Horse Whisperings - Division Playoffs Edition

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers loses the ball against Elvis Dumervil of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

As the Denver Broncos take to the friendly skies this week and head to Foxborough to play against the New England Patriots on Saturday, the Weekly Press release is out, which brings another edition of Horse Whisperings. I have covered just about all of the cumulative stats and factoids for the regular season, so this one will be short on commentary. However, those of you who prefer charts over words will enjoy this offering.

2011 DENVER BRONCOS PRO BOWL SELECTIONS

Congratulations to Cornerback Champ Bailey, Defensive End Elvis Dumervil and Linebacker Von Miller. They were the Broncos voted to the 2012 Pro Bowl, which will be played on January 29th at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu at 7 p.m. EST.


Bailey, in his 13th NFL season and eighth year with the Broncos, was named to the Pro Bowl for the 11th time to become one of just six players in league history with that many selections. Named to the Pro Bowl as a Bronco seven times (2004-07, ’09-11), Bailey is the 5th player in club history with at least seven Pro Bowl selections, joining QB John Elway (9), Safety Steve Atwater (8), LB Randy Gradishar (7) and TE Shannon Sharpe (7).

Dumervil, in his sixth NFL season, was named to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection after leading the NFL with a team record 17 sacks in 2009, and his nomination this year came after missing the entire 2010 campaign due to injury.

Miller, whom the Broncos selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft from Texas A&M University, joins kicker David Treadwell (1989) as the only rookies in team history to be named to the Pro Bowl. He is the first rookie linebacker to earn a Pro Bowl selection since Brian Cushing (Hou.), Clay Matthews (G.B.) and Brian Orakpo (Was.) in 2009.


TEBOW’S PLAYOFF DEBUT

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow completed 10-of-21 passes for 316 yards with two touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 50 yards (5.0 avg.) with one score in his playoff debut against Pittsburgh. With his performance, he joined Joe Montana and Jeff Garcia as the only players in NFL postseason history to pass for 300 yards and two scores in addition to rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown. Tebow’s 15.1 yards per passing attempt against Pittsburgh also represented the best mark in NFL postseason history (min. 20 att.), and his 316 passing yards were the most ever by a player in his postseason debut with the Broncos.


PLAYERS TO PASS FOR 300 YARDS AND 2 TOUCHDOWNS AND RUSH FOR 50 YARDS AND 1 TOUCHDOWN, NFL POSTSEASON HISTORY
Player
Opponent
(Date)
Result
Pass
TD Rush TD
Joe Montana
S.F. vs. Mia.
(1/20/85)
Win, 331 3 59 1
Jeff Garcia
S.F. vs. NYG
(1/5/03)
Win, 39-38 331 3 60 1
Tim Tebow
Den. vs. Pit.
(1/8/12)
W, 29-23(OT)
316 2 50

1


MOST PASSING YDS./ATT., NFL POSTSEASON HISTORY (min. 20 att.)

Player Opponent Att. Comp. Yds. Y/A
1. Tim Tebow Den. vs. Pit.(1/8/12) 21 10 316 15.1
2. Terry Bradshaw Pit. vs. LAN (1/20/80) 21 14 309 14.7
3. Peyton Manning Ind. vs. Den. (1/4/04)
26 22 377 14.5
4. Peyton Manning Ind. vs. Den. (1/9/05)
33 27 458 13.9
5. Bob Waterfield LAN vs. Chi. (12/17/50)
21 14 280 13.3


MOST 25+YARD PASSES, SINGLE GAME, NFL POSTSEASON HISTORY


Player Opponent 25+
1. Aaron Rodgers G.B. at Ari. (1/10/10)
7
2. Peyton Manning Ind. vs. Den. (1/9/05)
6
3. Tim Tebow Den. vs. Pit. (1/8/12)
5

Doug Flutie Buf. vs. Mia. (1/2/99)
5

Joe Montana S.F. vs. Cin. (1/22/89)
5

Philip Rivers S.D. vs. Ten. (1/6/08)
5


MOST PASSING YARDS IN BRONCOS POSTSEASON DEBUT
Player
Opponent (Date)
Att. Cmp. Yds TD ONT Rating
1. Tim Tebow
vs. Pit. (1/8/12)
21 10 316 2 0 125.6
2. Jake Plummer
vs. Ind. (1/4/04)
30 23 181 1 2 74.4
3. Craig Morton
vs. Pit. (12/24/77)
23 11 164 2 0 100.6
4. Steve DeBerg
at Sea. (12/24/83)
19 14 131 1 1 87.8
5. Gus Frerotte
at Bal. (12/31/00)
28 13 124 0 1 44.3


