Sloppily dominant on a sloppy field? The score made it seem closer than it actually was. Road wins are never given, especially against an emotional team dealing with turmoil. Division games never go as it's scripted. This had the looks of a certain blowout. Surprisingly, the offense struggled in the redzone. Have to give some credit to the Raiders. They stepped up on defense when they needed to. I guess some of that credit can go to Kuper for missing the game. Manny Ramirez struggled again. No surprise. Get well soon Kuper.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but the top 3 sack leaders all came out of the 2011 NFL Draft. Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt and Von Miller were all selected in the first round. What a start studded group.They are 1, 2 and 3 in sacks respectively. They've even separated themselves from the rest of the pack by at least 3 sacks. The likes of Demarcus Ware and Jared Allen. It's not even close. These guys are only sophomores and already all getting consideration for NFL Defensive MVPs. This league is no doubt shifting to a passing league. But the great equalizers just came in 2011.
I'm really happy for Knowshon. He's been playing like he has something to prove. He has a fire lit under him. I'm glad the first rounder stayed positive about the benching for majority of the season and humbling himself. He knew he had to earn it back. Rushing for 119 yards with a TD to go along with 48 yards receiving. He adds that element to the team that he can do everything. Most versatile back of the stable. Jack of all trades displaying great patience, vision and burst. He rushed 32 times and each run had the same drive as the first. Best of all, he didn't put the ball on the ground. Broncos rushing 140 to the Raiders 61. Impressive day on the ground.
Call a Timeout!
I was disappointed in how we ended the second drive of the game. After scoring an opening drive TD then forcing the Raiders to go 3 and out. We were once again driving down the field and reached the Raider 15 by using the no huddle. Then it was 3rd and long and we still kept the pace. There was clearly confusion between the WR's when they were getting lined up. Things just did not look right. This was a pretty big down as a second TD would have really started the snowball. Instead, a defender goes unblocked thanks to Manny Ramirez and sacks Peyton for a big loss. And began the redzone struggles for the day.
Demaryius Thomas is light years ahead of where he was a year ago. He's really refining his game to the point that his size isn't the thing getting him open anymore. The tutelage of Peyton clearly shows in DT's development. His route running last year was pretty embarrassing. He would just run and out-muscle the defender. More often than not, it worked for him. Now add the precise route running and great footwork on the sideline and this kid is rapidly shooting to the top. Now you get him the ball when he has room to run afterwards and that makes him even more dangerous. Like his reception to end the first quarter. He caught the slant in stride and rumbled for YAC. Even bouncing off a couple Raiders on the way like they were punters. He's just going to keep getting better.
A big shout out to Matt Prater for playing a great game. He made all 4 of his FG attempts. And he did it like he was mad at the ball. I'm sure he's heard all the whispers going on after going on a missed FG streak. He came back like a boss. Not only did he nail all his FGs, but he also took out his frustration on his kickoffs. Only 1 kick was returned and it didn't even make it to the 10 yard line. Great way to bounce back Matt. We're going to need you.
I don't think anyone can say they were happy with our offense today. This game should have been a 40 point blowout. The positive thing is even when we struggle on offense, we still put up plenty of points to win. We were pretty good on 3rd down though going 7-14. Peyton did see quite a bit of pressure today and I don't think it's a coincidence that Kuper was not on the field again. 2 of 6 in the redzone is not going to cut it in the playoffs. Especially against a team that can put up points.Is 26 points going to beat the Patriots in the playoffs?
Little Quick Notes:
- Definitely cheering for the Texans this Monday night against the Patriots. We really have a solid chance at the first round bye as long as we can take care of our own business.
- This is supposed to be the NFL but this field was just a shame. Did it even rain? I thought it was clear skies. This field was just coming up all night and it actually helped the Raiders. I noticed more Broncos losing their footing than the Raiders. And it definitely slowed our pass rush some.
- I would have to think that we have THE best punt coverage team in the NFL. Colquitt has been booming punts and our guys are just swarming to the ball. This team has been a big advantage for us each and every week. Great coaching.
- Trindon Holliday, you take the good with the bad. He's still missing consistency, but his plus side is too much to ignore. To credit, I do believe he tried to call fair catch, but it wasn't definitive enough to rule. Hope he learned his lesson.
- Champ destroys their momentum after completing a deep pass to Streater over Rahim Moore. Just a play after the crowd rose to their feet, Champ steps in front of a Palmer pass and just quiets the crowd. That's just the difference between this team and the pretend contenders of the past.
- Is it safe to say that the Julius Thomas experiment has been put off til 2013? All the praise I heard about the kid and all we got was 1 catch against the Bengals in 2011 from Kyle Orton. Would love to have a playmaking TE like Shannon Sharpe.
- Uhm, paging Mr. Doom....where are you?
Well, I didn't have much to say about this game because it was so vanilla it seemed like a scrimmage. Sure we had the regular stars making their usual plays. No need to mention Von every week. We all know what he's bringing. Peyton is going to get his numbers. Moreno was the big star of the game, but it was still a sloppy win. On the bright side, we looked ugly and we still dominated. Well, the Broncos have a mini bye before they meet up for potentially the 2nd seed in the AFC playoffs against the Ravens. Hopefully everyone comes back healthy and we bring our A game because we're going to need it. Go Broncos.