No whammies, no whammies, no whammies....womp womp. Well that stinks. Going into this game I felt real confident in our chances. I had Patriots fans all around me and again, I'm the big loser in the room. I had the feeling that we were finally getting over the hump and into the upper echelon teams of the NFL. Then reality hit me right across the face that we are still the same old middle of the pack Denver Broncos. We are not in contention at this point. I keep trying to fool myself into denying the fact that this team probably won't be ready until next year to make a serious run for another ring. I'm impatient and tomorrow is not guaranteed so I want results RIGHT NOW. As unlikely as that may be. Clearly we need more pieces to complete the puzzle. We got gashed for 251 rushing yards and and a record setting 35 first downs. It was just brutal seeing them constantly converting first downs and keeping their drive alive. At the same time keeping our best chance of winning, on the sideline. Another sad day in Denver and across the country for all the remote Bronco fans like myself.
When you're playing the most successful team of the past decade, you can not turn the ball over. DT fumbles on a long pass play, AGAIN. Manning fumbles on a strip sack. McGahee did his best to join Moreno in the dog house. An easy drop on 4th down and fumble in the red zone as we're surging back into the game. The Patriot fans were real nervous at that point. No longer were they smiling and relaxing, they were all tense and couldn't stay seated. We had them on their heels. Again, if we get Peyton the ball back down just 3, we win this game. It's the same old scenario with each loss. Too much of a deficit with not enough time. Hoping they get these ironed out and start play complementary football like they did against the Raiders.
As good as the Rookie of the Year has played in his short career, this may have been his greatest game. At least the second half was an All-Pro performance. We needed a playmaker to step up and impact the game. Von did exactly what I needed. He totaled 8 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass broken up(at the same time I'm yelling to the TV that we need a pick 6), 2 QB hits and constant pressure. Only thing missing right now is an interception and a TD. This kid has really put it together. He was unstoppable in the second half. Blowing up running plays and constantly getting to Brady. This is a gem that BETTER retire a Bronco.
Who's Covering the TE?
Reviewing this game in the preseason, who would have thought that the TE's that made a difference in this game would be on the Broncos? As weak as our defense was this weekend, they definitely game planned to take Gronkowski out of the game. Which they did successfully. Oooor, the Patriots just wanted to attack with Welker. Which they did successfully. Tamme and Dreessen were sure handed and helped convert a couple 3rd downs. It's definitely been a pleasure to see the use of the TE again in Denver. Glad this part of the offense is starting to click. It's a season of progression. More and more pieces are starting to contribute to this offense. Eventually, we will be unstoppable...hopefully
No more argument here. Peyton Manning is back to form. Two weeks in a row now, he has been the best QB in the NFL. Such a comforting feeling to know that you're probably going to convert that 3rd down. Long gone are the consecutive 3 and outs that we've had in the recent past. Those just killed the momentum and just fatigued our defense. No more concerns about the most important position on the team. We're in good hands. He even had the gumption to go deep on 4th down! I love it.
Well, after 5 games, we're the same old porous defense of yesteryear. I was really hoping JDR would make an marked improvement on this defense. I was dead wrong. We don't have enough playmakers on this defense to be top 5 in the league. Von Miller is the only one out there making plays consistently. Champ is still elite, but he rarely gets any action to make a difference. Though he did get beat several times by B.Lloyd. The Patriots converted first downs all day long. Usually to Welker. Chris Harris was toast this game. He didn't find the same success he did last year against the top slot receiver in the league. I would think at some point, we would realize where the ball is going. The Patriots knew Stokley was the go to guy on 3rd down, so they game planned for it. They had a guy cover him and had another guy on the inside waiting for him to come across and bumped him off his route disrupting the play leading to an incomplete. Know your opponent.
No Huddle Offensive
Can someone local, please tell me if the Broncos are running a no huddle offense in practice? From the looks of things, the defense has never faced it before. That is the formula for beating this defense. We struggle mightily against the hurry up offense. We just can't get off the field. Players look lost out there and aren't even aligned by the time the ball is snapped. It makes no sense to me when the greatest no huddle QB is on the same team! At this point, I see every team running the no huddle until our defense finally stops it consistently.
More Than Meets the Eye
With Optimus Prime, you see the 188 yards, but then you realize he fumbled away the ball again. You see the gaudy numbers, but don't see a stat for the blocks he makes. He was more of an unknown going into the draft. Little did I know about the playmaking ability of this WR from an option school. So, is anyone still upset we didn't take Dez Bryant instead? I think that argument is mute at this point. He was money with the ball in the air this week. He is actually getting better. I don't recall him dropping any passes this week, or last. He's still a fairly young WR so his biggest hurdle is consistency. He is well on track to being one of the elite receivers, especially with a Manning throwing to him. Right now, he's a probowl receiver with the potential to be All Pro.
Little Quick Notes:
- Derek Wolfe was manly with his sack of Brady. Brought the pressure right up the middle like we drafted him to do. Now if only he can do it consistently.
- Dan Koppen played well in relief of J.D. Walton. He may have even outplayed his successor. Glad we signed him when we did. It may have actually been an upgrade.
- Was so excited to see Kuper out there for the coin toss. Super depressed when I saw Ramirez playing at right guard...
- It still pains me to see Knowshon being inactive on game day. He's perfect for the Peyton Manning offense but instead, we're using Ball in his place. McGahee should not be the one out there catching passes in the flat. That's not his game. Knowshon is perfect for this and we're just not taking advantage of his abilities. Seeing that dropped 4th down pass by Willis makes this coaching decision even more irritating.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. The season is not lost. Yea, the excuse of, "we lost to 3 of the best teams in the league", is getting old. Guess what, we're playing the 2nd toughest schedules in the league because we are lined up to play the best teams. We're still trying to get over that hump and we're getting close. This team is still not clicking. This will take time. Going 3-3 into the bye is actually a favorable outcome. Broncos need to move on to the next game against the division rival Chargers. They're atop the division right now so it's imperative we win this game. Win the division first and foremost. Remember, the Giants came down to the last game of the regular season to get a shot at winning 2 rings. All they needed was a shot. Go Broncos!