I sat down to watch the game a few times tonight while sitting at work, and kept a running log of things that stuck out during the viewings. Overall, I was really impressed at the level of physicality and fire that we seemed to play with - from an "energy and enthusiasm" perspective, this didn't look like the Broncos in "preseason" mode to me. And I like that.
So here, in no particular order, are some things that I thought I thunk.
- On McGahee's first touchdown run, Orlando Franklin absolutely mauled Marcell Dareus. The run went right inside Franklin's block, and Dareus was stood up and pushed several feet back into the end zone. If all Franklin is good for is that punishing block on a standout like Dareus, I'll take it. I thought Franklin got away with a few holds in pass protection, so we'll see how he progresses there.
- Cassius Vaughn looked really sharp. He was aggressive, playing with a lot of fire, but not so much that he overplayed. I loved the attempt to strip the football from Spiller, and the resulting tiff. When was the last time we saw a defense that tried to do that?
- Knowshon Moreno is playing with some fire and confidence. I love it. I don't think he'll be that breakaway back that we might all hope for, but he sure seems to be consistent lately, particularly in the passing game. When he catches the ball on a screen or out on a route, good things happen. I'd like to see him occupy a Marshall Faulk-type role in the offense.
- Rahim Moore. He made me have flashbacks of Steve Atwater with just that one hit. I replayed it several times, and I don't see any other way for him to play it. I see him lead with the shoulder, not the helmet. I see his shoulder make contact before his helmet catches the receiver under the chin. To me, that's a legal hit, and a damn good one. Vaughn was beat by a few steps, and I think the receiver pulls that ball in for a catch if he doesn't know that Moore is coming hard for him.
I feel like the definition of a defenseless receiver will come down to how hard the receiver appears to get hit. Example being later in the game, when Q-Cart gets a decent shot on a receiver down the middle of the field. He appeared to be defenseless as well, but since he popped up and jogged back to the huddle, no flag.
If anything, I would caution Moore to save those hits for the regular season, but there's no way I'd chastise him for that. The safety is supposed to put the fear of god into opposing receivers - hits like that are exactly the way to do so.
- Brandon Lloyd just looks like he's having fun playing football. He makes defensive backs look silly without appearing to break a sweat. This, I really like.
- I love the defense going for the ball. I'm tired of jumping around like we've won the Super Bowl every time we get a takeaway. I want them to be routine.
- My nerves still tell me I should have concerns about the run defense. While we seemed to cover the backside of runs fairly well, the Bills first-string line opened up some massive lanes during the first quarter. Every Bronco within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage had a block that they couldn't seem to shed. That was disconcerting.
- When teams have to pass, however, I feel much better. Miller and Dumervil played like animals out there tonight. Doom seemed to be back to form, swinging around the ends with ease, and staying at home on the backside of several running plays. Miller plays like a man struck by greased lightning. Of course we've all heard how fast his first step is, but you really can't fathom it until you see it in action. He will leave a lot of tackles grasping at air this season. His arm/hand strength also impressed me. Once he gets that arm in contact with the QB, that's it. There is no running out of that grasp.
- How many times does the TV cast have to show us that John Elway is in the Ring of Fame? I love and idolize #7 as much as the next Bronco fan, but I'm pretty sure that his place in the Ring of Fame wasn't going to change during the course of the game.
- Wesley Woodyard reminds me of Brian Dawkins transported to a bigger body. He plays with the same reckless abandon that leads to a few errors, but a lot of good plays. Seeing him make flying tackles tonight did my heart some good.
- The 2nd-string offensive line looked marginally better tonight, at least in pass blocking. In the running game, they were getting absolutely no push. But Quinn seemed to have adequate time to survey the field and throw. I still don't think they are the best we can do, but they seemed to play a little bit better than last week.
- Brady Quinn looked sharp. He looked starter-quality sharp. Far be it from me to prognosticate, but his stock trending up could be valuable if another team realizes they need a better option at QB. Whatever happens, I will be content with our QB situation, but in the last few games, Quinn has made a solid case to be a starter somewhere in the league.
- Lance Ball and Brandon Minor were underwhelming. I realize they were playing behind a shoddy line, but neither has really shown me anything outstanding through the first two games. I feel confident in Moreno/McGahee, but thoroughly apathetic beyond those two.
- I realize our sample size is very small, but I think Tim Tebow runs the screen pass the best out of our QB's. Not to say that any of them fail at the screen, but I think Tim sells it very well. Perhaps it is because defensive lineman expect him to be so indecisive and slow that they get baited in a bit harder? Just a postulation.
- I'm thoroughly satisfied with our Special Teams play. Colquitt is an absolute bomber. If he continues to punt at this pace (59-yard avg tonight), he could very easily boot himself into a Pro Bowl spot. And it doesn't feel like he really outkicked the coverage at any point, either.
- It's sad, but I had to laugh at David Bruton getting his bell rung on a hit that he thought he was dishing out. Can he and McBath ever stay on the field?
- Did anyone see Nate Irving on the field? Maybe it was just that the commentary had so devolved by that point, but I was looking to see something out of Nate, and it never happened.
- I loved Alfred Williams as a player. I don't particularly mind him as an announcer. But Verne Lundquist needs to hang up the microphone. I'll forgive announcers getting player names wrong sometimes - but this guy is a Broncos announcer! He should know these player names and numbers better than anyone! The mistakes of player names/numbers seemed to continue through the night. Did he really think he saw Knowshon Moreno carry the ball in the 4th quarter? C'mon Man.
- Touchbacks irritate me. The defenseless receiver call against Moore irritated me. Violent game, you get violent results. Guys know this going in, and they shouldn't expect to be coddled in playing a game that was their choice to play. I leaned towards the NFL's side during the lockout, but Roger Goodell is limp-wristed approach to reforming the NFL comes across as nothing more than wussification. I hope that teams start to purposely place their kickoffs high, so that they come down inside the field of play. This touchback garbage has got to go.