Handing Out Horseshoes: Week 9

Justin Edmonds

If Game Balls go to the Stars, Horseshoes go to the Supporting Cast.

Passing out Game Balls for the Denver Broncos victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was fairly easy, but these guys are playing as a unit and through unselfish play (pay attention DJ), have "Raised the Boat." Expectations have elevated as well. If this were a movie script, the Game Balls would go to the Leading Actors and the Horseshoes would go to the Supporting Actors. With that in mind, let’s see how this story plays out.

OFFENSE
I am giving the Gold Horseshoe to the Broncos Offensive Line. Quarterback Peyton Manning hasn't been Sacked in a month (Week 5 @New England - 10/7/12). That’s 3 games and it isn’t a coincidence that Denver won all three games. If Peyton didn’t have the time to work his Mile High Magic, the Broncos would be 3-5 instead of 5-3. This week, the Broncos Offense was an outstanding 64.3% (9 of 14) on 3rd Down conversions. That is how it’s done.

The Big men--the lunch pail guys--the Blue collar dudes, whatever you may call them, they are getting the job done in the trenches. So Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, Dan Koppen, Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin--Here’s a Mile High Salute to you!


Peyton Manning gets the Silver Horseshoe this week, for getting himself in and right back out of trouble and claim the victory over the Bengals. With a little help from his friends of course.
Manning finished the day going 27/35 for 291 yards, a 77.1% Completion Rate, 3 Touchdowns, 2 Interceptions to Terence Newman and a 105.8 QB Rating.

Tight End Joel Dreesen gets a Horseshoe this week for making 4 catches in 4 targets, a feat he has accomplished once already this season (Week 5 vs. NE). He also caught his 4th Touchdown pass of 2012. It came on a 1-yard pass from Manning at 11;47 in the 4th Quarter to make the score 24-20 after Matt Prater’s conversion. That proved to be the game-winner for the Broncos. For the season, Joel has 21 catches in 28 targets for a 75% catch rate. He averages 9.1 yards per reception with only 1 dropped ball.

DEFENSE
Cornerback Champ Bailey gets the Gold Horseshoe on Defense for Week 9. His assignment for the day was none other than A.J. Green (51 catches, 8 TDs). Champ had a rough go of it and allowed a Touchdown catch in the 3rd Quarter that might have been a push off, but Green made a nice grab anyway. Bailey did get even with an Interception of his own in the 4th Quarter, which turned into Eric Decker’s 2nd Touchdown of the day.

He finished with 6 Tackles, 1 Pass Breakup and his 33rd career Interception as a Bronco. That ties him with Mike Harden for the 5th-most in franchise history. Champ has been thrown at 38 times, allowing 20 catches and 1 Touchdown with 1 Interception, 28 Tackles and 2 Pass Breakups in 325 Pass coverage snaps.


I’m giving the Silver Horseshoe to the Defensive Line. Those guys made an impact and set the tone for the game. They helped the Denver Defense hold the Bengals to a paltry 35.7% (5 for 14) on 3rd Down and kept enough pressure to help Sack Andy Dalton 5 times for 24 yards. They also kept Linebacker Wesley Woodyard clean so he could swarm to the ballcarrier and make Tackles. Wes had 4 Tackles and 10 Assists, so Mission Accomplished D-Line.

Derek Wolfe had 6 Tackles, 1 Hurry and 1 Batted Pass. Elvis Dumervil had 5 Tackles, 1 Sack, a Quarterback Hit, 1 Hurry and a Tackle For Loss. Justin Bannan had 3 Tackles and a Batted Pass. Kevin Vickerson (1 TKL), Mitch Unrein (1 TKL, 1 Hurry) and Robert Ayers (1 TKL and 2 Hurries) rounded out the unit. All total, they accounted for 17 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Tackle For Loss, 1 Quarterback Hit, 5 Hurries and 2 Batted Passes.
The Young guys deserve mention here too. Danny Trevathan Sacked Andy Dalton to hold Cincinnati to a Field Goal in the 1st half and finished with 6 Tackles. Chris Harris (6 TKL, 1 TFL) made the most of his 1 Pass Breakup to force a punt. Rahim Moore (3 TKL) had a 5 yard Tackle For a Loss on a 3rd and 22 to force a Punt, and Tony Carter (2 TKL, 2 PBU’s) also accounted for a forced punt on a 3rd down try. Now you know this is a good thing when you see production out of 2 draft picks and 2 CFA’s in the same year. None of these guys were 1st round locks either. Can you say JACKPOT?


SPECIAL TEAMS
Britton Colquitt gets the Gold Horseshoe this week. Colquitt punted 3 times on Sunday, all in the 1st half. The Punt Coverage Unit did their job supporting Colquitt too, because his Net yardage for the game was higher than the Gross punting yardage. By 1 yard. That is an effective punting game. Of course there were a few breakdowns in the Kick Coverage Unit, but overall, the Bronco Special Teams out scored the Bengals 7-0 on Trindon Holliday’s Kick Return Touchdown.

David Bruton gets an Honorable Mention for his Tackle on Adam Jones during Colquitt’s last punt. Jones did not gain a yard. Bruton also fielded/recovered the Onside Kick Attempt by the Bengals in the 4th Quarter.

That’s it for the accolades this week. Denver goes back on the road to visit Head Coach John Fox’s old team, the Carolina Panthers.

Go Broncos!

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