Well that sucked....Please forgive the tardiness, busy with the workplaces getting ready for the holiday break. No excuses for the play of our Broncos though. They just plainly got manhandled by a more motivated team in the Chargers. Unlike past games where we trailed, I actually had a bad feeling about this one going into halftime. Mainly because I knew we weren't getting the ball to open the second half like we've grown accustomed to. I knew we weren't putting 7 up to start the half and I had a bad feeling we would give up another 7 before even seeing the ball. The Chargers controlled the ball at their will. It's not like they racked up the yards and points, but it sure felt like it. I was shocked to see that Rivers only threw for 166 yards! Unfortunately, a lot of those yards came on crucial 3rd downs. Drive extended, clock keeps ticking. Probably the back breaker was a total clusterf*** move by Nate Irving jumping early on a punt return after forcing a critical 3 and out deeeeeep in Charger territory. 7 minutes later and there wasn't enough left for Peyton to do his magic. Can't get too down. This was a divisional game and divisional games are more than given. Just ask the Patriots....
Photo By: - Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports
The one guy that actually came to play. With his best game as a Bronco, by far, the Broncos were able to stay in striking distance. I can't say I was happy with the game plan and how it featured Andre. You could see there was a bit of unfamiliarity between he and Peyton. Evidenced by the back shoulder pass on third down that Caldwell kept running up field. It's the same play we've seen Decker make all season long. Bubba played well for us, but he's nowhere on the same level as Black & Decker. Way to step up, but I'd rather not see him be the featured weapon on this offense.
Out of Tune
Is Wes Welker really that vital to this offense? The offense just didn't seem to get a rhythm. They acted like Welker wasn't the newbie on the offense. 3 straight 3 and outs?!?! Come on, not on a Peyton Manning offense. Where was the fire? Could the 91 plays the week before have had a significant toll on the offensive line? I wouldn't be surprised. They played their worst game as a unit all season long. They were abused out there. Manram was constantly blown off the ball and several yards into the backfield on more than a few plays. Though Peyton was only sacked once(whiff by Moreno), he wasn't comfortable in the pocket all night. Even on his interception, who was he even throwing to? Everyone was locked up. Even if he tried to force it into Julius in the flat, it probably still would have been picked off. With the offense playing like a semi-pro unit, Moreno missing blocks and Peyton not being Peyton, it was a perfect recipe for PFM's first divisional loss.
Apart from Bubba Caldwell and Sly, no one showed up on either side of the ball for Denver. Nobody stepped up to give this team the spark it needed to come away with a victory. Sure players made plays, only to be overshadowed by a dumb penalty or missed assignment a play later. The first drive was textbook Bronco football. Peyton spread the ball around and the chains kept moving. After that, it was close to 3 whole quarters before we saw it again. DT and Julius disappeared after a solid start. I'm not even sure if Decker came to the game. Knowshon was limited mainly due to a lack of effort in the trenches. 2 of 9 on third down depicts the level of focus from the offensive side. The defense was no better. They were basically there just as speed bumps for eventual Charger points. Sorry effort all around. Note, of course there were solid games from some players, but not solid enough to make a difference.
What I Want For Xmas
Is my old Von Miller back. I'm still waiting to see the once-in-a-generation talent that we saw the first 2 years. I didn't realize how badly a 6 game suspension could affect a player for the year. I hate the extra weight because he's just not as fast anymore. Have I said this before? Probably, but nothing's changed. He started the game on fire with 3 tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. All three coming from the backside. Then the Chargers wised up and ran right at Von. Even getting the edge with Von being to slow too chase down Mathews around the end. Whiffed arm tackle....After a solid start, Von was invisible the rest of the way. It pisses me off that he gambled with his career and was suspended. It just set him so far back that he's just running out of time to catch up. I'm starting to lose faith that we'll see the Von we all loved...this year.
The Shine Has Worn Off
Maybe USC saw what we've all been in denial about. Am I really off base to say that we upgraded every group of the defense from 2012 to 2013? Ok, possibly not every, but as a whole unit, I think it's safe to say we have better players all around. Then why did we go from top 5 to bottom of the league in defense? I'm pretty sure we're setting records on defense but not in a good way. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't we like the only team to give up at least 17 every single week? Even the historic record breaking defense of the Cowboys have held opponents to 3 and 7 points. I figured it would only make the defense better by having continuity at defensive coordinator. Instead, they've regressed. I don't buy the injury excuse because every single team is injured this year. Some more than others but the games play on. Del Rio is officially expendable to me. We can't even keep 12 men off the field! Dennis Allen anyone? Anyone?
The Good and The Bad
Robert Ayers played a great game in backup duties. He made several plays in the run game and even had an awesome tackle for loss....only to be negated by 12 dummies on the field. Montee Ball has really shown improvement in the passing game. He had a couple stonewall blocks for Peyton and even showed soft hands as a receiver. Contributing a healthy 49 yards on 5 receptions. That's production coming from a previous weakness. Way to work on your weaknesses, kid. Sly Williams gets my gameball for showing up. He produced like a rookie, late 1st round pick. Got his first sack of his young career after adding 5 total tackles and a QB hit.
Mitch Unrein was just a waste of space. He was consistently blown off the line and missed multiple tackles. It's obvious why the rookie Sly gets the start over the veteran Unrein. Maybe they hit their wall, but Duke Ihenacho and Kayvon Webster are just not up to the task anymore. Both started the year with plenty of fire and playmaking ability only to be the targets of opposing coordinators going forward. I'm not one to give up on a young player too early, but Omar Bolden hasn't done a single positive thing on the defensive side. If it's not piss poor angles to the ball letting opponents get chunk yardage, it's poor missed tackles. I don't get why he's on the field for defense. He hasn't done a single good thing to warrant that playing time. Keep him on special teams where he excels.
Little Quick Notes:
- What happened to our special teams? They used to be so good when we started the season. Now they're pretty much irrelevant unless they're giving up points.
- Trindon had a solid day and a lot of fans only remember the bobbled kick at the end. He consistently advanced kickoffs past the 20 and even into the 30's on one. All the blame goes on him because we seem to expect him to break 4 unblocked defenders. There hasn't been any blocking for him since the beginning of the year.
- The curious case of Eddie Royal. He had all the potential as a rookie. Even comparing him to Steve Smith. Then he didn't....
- Man Prater sucks at onside kicks. He never gives us a chance at a play on the ball. Either it's been going out of bounds or only 8 yards. Come on maaan.
- What is really going on with Champ. He practices in full all week, then is downgraded before kickoff and is inactive. What's really going on behind closed doors?
Well, we lost on Thursday then won on Sunday. Back in the driver's seat. Not as worried about the Patriots like in years' past because of the Gronk injury. There just isn't enough for Brady to do anything of significance. They are the Pats, but I don't see them making it to the AFC championship game. The only spoiler I see is the Chiefs. Not that I'm worried about losing to them in the postseason, but that we may lose the division to them. Which would really suck but at the same time slap reality into our players. Right the ship Manning, we're lost without you. Go Broncos!