I have to say even though I knew the Cowboys would be a challenge for our team, I don't think I was quite expecting that stressful of a game. My family were all talking afterward about how drained we all felt on our normal day of rest. I'd say as far as raw entertainment that was a pretty fun game to watch. The No Bull in me thinks it was a bunch of garbage overall from a defensive standpoint and very unsatisfying. I'm going to try the rest of the year to avoid complaining in these reviews about how boring it is when our team is doing so well like I did last week.
Let me say this about our opponents this week: they are exactly who I thought they were...a very dangerous offense and a defense that is short quite a few pieces. I'm not a Romo fan at all, but I think he had the game of his life and would have pulled it out if not for the perfect storm of a play at the end that caused the INT by Danny Trevathan.
Who's the Sheriff Around These Here Parts?
Let's start this off by giving credit where credit is due. Peyton Manning played a superbly intelligent game. He obviously was passing well and taking what the defense gave him. He also displayed great intelligence at different places of the game. Telling Knowshon to only get a yard was brilliant as was his QB keeper.
- I don't have any solid evidence, but my guess is that INT he threw was because he was putting too much touch on his pass because so far this year he'd been overthrowing the deep passes.
- I really loved that he worked Knowshon Moreno this game. Those underneath RB dump-offs have been there all year and I like seeing him use those to keep defenses worried about all of our weapons instead of just focusing on the four horsemen.
- I could care less how long it took him to run that TD in. It was a superb play call that will keep defenses thinking the rest of the year and will keep at least one defender making a read before reacting.
- This should be obvious to everyone, but in case it isn't I'll mention it. Peyton refuses to keep using the same winning plays over and over. He keeps mixing up our tricks so that defenses are never able to key on anything. Like I said earlier this season he could probably win games by throwing 15+ passes a game to Demaryius Thomas because they are unstoppable, but why let the enemy know what is coming?
The Real McCoy
I had to give a little dig to LeSean McCoy and his silly trash talk here while I give my boy Knowshon Moreno some props. How do you like Knowshon now Broncos Country? This dude is killing it. I'd say I'm going to be sad when he has an injury, but since I know it is inevitable I won't be.
- I wouldn't say that Knowshon was featured in the game plan this week, but didn't it kinda look like it? Almost 100 yards rushing, 50+ yards receiving and a TD?
- This goes without saying, but he was laying the wood in pass protection too. I love seeing him stonewall blitzers.
- It isn't going to happen, but if this guy makes it through the season without injury I don't see how we don't resign him even if it costs us a few clams.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Since our boy Eric Decker likes his drama so much, I'm going to be nice and give him his very own section in my review. Let's see how much he likes the limelight.
- OKAY NUMSKULL, JUST GO DOWN WHEN YOU ARE PAST THE 1ST DOWN MARKER AND ARE SURROUNDED BY DEFENDERS!!! Man that fumble was moronic! This dude needs Peyton to give him an injection of common sense and some football intelligence. Go "Hulk Decker" on poor fools when you haven't reached the 1st down marker. But when you convert the first down and have defenders all around just get down and protect the ball.
- I'm not giving him a pass on the rest of his good game either. We know what Decker can do and he did come back and play a decent game, but we had to have a star-fated defensive play that was EXTREMELY lucky for us happen just to win the game. That play was a key reason the game was even that close. This kid needs to get his head screwed on straight and play smarter. I really have enjoyed him while he's been here, but I'm actually at this point I'm looking forward to us replacing him this off-season.
- I know, I know...you guys will tell me how great Decker was on that TD pass. Yeah guys, but Manning can make that pass happen with anyone on this team. Bubba Caldwell could make that catch...true story.
Calling Out the Coaching
This debacle of a defense to me has to start and end with our coaches. I'm sure it is easy for me to kick it here in my recliner as an NFL fan and second-guess the coaches and I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about, but hindsight after all is 20/20.
- Jack Del Rio finally around the 4th quarter started dialing up some blitzes to try and get some pass rush (which was somewhat successful).
- I don't understand how you can watch guys suck eggs two games in a row running mostly zone concepts and think it is still a good idea. I know we lost some really key pieces of our defense, but man they were torching us anyway...go back to what works and trust your guys to play man!
