Tie game. Seven seconds left. The Broncos QB starts back at his own 32 yard line. The ball is snapped. He drops back he looks and he chucks it deep to the WR WHO CATCHES THE BALL. Fox calls a timeout. Matt Prater is on the field. Can the Broncos really win like this? The ball is snapped, the hold is good and the KICK IS GOOD! Broncos win! Broncos win! UNBELIEVABLE! The Broncos win on a miracle pass and catch! What a play! What a game!
Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. The Broncos vs Cardinals game was not that exciting, but the ending was real. After the Cardinals tied the game with 52 seconds left, Adam Weber chucked up a prayer to Greg Orton who went up and caught the ball. Matt Prater kicked the game winning field goal and the Broncos won 16-13. They narrowly avoided the most dreaded phrase in all of football: Pre-Season Overtime. There were some very good performances in this game and some not so good ones. Let's jump into the Studs and Duds
Adam Weber, Greg Orton and Matt Prater
In retrospect, I bet Fox regrets putting in Adam Weber. I think the Bronco's plan was to hide Weber to make sure they could stash him away on the Practice Squad. They gave him a shot and he made the most of it. I hope we can squeeze Weber on the practice squad. He got limited time, but every time he played, he performed well. Let's hope this great play doesn't bite the Broncos in the butt. Great play by Weber and great catch by Orton who had a rough day catching the ball up until this. Weber finished the day 2/4 for 57 yards while Orton finished with 3 catches for 57 yards. Prater hit the game winning field goal along with 2 others to finish the day 3-3. Re-signing Prater? Money well spent.
Danny Trevathan had 7 tackles at the end of the 1st quarter. He finished with 8 tackles, 1 TFL and 1 PD. Trevathan has great instincts and is a very good tackler. Trevathan reminds me a lot of Wesley Woodyard. He will definitely make the 53 team after a very good final performance.
Bolden has his ups and downs in coverage, but he definitely made his mark on this game when he returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. The timing could not have been better seeing as the Broncos are looking for a permanent returner. If there was any question as to whether Bolden would make the team, there isn't a question anymore. His position is locked after one fantastic play.
Jackson continues his strong pre-season with another fantastic performance against the Cardinals. Jackson had a noteworthy day totaling 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL and 1 PD. Jackson is a hybrid DE/DT. All of his work was against backups, but he has clearly shown that he deserves a spot on the team. I see a lot of upside in him.
For the second straight week, Moreno was running hard. The results speak for themself. 7 carries for 49 yards and 1 catch for 8 yards. Moreno is super talented. He just can't stay healthy. So what do the Broncos do? Well there are three options. They can keep him, they can cut him or they can trade him. I don't see how they can cut him. They could definitely keep him, but it will be interesting to see if the Broncos trade Moreno. If they do trade him, I would expect them to keep..
I really like this guy. He is quick and has good hands. He ran the ball 5 times for 31 yards and caught 1 pass for 12 yards. If the Broncos trade Moreno, that could mean Johnson could get a roster spot which would be a smart idea. McGahee is the starter and Ball is (somehow) the backup and Hillman will be in the mix as well. As it stands, the Broncos don't have a RB they can put on the PS so if McGahee were to get injured, the Broncos would be pretty screwed. If I'm the Broncos, I keep Moreno or Johnson and put a RB on the practice squad.
Johnson continues to impress me with his play. Like Trevathan, he always seems to be around the ball and he made another Special Teams tackle tonight. At this point, I would be shocked if he isn't on the 53 man roster. I wouldn't be shocked if Mike Mohammad wasn't.
Hillman got the most carries today after missing most of the pre-season and he made the most of them. He carried the ball 14 times for 68 yards and showed the shiftiness that made analysts compare him to Darren Sproles. If healthy, Hillman will be a contributor this year and will have a big role on the team in the future.
