Now this is what I was waiting for(a day late posting thanks to Hurricane Sandy). After signing Peyton in the offseason, I was being a realist and acknowledged that it would take time for this team to start clicking. I predicted around game 8. Well, Christmas came early! Everyone knew the offense would have it's way with the bountyless Saints defense, but no one predicted our defense would be so dominant over 1 of the top 3 QBs in the game today. After a performance like this, there isn't much I can really rant about and I'm not complaining.
Sorry D.J. Williams, your services really aren't that necessary(*at OLB). Do you see what Wesley is doing out there? In on 13 tackles, 2 passes defensed, a sack and an interception. Other than Champ, no one had more than 3 tackles on the day. That just shows how insane Wesley was playing that night. Would of also had a forced fumble if Doom would have just tucked the ball away instead of trying to get up and score. Gotta play smart Doom, but this isn't about you. This is about the guy that wasn't big enough or good enough to hold it down for ex-capitan D.J. Many fans on this site were saying Woodyard had no business as a starter, but I felt he was always productive when given the opportunity. One mention that Woodyard was good enough, and you would be chastised as not knowing a thing about football. Just didn't understand why everyone was overlooking Wesley like they didn't see him lead the team in tackles last year when D.J. was out. But who cares. Wood is accountable and you don't have to worry about him driving drunk or giving woolly mammoth urine 6 times. Glad we kept him on the team. Definitely glad he got the extended opportunity to show everyone what I and a few others felt he was capable of.
Winning on First Down
Not sure if anyone else noticed, but we were gashing the Saints on first down. I can't remember many plays where we didn't get 5 yards on the first play. This kept our offense on schedule and really kept the entire playbook open. Manning has gotten all the praise already so I don't need to mention his elite play, but his knowledge and understanding of the game put us in the right play every time. On the flip side, our defense was still winning on first down. Most of the time the Saints would only gain 2 yards on the first play. 2 yards on first down is always considered a loss. Great job by our entire team on first downs.
Our offense ground out 530 total offense and the defense gave up a paltry 252 total yards. Our offense didn't give up a sack, again. Our defense was 1-12 on third downs. Complimentary football at its best. I would have preferred more sacks, but the pressure was crazy all night long. Brees may have only been sacked once, but each throw was adversely affected by the rush. Even the special teams played pretty dang special. 55 yards to their -1! Sproles was totally held in check and didn't kill us on special teams like he's used to doing. A big shoutout to Jeff Rodgers for coaching up a reliable special teams. They've been consistent all year long. Outstanding game where I can't really rant too much about.
Depth is Getting Deep
I feel like a proud dad seeing all these first and second year players contributing to a team win. Virgil Green made his debut as a passing threat. Great YAC from an athletic manchild with a great hurdle! The scary part is Julius Thomas was the TE getting all the buzz as a rookie? What's that gonna look like when JT gets on track? Scary good! Even saw Omar Bolden out there making plays on defense. No need to even mention Chris Harris and Tony Carter. They got plenty of love last week and I already expect production from them.
Danny Trevathan impressed me the most. He was tasked with a tough job of covering Jimmy Graham all night, but he held his own. Nearly intercepting a pass early on. He may have given up a few catches, but at least he's there to make the tackle after the catch instead of having to chase down someone that's faster than you which is pretty pointless at that point. He did show his green colors when Sproles left him in his dust on a TD reception, but that's advantage Sproles against any LB. Welcome to the NFL rookie. Other than that, I am excitedly impressed with our 6th round pick.
Ease in Slowly.....That's What She Said
You can just feel the patient progression of adding the Hillman element to the offense. Week after week since getting healthy, Ronnie's opportunities have been gradually increasing. His pass blocking has been impressive which is a big surprise. He's even man handling LB's 50 lbs bigger than him. Like he did in the Charger game. But blocking is not what he's used for. The big play is what I consider the Hillman element. This kid has a great burst. You can notice that he's still a little hesitant and undecided. Sort of like Moreno, but unlike Sauced, he has the speed for the big play. If we can get this kid to hit holes like McGahee, we'll be an even more dynamic offense. Even more than one that put up over 500 yards twice already this season.
Little Quick Notes:
- Fumbles really need to stop. Why must we have a 1 per game quota?
- Good thing we renegotiated that contract with Ty Warren. Saved a pretty penny for zero productivity.
- Maybe, just maybe Vontaze Burfict was worth the risk. This kid is already starting for the Bengals. For going undrafted and unwanted, he's really producing. We could use a MLB right about now.
- Trindon Holliday finally made his debut. Kid is quick! It's only a matter of time before he breaks one. Glad we upgraded this part of the game.
On to the Bengals. Don't really know how to judge this team. Dalton was hot as a rookie, but is going through a sophomore slump like the other sophomore we're going to meet next week. They have a big play receiver in A.J. Green but other than that I don't see where they have an advantage over us. Champ will be all over him anyway so I'm not too concerned. I'm expecting a couple forced turnovers and a bunch of no huddle offense. Hillman will get his first TD! Go Broncos!