The Broncos have officially won their first game of the 2011 season. On Saturday night, the Denver Broncos defeated the Buffalo Bills 24 -10 in their home opener. It was a fun game to watch. Both Denver's starting units had great moments and the second units had some good moments too. It's hard to believe that the Broncos had the same record as the Bills last year. If last night was any indication, it certainly won't be that way this year. I've got lots to talk about and it's 3 o clock in the morning already. Let's get to it.
Wow. Was I the only one who was left speechless after seeing Von get his first sack as a Bronco? He exploded off the line of scrimmage, went around the tackle and hit Fitzpatrick before he even finished his drop back. The kid has got some ridiculous speed. McGeorge said it perfectly, "hat was the play of a #2 overall pick". He finished the day with 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL. Miller showed last night the kinds of mismatches he can create. He's a unique talent with unique abilities. With him and Doom, offensive tackles better be at their best when they face us. Speaking of Doom...
Doom was out all last year and I forgot just how good he was. Now I remember. Doom is one of the best pass rushers in this league. He didn't get a sack today, but he was pretty close a couple of times. Once, he literally got his hands on Fitzpatrick before he got the ball away just in the nick of time. Aside from his pass rush ability, Doom made some nice plays against the run as well. He finished the day with 4 tackles, 1 TFL I'm very excited to see how Doom and Miller work together this year. In fact, the thought makes me downright giddy.
For the second week in a row, both running backs have impressed. I don't know what has gotten into Knowshon, but he looks better then ever before. He's smoother, quicker, and isn't dancing at the line like he used to. He finished the day with 6 carries for 28 yards along with 2 catches for 21 yards.
McGahee has definitely proved himself in the short amount of time he has been here. After a nice debut last week, McGahee impressed even more last night. He carried the ball 5 times for 6 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, he caught 2 passes for 33 yards. This is significant because it gives Denver versatility as either Knowshon and Willis could be used on 3rd downs. In two pre season games, our run game has looked better then the majority of the games the last two years.
Was Brandon Lloyd a one year wonder? Was he just a benefit of a pass happy Josh McDaniels offense? Those was the question that we all wanted to know the answers to. If yesterday was any indication, he is no one year wonder. Lloyd looked great against Buffalo catching 4 passes for 55 yards and nearly brought down a one handed sideline diving catch that would have been the top play on sportscenter. Lloyd looks like he is really enjoying himself out there. If he keeps performing, Denver should consider locking him up for the next 3-5 years.
Orton looked good in his first extensive amount of play. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 135 yards and 1 touchdown. Another one of his drives ended with a Willis McGahee touchdown. Orton continues to look solid and it's only a matter of time before Fox officially names him the starter.
Aside from a goal line interception, Brady played very well last night. He looked calm, poised, and went through his reads well. He threw 10 of 16 for 130 yards including a 24 yard touchdown to Britt Davis. Brady is working hard and it's possible he overtakes Tebow as the #2 QB, but he's still a longshot to overtake Orton and that's all that really matters.
Officially, D.J. Williams had just 1 tackle last night. So why is he a stud? Because the stats don't tell the whole story. D.J. was relentless last night. He showed some pass rushing skill as he crushed Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first half on a blitz. He also capitalized off of a Joe Mays deflection and intercepted the ball. D.J. has drawn mixed reviews throughout his career in Denver, but last night, he left no doubt.
Broderick picked a great time to show up. After a mediocre debut last week, Broderick played very well last night. He did well against double teams, but he also did some good things against the pass which is a pleasant surprise since he didn't do that in Philly. He batted down a pass and he nailed Fitzpatrick too. With the recent injuries to Ty Warren and Marcus Thomas, Broderick is making a nice push to be the full time starter.
Make that back to back good weeks for Cassius Vaughn. Vaughn continues to play well and solidify his spot on the team. He should get a lot of playing time this year. It's pretty amazing how much progress he has made. Last year, he was an undrafted free agent who was just a special teams player. Now, he could be our starting nickel corner. Hard work pays off folks and it's obvious Vaughn has been putting in a ton of work.
I saved the best for last. I want to take this time to get on my hands and knees and thanks John Elway and John Fox for hiring Dennis Allen as the team's defensive coordinator. Do you guys remember last year's defense? I know it's painful to think about, but just try. Do you remember how difficult it was for us to put any pressure on opposing teams? We would go several drives without even hitting the quarterback. With Allen at the helm, it seems like we hit the quarterback every other play and it's not just the same players either. From the top of my head, Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, D.J. Williams, Broderick Bunkley, Andre Goodman, and Joe Mays all got hits on the Bill's quarterbacks. It's only pre season and Allen will surely be judged by how this team performs during the year, but it is abundantly clear to me that he is ten times the coordinator that Wink Martindale was.
Per Request. 59 yards per punt. Unbelievable.
I want to give a special shout out to Rahim Moore because I don't think his hit was illegal. He absolutely crushed a Bills WR, but it certainly looked like he hit him with his shoulder, not his helmet. They called a penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver, but I really don't care. That hit was awesome and I approve.
Shout out to Quinton Carter who also nailed a Bills WR in the 2nd half of the game.
Woodyard caught my eye a couple of times yesterday. He was all over the field. He finished the day with 7 tackles, and a pass deflection. Woodyard might be our best backup linebacker. He's also a special teams stud. I would actually like to see what he could do in a starting position, but that's unlikely.
The defenses started off slow yesterday. In fact, we let Buffalo score the first 3 points of the game. Denver's first team D gave up too many runs for first downs. Denver will need to shore up our run D before we face our AFC West foes who will try to run the ball down our throats.
After being moved ahead of Nate Jones on the depth chart, Cox struggled some yesterday. He did have a couple nice pass break ups including one in the end zone, but he also gave up some passes and had a touchdown thrown on him. For a guy who is on the bubble especially with legal trouble, he will need to play better next week.
Ball is a guy who has been regularly predicted to be Denver's 3rd RB, but he could be in danger of losing the job. He led the team with 7 carries, but only ran for 20 yards. His 2.9 yards per carry was the 2nd worst of any RB on the team. To his credit, he did catch two passes for 19 yards, but all our RB's seem to be competent in the pass game. Ball will need to step it up.
The media are so stupid. We demolish the Bills and the only thing they can talk about is how Tebow was #3 on the depth chart despite the fact that Fox has said it means nothing. I hate the media people who try to make big stories out of nothing (Bill Williamson)
Broncos vs Screen Passes
The past two weeks, Denver has had trouble containing screen passes. I don't know if it's our defensive line or our linebackers, but we have got to figure it out because every time a team runs a screen on us, they gain a bunch of positive yards. So far in the pre season, both teams have been successful running screens against us.
Denver did not leave this game unscathed. LB Mario Haggan apparently hurt his shoulder and David Bruton ended up going to the hospital after the game. Let's all hope he is okay. Additionally, a couple Bears players were pretty badly injured, One of their RB's went down and had to be carted off the field. Obviously that doesn't effect the Broncos, but you never want to see injuries like that in the pre season or at all unless it's Phillip Rivers.
The Broncos continue to try and work on this. We committed 6 penalties for 55 yards against the Bills. It's a step up from our game against the Cowboys, but we still need to clean up these things.
New Kickoff Rule
I'm not sure if we will have 10 kickoffs returned this year due to this stupid new kickoff rule. The Mile High air sails the kickoffs into the stands.
There you have it folks. I hope you all enjoyed the game, I know I did. I look forward to our next game against the Seattle Seahawks. Until next time, MHR.