There's no question that the Denver took a giant dump of a first quarter in Atlanta last night. After FOUR first quarter turnovers it should have been game over right then. But with Manning at the helm I still always felt like we were in it. And well Manning didn't end up having a good game, but wow after FOUR first quarter and Atlanta only wins 27-21... It was a determined Willis McGahee and a Tough D that kept the game close. And the way I see it could have very well won the game had the replacement refs not made Two Bad (among a bunch of other bad and questionable calls) probably in affect giving Atlanta 7 to 11 possible bad call points. Follow after the jump and I'll explain why I'm still excited about Broncos football!!
** Allow me to throw out a few disclaimers for those who think its crazy to be excited in a loss **
* yes Manning had a terrible first quarter (that ultimately did lose us the game)
* yes the OL struggled to pass protect and Manning finished the game pretty poorly overall
*yes JDR has some questions to answer about his Pass Rush
*yes the Red Zone D got fooled for two easy touchdowns
*yes there were a few (not a bunch) of other blown coverages.
*So while I am saying they could have won (if not the refs) I'm not saying the necessarily should have.
Nevertheless Despite "Manning's crash to earth" as they are calling it, I still think we can count on him. He was the victim of an incredible Mike Nolans Defense well executed by Atlanta. Even still we were great with the run! (something Manning never had as a Colt) In what was suppose to be a shootout, McGahee and DT managed to grind out 21 hard fought points
Lost in 4 first quarter turnovers is the fact that the D only allowed 13 points from it. a gimme from the one yard line that Atlanta only barely got in, but i mean a yard... thats an easy 0-7. The following turnover was followed by a field goal. the following turnover (#3) was followed by back to back 3 and out efforts by the D. the yet another turnover (which post game commentators said it was Decker who was the one who came up with the ball(first down Denver =p)) only equated to another field goal. despite terrible field position, only 13 points!!
The 2nd Qrt drive by Atlanta was kept alive by a blatantly bad DPI call. To be fair the rest of that drive was successful... but without that frustrating gimme 18 yards on what should have been a dropped ball and facing a 3 and 7.. maybe the Broncos make the stop. Maybe they have to punt, and maybe to score is 7-13 going into the half not 7-20 (for those keeping track that's a Broncos 21-20 victory if the scores stay the same)
Now on that touchdown scoring drive mistakes were made after the bad call. im not saying the Falcons don't still score but with the forced field goals and 3 and outs from earlier i like to D took keep momentum and make the stop...
Falcons 13* first half points
As we know there was only one touchdown drive in the second half for the Falcons . I think overall the Defense made good adjustments mostly forcing the Falcons to punt even a couple back to back 3 and outs. I think everyone will agree that the Falcons have a dynamic passing offense but they wanted to run the ball to kill the clock, but we stuffed the run, oh my god did we stuff M. Turner good, forcing Ryan to throw and ultimate save that one drive would have nothing to show for it. Here's where that second extra bad call affects the game. Yes Ryan caught us off guard to start but that bad holding call on Bailey made it 1-goal from the 6 instead of 2-6 from the 11... im not sure the Broncos hold em to 3.. but they could have...
Falcons 16-20* falcons final score
Now i know games arent played in a vacuum maybe even with perfect officiating the Falcons still score 27 or maybe if they only lead at half by 6 it becomes more of a shootout... or maybe our tough running keeps them off the field and our D hold em to 16 or 20... it COULD have happened that way. And thats what should be exciting to us Bronco fans. Even tho there was bad officiating and Manning laid an egg of a first quarter, the fact is that until the very last drive we were still in it. we have a very dangerous team in the making is what I think! I'm excited for Broncos football!! 15-1 till we ain't!