Call me crazy, but I see a tiny bit of Brandon Marshall in Robinson in the way he goes for YAC. He is shifty for a guy his size and is clearly Osweiler's favorite. For as long as Brock is in Denver, Robinson should be too. He will be on the Practice Squad if he isn't swooped up by anyone.
Irving wasn't perfect, but he was active tonight. He had 4 tackles, 1 TFL and a fumble recovery. He's a lock to make the 53 just because of his draft status and the Broncos weak LB corps, but I like the improvements that I have seen in Irving. He isn't a starter, but he is improving. That's better then the opposite.
Green isn't going to be available for the first 4 games, but he has had a better pre-season then Julius Thomas and that's the important thing. Green caught 2 passes for 45 yards and is a versatile TE/FB hybrid who also pays some Special Teams. Green is a lock to make the team. Thomas on the other hand....
Kudos to all of these players for getting a sack. I have been rooting for Garland simply because he has been dedicated to this team despite being in the United States Air Force. I hope they put him on the Practice Squad. Siligia and Blatnick are candidates as well.
Down by 3 in the final pre-season game with 58 seconds left and he kicked the field goal?! Cue Adam Sandler
Caleb Hanie is not good. If he had a lead for the backup job going into tonight, he absolutely lost it with his performance. Granted, he didn't have the best protection, but even when he did have protection, he was bad. He finished going 7/13 for 75 yards and took so many unnecessary sacks. Hanie needs to be cut. He hasn't proven he's worth a contract.
You have had virtually no pre-season. You get a chance to make a play. The ball is passed to you and you don't catch the ball. Granted, it was good coverage, but you need to catch the ball. I would know. I re-watched the play 6 times. You could have and should have caught the ball. I honestly don't know if Thomas makes the team. He might just because Green is suspended, but when Green comes back, they might try to put Thomas on the Practice Squad.
These replacement refs are HORRIBLE. Since the beginning, I've been in the "don't pay the refs" camp because I felt that it couldn't get much worse then some of the refs I saw last year. Unfortunately, I was very wrong. These refs don't even know the rules. I'm not sure some of them can speak in complete sentences. I miss Ed "Muscles" Hochuli.
Backup Offensive Line
There were some good points, but there were also a lot of bad points too. Several players caught my eye (in a bad way) including Phillip Blake who wasn't quick enough to block a 3rd string Cardinal who knifed his way and got a sack in the 4th quarter.
Thompson needed a big play to try and make this team. He really could have used an electric punt return, but unfortunately, that didn't happen. He had his big play when he got an interception in the 4th quarter. However, he also was shown being beat more then a couple times this game. I don't know if he was missing safety help or not, but it didn't look good. Overall an up and down day for Squid which will result in a cut.
QB: Manning, Osweiler
HB: McGahee, Ball, Hillman, Moreno
TE: Dreessen, Tamme, Thomas
OL: Clady, Beadles, Walton, Kuper, Franklin, Ramirez, Clark, Blake, Hills
WR: Decker, Thomas, Caldwell, Stokley, Willis
DE: Dumervil, Wolfe, Ayers, Beal
DT: Warren, Bannen, Unrein, Vickerson, Jackson
LB: Miller, Mays, Woodyard, Trevathan, Irving, Brooking, Johnson
CB: Bailey, Porter, Harris, Florence, Bolden
S: Moore, Adams, Carter, Bruton, Leonhard
ST: Brewer, Prater, Colquitt
Suspended: Green, Williams
QB Adam Weber
WR Gerrell Robinson
DE Ben Garland
DT Sealver Siligia
LB Mike Mohammad
RB To Be Determined
That's all for this game folks. Tomorrow, 22 players will lose their jobs. It should be a tough day and some interesting decisions will be made. Will Knowshon make it? Will Jeremy Beal make it? Will Julius Thomas make it? Is there a surprise cut that could come (Drayton Florence perhaps?)? Tune back in tomorrow to find out. Until next time, MHR.