- I really thought we had good depth in the secondary this year, but what this play calling tells me is that either they really aren't good enough to play man or our coaches suck at teaching the depth guys.
Speaking of the Secondary
This section right here may set the record for bullet-points and no big overarching theme other than stop audibling to a Hoover-2 please.
- It looked to me like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was intimidated by Dez Bryant. I don't blame him much, but when you aren't willing to get up on a guy's hip you will have trouble letting him catch passes and keeping him from big YAC. Bronco up son and get you some next time!
- I've been a huge Chris Harris fan for a long time now and it pained me to see him get hit. I knew he got concussed and that he wouldn't be back. I also knew we had no one who could do what he does and we were in trouble defending the pass against a team with too many good weapons that needed to be covered.
- I'm a Tony Carter fan up until the TD play he gave up because he swiped at the ball and let up a step. You can not do that in the NFL. Swipe at the ball and follow through with a tackle in case you miss. The only thing keeping this kid from being a #2 CB in the NFL is his tackling which needs to be great when he has a smaller frame than a lot of the WRs,
- Duke Ihenacho was still dinged up this game, but I don't know if that excuses him from how many poor angles I saw him take in coverage this game. He's not a great deep safety and when JDR went zone based and had cover-2 calls in Ihenacho was being asked to do stuff that wasn't his forte. I hope this was a learning experience for him.
- I did like what I saw from Kayvon Webster in this game. They had him on Dez a few times and I thought he represented himself well. What I don't know is if that was because he was in zone or not and the review angles I saw didn't show what was happening.
- Omar Boldin is not an answer at CB for our team. I'm a big proponent of letting him go this off-season and finding someone else to groom. He was out of position and playing poorly way too much in this game.
- Rahim Moore had a quiet game which in my books is a positive when you have our defense bleeding points from every orifice.
- I'm really hoping that Champ Bailey can get back to us next week. Some want him to rest, but if he can go I think he should so he can knock the rust off against a less challenging team than Indy. That being said, I trust the Broncos training staff on his return...if they don't think he's ready then don't chance it. We will need him as the year wears on more than the next 2 games.
So if you are a stats guy and you take a look at the game info you'd think our front did a pretty decent job. Any time you get four sacks from your D-Line that's a win typically. Let me tell you that is some fool's gold though.
- Robert Ayers' sack was legit before his injury and he was helping put some heat on Tony Romo. I honestly wouldn't think him going down would hinder our pass rush as much as it did, though. As the game wore on without him we were not doing well at all at pressuring Romo other some late blitz packages.
- Malik Jackson got one sack and I'm glad for it, but he had a big opportunity to do more and didn't seem to make much of it. I don't know whether this is a credit to the Dallas O-Line or a miss on his part though.
- Shuan Phillips made some nice plays and was the only guy causing havok on any consistent basis. I'm bitter about how long it took him to get there, but hey...he showed great effort multiple times.
- Derek Wolfe again got a ton of double-teams and was made to look fairly ineffective. I'm really looking forward to Von being back so offenses have more threats to worry about.
- The one plus we got from this was some really good evidence that our guys really can shut down run games. I don't know how much that will help us if our secondary doesn't get healthy, but if we make it to the playoffs it will be a very big advantage for us.
The Men in the Middle
I already knew we didn't have depth at Linebacker and it proved itself out as the game wore on. When we lost Wesley Woodyard it was a dagger in the gut on what looked like a dirty play to me (it looked like the injury was from a guy stepping on him).
- Danny Trevathan gets some big props for that INT, but let me shed a little No Bull light on this guy. He sucked eggs most of the day in coverage. I had thought our TE woes could be solved by him, but Jason Witten proved otherwise. I still think Danny is learning though, so we'll keep hoping he keeps learning and growing as a NFL LB.
- Nate Irving? Steven Johnson? Guys where you at? Cause I didn't see either of you step up and do anything when you had a big shot. I'm curious to see the snap counts for these guys. One or both of them missed an opportunity to take a step forward.
- Von Miller can not get back on the field soon enough.