What a game. It was a long, arduous night for us Bronco fans. Though I know better, I certainly hope Broncos Country enjoyed this game at least half as much as I did. Seriously. Over the past 3 years our games like this end up as 30 point losses that are over in the 3rd quarter. Think back...the faders at home with Orton at QB. New England games last year were the same way.
I'm very proud of the team...the way they played, the poise they showed while being down by more than two scores for most of the game, and the absolute refusal to give up no matter what. There are some areas of this review I'm going to gush...but make no mistake, we've got some serious bull to talk about today. As always I call it like I see it.
- Let's start with some good ole' fashioned blame. I give you exhibit A: Our pretty new shiny Peyton Manning. Anyone trying to excuse his interceptions as anything but poor choices AND awful throws needs to put down the kool-aid. In EVERY case on his interceptions, the decision was poor as was the throw. In each case he is trying to squeeze the ball into a small window deep down the field with multiple defenders in the area. In each case he clearly showed he doesn't have enough zip to get that pass there fast enough. Can he throw a deep ball? Yes...with an arc he can. He isn't looking good getting a tight window pass down the field like that though. It doesn't have to be on a frozen rope ala our boy Jay toss-it-to-the-other-team Cutler, but it has to get there a helluva lot sooner than he threw it. The replays are out there...go watch.
- Here's problem #2 I have with Peyton in this game and this truly may be extended to McCoy as well as it has to do with play selection. The Falcons constantly were crowding the box whether they were staying there or not and Denver didn't have a clue what to do about it other than try to take shots down the field. Here's a novel idea...short routes to the sides of the field. They were open ALL GAME LONG. Run McGahee out to the flat and let him get you 4 yards on a pass. Have Stoke run a shallow curl or a slant. Use those nice big Tight Ends we have and throw out to the side and keep getting 5 yards a pass. I found it pretty disappointing that we didn't adjust much at all to taking advantage of what was being given to us.
- I have to say again how much of a man-crush I have on Willis McGahee. That dude was in Beast-Mode all game long. His raw power and will kept getting us positive yards when we should have gotten little to nothing. He was unstoppable and should have been used more...it was good to see in the 4th they finally started really using him until it was a clock liability.
- Knowshon had one really great play...because the team called one play that used him correctly. Seriously...how many times do I need to point it out: Knowshon SUCKs running up the middle. Calling a run up the middle with him there is like giving up a down. Stop it. Fake a hand off, then dump it off to him in the flat and let him work. That's where he will excel.
- Stokes continues to impress me. I just wish I could notice him more late in games...both games this year he looks great early then isn't heard of from much at all.
- I thought our line did a very solid job of pass protection against some very tough blitzes. We mostly kept Manning clean.
- DT is really impressing me. I guess I got some white-boy love with Eric Decker in the off season and forgot just how well DT does once the ball is in his hands. His routes still need work, but man we should scheme some ways to get the ball to him in space more (much like Moreno).
- That fumble call was absolute bull...we got the ball on the bottom of the pile. There's no way anyone saw an Atlanta player with it. You clear the scrum then give it to whoever has the ball. That was our team. Screw you replacement refs.
- I think our defensive effort was pretty outstanding overall even when you look at a score like 27. 27 is a lot of points but I'm seeing 40-50 from what teams have done to us in the past.
- Our front 7 continue to lock up the run game. I love this. The funny thing is that they were supposed to be our question mark, not our DBs. What gives?
- Tony Carter isn't a good player yet. But he (and our team) got screwed on a phantom Pass Interference call. It was just atrocious and made me want to throw my TV out the window. I'm not a big fan of stupid. Thanks for the greed Roger Goodell and NFL Owners...let's keep the integrity of the game held to a high standard!
- Rahim Moore again missed an opportunity for a big turnover. When is this kid going to catch one? He's making great breaks and has his hands right there. Go spend some time with the Jugs machine son!
- Here's my big HUGE grips about the D: Red zone intelligence. We had a play action pass to a tight end that no one covered that is unforgivable to me...you HAVE to assign a safety to the TE and have him spy for that, then come in for clean up duty if you see the ball is clearly handed off.
- Also, the TD pass out to the flat where our guys just didn't cover or know who to cover. Porter should have been running in that guy's hip pocket so he could reach around and swat the ball away. You can't play a soft zone inside the 5 kids. You have to COVER!
- Von Miller is a friggin walking nightmare. I saw so much of him this game and it just blows me away. He's just blowing guys up that have 75 lbs on him easy, jetting through (around, or under) double-teams, and making huge plays off blocks that no one has any business making. I'm a big Miller fan and everyone in Bronco Country should be very excited about him. He's got "Impact Player" written all over him. It will be fun to watch him grow even more in the coming years.
- On the flip side where the F is Doom!? Seriously...the guy is disappearing. I was even watching for him and willing him on to get something done. I saw a lot of people covering him one on one and him not really making any headway. Cmon son! That Quarterback is your meat...go chew you some!
- I don't know how many people caught it, but Joe Mays actually played a coverage play in a guys hip pocket on a crossing route and defended a pass! I kid you not! I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes.
- Have a nice one DJ...I'm not seeing any use for you on the field so far this season.
Final Thoughts to Ponder:
- Last week I kept hearing a lot of talk about bucklin up and hangin on cause we're going on quite a ride. I hope this game settles down the Kool-Aid drinkers. Yeah, we might win 12 games and be in the driver's seat for the play offs, but man, we have a LONG road to walk before that happens. Let's just take one game at a time.
- All that talk about Manning being back needs to settle down. He's obviously got work to do and I'm not seeing power on those long throws for picks. All he needs to do is be smart with the ball. That's it. Be smart and work down the field to get points. This whole team is good enough to win a game. We don't need Elway ala 1980s.
- Keep in mind that our early schedule is pretty brutal. My hope is that we come out of the first 6 games 3-3 or better. Losing this one game isn't a big deal really.