DEMARYIUS THOMAS’ POSTSEASON DEBUT


Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas fueled Denver’s 29-23 win against Pittsburgh in the AFC Wild Card round with his four-catch, 204- yard performance, which included an 80-yard game-winning touchdown reception on the first play of overtime. Thomas’ 204 receiving yards represented the most by a Broncos in postseason history and marked the seventh most in NFL playoff annals. His 51.0 receiving average also stands as the 2nd-highest receiving average in any NFL game (min. 4 rec.).

MOST RECEIVING YARDS, SINGLE GAME, BRONCOS POSTSEASON HISTORY


Player
Opponent
Rec. Yds. Avg. TD
1. Demaryius Thomas
vs. Pit. (1/8/12)
4 204 51.0 1
2. Steve Watson
vs. Pit. (12/30/84)
11 177 16.1 1
3. Haven Moses
vs. Oak. (1/1/78)
5 168 33.6 2
4. Shannon Sharpe
at LAA (1/9/94)
13 156 12.0 1
5. Rod Smith
vs. Atl. (1/31/99)
5 152 30.4 1


MOST RECEIVING YARDS, SINGLE GAME, NFL POSTSEASON HISTORY


Player
Opponent
Rec. Yds. Avg. TD
1. Eric Moulds
Buf. at Mia. (1/2/99)
9 240 26.7 1
2. Anthony Carter
Min. at S.F. (1/9/98)
10 227 22.7 0
3. Reggie Wayne
Ind. vs. Den. (1/9/05)
10 221 22.1 2
4. Steve Smith
Car. at Chi. (1/15/06)
12 218 18.2 2
5. Jerry Rice
S.F. vs. Cin. (1/22/89)
11 215 19.5 1
6. Calvin Johnson
Det. at N.O. (1/7/12)
12 211 17.6 2
7. Demaryius Thomas
Den. vs. Pit. (1/8/12)
4 204 51.0 1


HIGHEST RECEIVING AVERAGE, SINGLE GAME, REGULAR SEASON OR PLAYOFFS, NFL HISTORY (min. 4 rec.)
Player
Opponent
Rec. Yds. Avg. TD
1. DeSean Jackson
Phi. vs. Dal. (12/12/10)
4 210 52.5 1
2. Demaryius Thomas
Den. vs. Pit. (1/8/12)*
4 204 51.0 1
3. Gary Clark
Was. vs. Atl. (11/10/91)
4 203 50.8 3
4. Homer Jones
NYG vs. Was. (10/1/67)
4 196 49.0 2
5. Raymond Berry
Bal. vs. Dal. (10/30/60)
4 195 48.8 3
*Playoff game

Demaryius Thomas totaled 25 receptions for 448 yards (17.9 avg.) with three touchdowns in Denver’s final five games. Thomas’ 448 receiving yards during that stretch rank second in team history during the last month of a season (Dec./Jan.).

MOST RECEIVING YARDS IN DECEMBER/JANUARY, BRONCOS HISTORY


Player
Year
GP Rec. Yds. Avg. TDs
1. Brandon Marshall
2007 5 43 478 11.1 3
2. Demaryius Thomas
2011 5 25 448 17.9 3
3. Steve Watson
1982 5 27 433 16.0 2
4. Anthony Miller
1994 4 16 431 26.9 0
5. Rod Smith
1998 4 24 428 17.8 1
I've probably gone on long enough by now, so I will leave you with this: Last years top two picks (Tebow and Thomas) are making meaningful contributions and are beginning to mature. Sure there is room for improvement, but there is also room to grow. This years top draft pick (Von Miller), has made the impact he was drafted for, proving the fact by his Pro Bowl selection. He needs to improve his Run Defense, but that was known on Draft Day. With an offseason to work on these things, this trio will represent part of the core of the Broncos team for years to come.


Go Broncos!


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