Denver Broncos 45, Washington Redskins 21: Instant Reactions

Justin Edmonds

Get some swagger back Broncos fans, we got the "D" back in our Defense.

The story could easily be Peyton Manning with 2900 yards and 29 TD's at the halfway point, both on pace to shatter all time single season records. It could be the fact that the Broncos scored 38 unanswered en route to a 45-21 victory.

It could also be the fact that the Broncos set a league record through 8-games with 343 points scored (42 and change per game).  It could be that the Broncos spoiled Mike Shanahan's homecoming and exacted some revenge on the former coach for a number of bad personnel decisions that ultimately led to the Josh McDaniels era.

But the biggest takeaway from today?  We've got our defense back baby!

This group allowed 14 points, 7 of which came on a short field after a turnover, 7 of which game after an idiotic 12 men on the field penalty that gave the Redskins a 2nd chance before halftime.  Let me throw some numbers at you on just how dominant this defensive performance was:

- RG III 143 yards passing 4.4 yards per attempt, 7 yards rushing 1.4 yards per rush

- 266 total yards, 112 rushing yards after giving up close to 80 in the first half

- 3 sacks and constant pressure, 4 interceptions, 1 strip sack by Von Miller himself, 5 total turnovers

Really, the only concern early on was the Redskin running game that seemed to be clicking for Alfred Morris and Roy Helu.  But once the game got close, and finally when the Broncos reclaimed the lead, the pressure was on RGIII and our pass rush was ready and willing, as was our secondary.

It took until week 7 last year for the defense to start clicking, was this our coming out party this week?

Offense

- Franklin looked a bit slow early on and got beaten by Ryan Kerrigan who caused a fumble by Peyton Manning as he was about to throw the ball.

- Don't know how serious the injury to Julius Thomas was, but it sure was nice to have folks like Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme step in during his absence.

- I love Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, but Decker still is not playing through the whistle and still is calling for the flags.  I hate that, play as hard as you can from snap to finish and let the refs call the game.  Demaryius Thomas needs to fight much harder with DeAngelo Hall downfield for that jump pass.

In fact I'm going to rail on the top two WR's as a whole.  Both are huge, strong guys, and both are playing much smaller than their stature and physicality that they are capable of.  Get in the weight room boys and learn how to counter press coverage more effectively.

- How great was it to see all three backs carry the ball throughout the game without a fumble?

- Wes Welker is becoming that "go to guy".  Several times Peyton looked his way for big first downs.

- For whatever reason (Chris Clark and Zane Beadles), running off LT was not working at all today.

Defense

- Many people think it was Mike Shanahan's homecoming.  In fact it was Von Miller's homecoming.  And what better way to cap off the party than by strip sacking RGIII in a huge momentum shift in the stretch run in the 4th quarter.

- Give everyone except Kevin Vickerson a game ball

In fact, at the end when Garcon leveled Harris Jr., I thought the Broncos should put Big Vick back into the game to take a cheap shot at him.  All kidding aside, this cat is out of control and needs to be benched, immediately.  Did you notice that when he was benched and chewed out by Fox, Unrein came in his place and made a TFL?  We will be fine upfront until the big man learns to control his emotions.

Tactically, the Broncos played a lot of 3-3-5 nickel keeping two spies (Woodyard and Miller) on RGIII.  I called it in my pregame scouting report and that is precisely what they did.  They were content with a loss on the pass rush side of things to begin the game if it kept RGIII in the pocket where he had to win with his arm.

RGIII is not the type of QB at this stage in his career that can progress pass the initial read.  Good choice once again by Del Rio and Company to make him win with his arm.

Special Teams

- Prater is quietly putting together a fantastic season.

- Colquitt helped flip the field position when the Broncos got pinned a couple of times.

- Holliday was a non factor, and to be honest, I'm perfectly fine with that.  No TD's but no fumbles either.

- I don't know who was to blame for that 12 man penalty at the end of the half, but that is inexcusable.

Coaching

Offensively the Broncos used some two TE sets close to their goalline, but other than that it seemed like 11 personnel business as usual.

John Fox once again infuriated me with a bad challenge on a questionable spot.  The first quarter up 7-0 is not the time in which to do that.  He redeemed himself however by allowing Peyton and the offense to go for it on 4th and goal down 21-14.

My MVP's

Knowshon Moreno on offense is precisely the back at this moment that I think McDaniels envisioned he could be when he overdrafted him in 2009.  20 touches, 133 yards later and a beautifully designed and executed screen pass for a TD are just part of why he is so important to this offense.  Knowshon is someone we can now count on to get tough yards and help Peyton Manning in the passing game.

Wesley Woodyard.  Is it any coincidence that when Woody comes back, this defense starts to get it's act together?  He's likely to be fined for that helmet to helmet hit on Kirk Cousins at the end of the game, but so what?  This dude hits hard, flies to the ball, and kept RGIII on his heels all game.  Pay this man Broncos, whatever he wants.  He's our Mike, our Will, our everything.

Unsettling trends

1st four games:  Peyton Manning 16 TD, 0 INT,1 fumble

last four games: Peyton Manning 13 TD, 6 INT, 4 fumbles

10 turnovers in the last 4 games.  Broncos still managed to score 164 points during that stretch.  Peyton needs to reverse this trend going forward.  Some stability along the offensive line should help with that.

Interesting stat of the Day

When Peyton was picked off after Demaryius Thomas fell down on his route, it marked the first time EVER that Peyton had been picked when targeting DT.

Disturbing stat of the Day

After today, the Denver Broncos have given up 79 points off of their own turnovers.  Over a third of the points they have allowed have been because of turnovers.  Quit making mistakes and this team is even scarier than it already is.

Bye Week

If you would have told me that the Broncos would be 7-1 heading into the bye before the season started, given all the major injuries and adversity we have faced, I would have taken it in a heart beat.  We are sitting pretty, just one game behind a Chiefs team that has barely squeaked by a bunch of mediocre teams, one game behind a Chiefs team that has gotten so many fortunate bounces (the Bess fumble on a punt in Chief territory late in the game being the latest), one game behind a Chief team that has yet to be challenged.

Their defense may be good, but their offense has not had to keep up with anyone.  Once the magic disappears, all they are left with is Alex Smith and Jamal Charles to light up the scoreboard.  I'll take that matchup any day of the week.

AFC West, to end the season

Broncos

7-1

Chiefs

8-0

Raiders

3-4

Chargers

4-3

@ Chargers

@ Bills

Eagles

@ Redskins

Chiefs

@ Broncos

@Giants

Broncos

@Patriots

Chargers

@Texans

@ Dolphins

@Chiefs

Broncos

Titans

@Chiefs

Titans

@ Redskins

@Cowboys

Bengals

Chargers

@ Raiders

@Jets

Giants

@Texans

Colts

Chiefs

@Broncos

@Raiders

@ Chargers

@Chargers

Raiders

Broncos

Chiefs

Mark my words now, you will see three AFC West teams in the playoffs.  As far as the Broncos are concerned?  This four game stretch coming out of the bye will tell us a lot about where we can expect to be playing in January.  At home?  Or on the road?

Good team win today, let's enjoy the bye and keep an eye on the rest of the NFL, GO BRONCOS!!!

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