The Broncos are in 1st place in the AFC West. Let's let that sink in for a second. The Broncos, you know that team that started the year 1-4, are in 1st place in the AFC West with 4 games left against the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. On Sunday, the Broncos were able to narrowly beat the Minnesota Vikings with a game winning field goal as time expired. Sunday was just like every other Bronco game since Tebow became the starter. Lots of ups, lots of downs, a close game and a nail biting finish. It's Foxball combined with Tebow Time. But as Tim Tebow and John Fox would say, "it's not how you start, it's how you finish." 4 games left. A lot can happen. For now, let's focus on the Studs and Duds in the Broncos victory over the Vikings.
Don't tell me the guy can't throw. It's simply not true. Tim Tebow had a fantastic day passing the ball finishing the day throwing 10 of 15 for 202 yards and 2 TD's. The whole year, everyone was questioning whether Tebow could win in a shoot out type of game. Some said if you scored over 20, you would beat the Broncos cause Tim Tebow and the offense can't score that many points with their style of offense. Well, what what's your excuse now? Not only did Tim Tebow lead the team to a victory with his arm, he did it in a pro style passing attack. No option. No triple option. I formation and Shotgun was all it took. Tim Tebow is improving in front of our eyes. His passing has gotten progressively better each week. It's exciting to watch. Can you imagine what he might be able to do one day if we actually let him develop?
Okay McDaniels. I see what you were thinking when you drafted this guy. Demaryius Thomas was simply dominant against the Vikings. The 6 ft 3, 220 pound WR from Georgia Tech had a breakout game for the Broncos. With the Vikings using more of their players to cover WR Eric Decker, Demaryius was left open to make many big plays and he certainly took advantage. He finished the day with 4 catches for 144 yards and 2 TD's. Demaryius looked like a true deep threat against the Vikings. If he can consistently be this type of threat, the Bronco offense is going to be very dangerous to stop. With McGahee and Tebow running, Decker as a possession receiver, and DT as the vertical threat, things are starting to look good for this offense.
You have to feel for Mario Haggan a little bit. The guy was a starter during the McDaniels eara. He played pretty well too. This year, he has barely played at all due to the presence of future All-Pro Von Miller. With Miller out today, Haggan got his opportunity and he took full advantage. Haggan finished the day with 12 tackles, 3 TFL and 1 interception returned for a touchdown. Mario looked great. I was happy to see him have a great game. He's certainly no Von Miller, but he is more then worthy of being a high quality backup for this team. What a day for Haggan.
With today's game, Willis McGahee has now registered his 6th 100 yard rushing performance for the Broncos. The guy has been an absolute beast for the Broncos. He ran the ball 20 times for 111 yards and 1 TD against the Vikings. His TD came in the 4th quarter during the time when the Broncos and Vikings were going back and forth putting points on the board. Willis has been a fantastic free agent acquisition and has totally shattered the reputation that 30 year old RB's can't produce. Did you see him out there? Some of the cuts he made on his TD run were amazing. Keep it up Willis.
Another game, Another sack for Elvis. Doom truly looks like his old self out there. Now that he is healthy (knock on wood), Doom shows the same burst and bend ability that makes him such a threat on the edges. He notched 4 tackles and a sack against the Vikings. His sack gives him 6.5 for the year, and 6.5 in the last 5 games. Doom has all the talent in the world. If he and Von can stay healthy, they will be recognized as the nation's best pass rushing duo in the very near future.
It's amazing to think that Brian Dawkins is a 38 year old man. You would never know it by looking at him play on the field. Dawkins looks like a nimble 20 year old. On Sunday, he finished the day with 5 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 sack. Credit goes to Dennis Allen ( more on him in a bit) for making a scheme that best utilizes Dawkins' strengths. He made several huge plays for the Broncos and when the chips were down, who was firing up the guys trying to bring them back for a deficit? Brian Dawkins.
He. Just. Wins. Football Games. It may not be good looking. It may not be pretty, but the guy just wins football games. Sound familiar? Prater has taken some heat from me for missing field goals this year, but he is absolute money when it counts. He hit a huge 46 yarder to tie the game and hit the 23 yarder to win the game.
Britton Colquitt is the best punter in football right now. 6 punts for 307 yards. That makes a 51 yard per punt average. I repeat. Britton Colquit is the best punter in football right now.
1st Half Offense
The 1st half of the game was excruciating to watch from an offensive stand point. It was marred with penalties and poor execution which led to a very ugly half. Many fans (myself included) were up in arms because Mike McCoy ran an ultra conservative offense and it made it difficult to get any yardage. So Mike, will you please open up the offense earlier?
Injury To Von Miller
The defense was just not the same without Von. Haggan played well, but Von is a special talent that allows Denver to do unique things. So get better Von. Keep that incision clean. You get to hit Caleb Hanie(Donovan McNabb?) next week as much as you want. And don't ever get hurt again.....Ever.
Joe Mays is really good at one thing. Destroying you. Joe Mays is also really bad at one thing and that is tackling guys in traffic. Joe consistently is in position make tackles to limit big plays, but he has consistently missed this year. I still really like the guy. He still is the hardest hitter on the team. He would make a great backup, but MLB needs to be more then a hard hitter and Mays' deficiencies continue to stand out to me more and more.
John Fox's Decision To Make Rahim Moore Inactive
Rahim Moore was inactive today. Why? That's a great question. Andrew Mason believes he was inactive because he is not as strong of a ST player as guys like Kyle McCarthy, David Bruton and Rafael Bush. The problem is that McCarthy, Bruton and Bush aren't as good at playing Safety as Moore. When Quinton Carter went down with an injury, the Broncos had to turn to Kyle McCarthy to fill in for him. McCarthy ended up missing an open field tackle that resulted in a Percy Harvin TD. I understand ST are important, but not at the risk of sacrificing your depth. Surely the ST could live with Rahim Moore taking one of the spots so he could be used if one of our safeties goes down again.
8 penalties for 73 yards. It's just too much and all of the holding calls really hurt us in the first half. On top of that, there were a few plays that Tim made that had to be called back on penalties. Our games are close enough already. We don't need to make them even closer with our stupid penalties.
Those referees were straight up awful. The game on Sunday was one of the worst refereeing displays I've seen in a long time. To me, it appeared they were totally and completely for the Vikings often making questionable calls. 1 or 2 questionable calls is one thing, but when you get 4 or 5 calls that you are questioning, something is up. I hope we don't have to have those refs ever again.
He sucked for 99% of the game. He got the interception that gave the Broncos the chance to score a game winning field goal. Great job by Goodman to make the play, but 1 play doesn't save him from the Duds section. Goodman got picked on by Christian Ponder and was burned by Devin Aromashodu. Despite his two huge interceptions this year, Goodman's time in Denver is running out.
Time Of Possession
22:09 compared to 37:51. Ouch. That's just not good. The T.O.P definitely got a lot better in the 2nd half, but the 1st half was hard to watch. It seemed the defense was on the field every 3 minutes. The Broncos are going to need to start off sooner the next couple weeks. You don't want to give Tom Brady 37 minutes of time.
There we have it. Our Broncos are 7-5. We are witnessing something special here folks. To go from 1-4 to 7-5 is insane. We also have 4 games left and I believe the Broncos could win every single that is left. I try my best not to play "what if", but it's very hard. One game at a time. Stay focused. Denver has started out strong before. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish". Tomorrow, we prepare for Chicago. Tonight, I'm still celebrating the victory. Until next time, MHR.