As a passionate fan, I have a tendency to overreact to things concerning my beloved Broncos, both the good and the bad. Things are seldom as bad as they seem…the Von Miller and Clady situations come to mind, nor are they always as bright and orange as the kool-aid colored glasses would have me believe. To make my point more clearly, I will take a look at a few things in the game with the Jaguars and look at how each can be viewed as either a positive or a negative and then maybe provide my overall assessment of the game. As a disclaimer, I am just a fan. I have no formal training in play diagnostics, nor do I have the resources to view the game multiple times. These are just things I see from watching the game as it happens (fortunately, I live in Utah, so I do get the majority of the telecasts).
As this will be stat and sight based commentary, I will start with a "by the numbers" approach.
0 – as in 0 sacks against. On the positive side, Manning was not sacked in the game so surely our offensive line is playing well, despite the fact that we lost Franklin for much of the second half. This is after losing Clady and Koppen earlier in the year, so for all intents and purposes, we had only 1 guy (Beadles) playing in his preseason projected place on the line. That’s pretty good.
On the negative, Manning was hurried and hit far more than I am sure any of us are comfortable seeing. It even appeared to me that Manning was a bit skittish, especially in the late first and second quarters. I also can’t fail to mention the two poor exchanges that led to fumbles. Clearly, the line play left something to be desired today.
3 – as in 3 touchdown runs by Knowshon Moreno. Three touchdowns by anyone on the Broncos is a positive so Moreno, and by extension, the run game performed well.
Unfortunately, other than the three scoring plays, Moreno was pretty much bottled up in the run game – finishing with just 42 yds on 15 carries, back to under 3 ypc. Hillman and Ball didn’t provide much either, with multiple instances of dropped passes and putting the ball on the ground. The running game just couldn't get it going against the worst run defense in the league.
12 – as in 12 offensive points scored by Jacksonville. This one is pretty easy. While it is the fewest points given up by the Broncos this year (a positive), this number is also more than the average scored so far this year by the Jaguars (a negative)
35 - as in 35 offensive points scored by the Broncos. First the negatives. We left plenty of points on the board (the Manning fumble at the 4 being the prime example), but it just seemed like the offense was running in quicksand. Guys weren’t getting open, too many drops, Manning not being his normal spectacular self. This was a historic offense that could only muster 35 against the "worst" team in the league.
But on the positive, it was 35 points. That is wonderful offensive production, even if it isn’t quite up to our normal standard. You are going to win a lot of games in the NFL if you can score 35 points a game.
My overall impressions of the game?
Offensively, we clearly did enough to win a game in the NFL. It was not as clean and precise as we have shown in the past, but we still put up over 400 yards and 35 points. That will get it done. Continually putting the ball on the ground won’t. The turnovers are going to hurt us one of these games if we can’t get that straightened out – especially against a team like the (I hate to say it) Chiefs.
Defensively, I am to the point where I can no longer provide any kind of defense (pun intended) for the secondary. They are not good right now. They have the ability to be good, even dominant, and it may end up as being a strength to our defense, but right now, it just isn’t happening. I don’t know if it is a scheme thing or a personnel thing, probably some combination of both, but how can you keep letting the same guy beat you play after play. Justin Blackmon had 14 catches for 190 yards (over half of their 374 yard total). He was their only option for most of the game, yet he was running free time after time. This is becoming a very bad pattern and when Chad Henne can exploit us to the point that he actually produced more yardage than our own PFM, well it is past the time to give excuses. The pass defense (and I include pressure from the line as well) must improve. Von will help as will getting others healthy but right now, this is our Achilles heel – at least as I see it.
But to end on a positive note – despite all the defensive struggles, we were never truly threatened in this game and the ultimate result was a 16 point beat down. We are 6-0 and our young players are getting valuable experience.
19-0 Till we ain’t
What do you think Broncos Country - is the glass half full or half empty?