Am I the only guy smiling here? After all, I'm racked with the flu and my team just lost a key game. What is there to smile about?
Well for starters, if we look over the game we'll see the same excellence we've been seeing the past two weeks. We lost for the two reasons I wrote could trip us up: Hester and weather.
First of all I want to compliment ejruiz777 for this very observant comment:
"Blame Saurbrun all you want, but it's up to the guys in headsets to determine how we play the game."
He's right. Early in the week the special team's coach directed that balls be kicked to Hester, and Saurbrun made his assinine comment because he knew that's where he'd be kicking to. Saurbrun said something about not playing "chicken poop football", because we're paid to "make tackles on special teams". Now add in the weather (cold and wet, limiting punt and kick distances) and forget to throw Bailey onto special teams (which I wrote we should do if kicking to Hester) and you have 14 free points for Chicago.
Here's exactly what I wrote earlier in the week:
"Conclusion for regular teams
Denver running offense - Even to slight advantage Denver
Denver pass offense - Big advantage Denver
Chicago run offense - Moderate to big advantage Chicago
Chicago pass offense - Slight advantage Denver
One word - Hester.
Denver is improving in the return and coverage games. With Hester on the field we'll either punt out of bounds or kick for touchbacks (which we can do if the temp isn't too cold). We might have to do the dreaded "Bailey on STs" thing to be safe. I hope not. We can't risk losing Bailey to injury like that.
Our new STs coordinator is one of the best, and our guys are catching up on the learning curve. Let's hope they don't have to learn any hard lesson from multiple record earning Hester."
Doesn't anyone on the coaching staff read MHR as a part of their game prep during the week?
Well, maybe they do. Because once you allow for the ego driven foolishness of our special teams coach, the players themselves played an awesome game.
Some people will worry about the consistent quality of our players. Our third string RB (THIRD STRING) Hall ran for 98 yds. Not bad. Cutler continued to take us down the field by running and passing, and did it with a cold, wet ball in the wind. Our receivers were solid, and our TEs fantastic (and they all blocked like line men too). All of this despite poor conditions. Chicago didn't have an answer for the bootleg, the deep pass, or even the (sneaky) option play that shoveled to Hall.
On defense we held Chicago to 20 points in regulation. We had picks and fumble recoveries. Hamza continued to stand out. Even Gold (who had no noticable stats) stayed glued on Clark most of the game, tipping several passes (something the stats don't mention). Our pass rush pressured Grossman all day.
We won in virtualy every stat. Yards gained, time of possession, etc. Heck, our third best receiver (RB Hall) had more receiving yards than each of the Bears players.
Hamza had the second most tackles of either team. Even the much aligned Webster had the third most tackles for Denver, which was also the second most of any of the Bears' players. Even fourth string CB Paymah got an INT.
In short, our offense and defense CONTINUES to dominate. And that's great news.
It continues to be open to debate as to whether we can make the playoffs. I still believe we have an even chance. But the argument about if our players are playoff quality should finaly be put to rest. Our guys played like a true Denver team, and only our special team's coach should suffer the brunt of our disgust this week.
I tip my hat to Chicago. Hester deserves the gameball without question. And we're not the oakland raiduhs, so we're not blaming the refs (who called a good game). But it would be ridiculous to hang this over our offense, defense, or head coach. I can almost guarentee that one person is getting his butt chewed after this game, and it will be behind closed doors. You don't chew out one of your assistent coaches in front of the players. I wouldn't want to be in ST's Coach O'Brien's shoes right now.
Ok, I've got to go throw up now. Whether it's this flu or the game I don't know, but I...