potentials or maybes. We're not patting ourselves on the back and exaggerating talent to make fans feel good. Offensive Coordinator's fear our pass rush. It's what we do. It's what we want to do. And it's the best thing we do.
Take for instance our last quarter of games. Chicago was so afraid to pass the ball that they often ran it on third-and-long. They ran the ball a full two times for every one pass attempt. And the few passes they did complete were generally quick, short throws to running backs. Chicago receivers, in fact, caught just five balls for less than 60 total yards in something like 70 minutes of football. Even with all that safe stuff, though, Hanie still got "Pondered" pretty much anytime he took three seconds or five steps. And with the ubber-limited opportunites, our Broncos still found a way to add four more sacks to the year's total.
We currently rank 4th in sacks, and that's even though Von MIller missed a game, and even though all of Doom's 7.5 sacks came in the last six games. So let me just spell that out for anyone taking notes... VonDoom are the most feared pass-rush tandem in the league. Period. Pencils down.
Back to getting Pondered. Christian Ponder of the Minnesota Vikings was so sore after last week’s game that he wasn’t able to practice until Friday. That’s right, he literally limped off the field that Sunday and was only able to get in one practice leading up to their divisional game against the Lions. No broken bones. No torn anythings. Just so incredibly sore from the Von Miller-less gang-assualt that he was forced to ride pine and lick wounds all week.
In the previous week, the Broncos held Phillip Rivers to 188 yards. Forget that Rivers has been having a bad year for interceptions. And forget that he's a crybaby bitch like Cutler. True, but ultimately irrelevant. He still passes a ton, and the only other team that's held Rivers to under 240 yards all year was Revis Island and the New York Jets. Additionally, no Charger had 50 receiving yards against the Broncos and there was just one completion of more than 20 yards. That's not exactly Rivers-esque passing. Not even for this season. He was scared. He was playing with handcuffs.
The week before that, we had Marky Mark Sanchez trying to get all ballsy against us, leaning on Plax, Santanio and crew to rack up 250 yards through the air. But it cost Dirty Sanchez tremendous punishment and even a pick-six. VonDoom combined for three sacks by themselves and hit him and pressured him much more.
I guess we should actually go back one week further, if for no other reason than that I like to remind myself of Cassel's bad day. This is the week where Von Miller ended Matty's season. Cassel played all except for the Chiefs’ last offensive series. He was held to under 100 yards in the air and sacked four times. He'll be looking for a new job next year.
OK, so are you beginning to pick up what I’m laying down here? Teams fear the Broncos pass rush. They fear it. Rivers wouldn’t pass. Cassel couldn’t pass. Ponder paid with his body for trying. Sanchez paid in points, a bruised ego and a bruised body. And Caleb Hanie wasn't even allowed to try. This is what they do. Teams won't steer their offense directly into the belly of the beast. Our Ferrari of a pass-rush can only look so good until it's finally freed up to hit the Autobahn with an open throttle.
Now how many times have we said over the last five weeks something to the effect of, "if we can force them to pass early and often then we've got the game on lock" - only to then see a bunch of checkdowns and short passes? Well, good news friends: We don’t have to force this New England Hippo to pass. It's a hippo. It just is what it is. With a run-game that ranks 20th in yards and 20th in yards per carry, this hippo isn't going to pretend all the sudden that it's something it's not. Boston is the league's 2nd ranked passing offense, so they'll do what they do. And we'll finally get the chance to take that Ferrari of ours over 35 MPH.
Passing is the bread and butter of the New England offense. And rushing that passer is the bread and butter of the Denver defense. So, Brady... meet Batman and Robin. And be careful what you wish for, because one way or another... or both... it's gonna hurt.
For Brady’s sake, I sure hope that hottie Giselle is a great naked-masseuse, because win or lose, Tom’s going to feel us in the morning. We’re sending out the bat signal in this game, boys. And it's all hands on deck. This is code black AND blue, and we're calling all cars. Fact is, this Patriots team epitomizes what this pass rush was built for. It's what our defense was built to stop. Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil being our highest paid players isn't by chance. Von MIller being the highest pick in Bronco history isn't coincidence. The EFX trifecta signed Champ Bailey and drafted Von Miller, not the last regime. And this, after our highest paid player was already locked up in pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil. The league has trended toward prolific passing attacks like that of the Patriots. And it's exactly what we've built our defense to stop.
Teams that want to bend it like Brady better be ready to get broken like Cassel. We hurt quarterbacks and we take picks to he house. It's what we do. It's what this team was built for. So it's time to turn Batman and Robin loose and show zero respect for the run-game.Yeah, you heard me. Ignore the run game off the edges and treat every potential pass as a pass certainty. Rush into the backfield without remorse and without hesitation. Slow-up for nothing and bring the pain on every drop-back.
Tom will still be Brady, of course, and he'll get his yards. But the bat signal is being sent out in this game stronger than in any game we've ever seen. It'll be up to the Dynamic Duo to answer the call in the sky - to dig deeper than ever before. Because this is what they're here for. This is how they earn their paychecks. And it'll be up to Champ, Dawk and DJ to make Brady pay for the mistakes that VonDoom cause.
Will the good guys prevail and protect Mile High City from the East Coast Jokers? I think only Sunday knows. But I'm not betting against 'em.