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2007 Best and Worst Broncos' Moments #7

Moment #7 -- One of the Worst

-- Can't finish off a drive.

What most people remember about the loss to GB is the Overtime TD that sealed the deal. They think to themselves, "If Bly hadn't of gotten burned we could have won that game!"

Wrong.

If Bly had intercepted that ball, we still wouldn't have won the game. If Curome Cox doesn't bite on the pump fake (its Bly's job to bite, he's the underneath guy, but there is no excuse for the safety biting), Favre probably throws that ball away or the pass is broken up by the safety. Best case scenario is we have a defensive stand and get the ball back, but what good would that have done us? The 2007 Denver Broncos could not finish offensive drives!

Case in point, consider the play that put us in that godforsaken position to begin with:

The clock reads 00:25 seconds left in regulation. Cutler has looked good, driving the team 89 yards to get into scoring position, but the team is completely out of timeouts. They trail by three and they sit at the Green Bay four freaking yard line, with 2nd and 1 play call ahead of them.

2nd and 1, incomplete. 3rd and 1 rush for no gain. Again, from the four freaking yard line. 4th and 1, kick a ridiculously short FG. Almost makes you wish we had been losing by four points, doesn't it?

Simply put, you don't get better opportunities than that to close opponents out and take care of business. In what would become a mantra of the 2007 season, the Broncos could do neither. After a win against first place PIT put us in a position to compete again, a loss to first place GB took the wind right back out of the sails.

Because we couldn't gain 1 yd.

Is that the last we will see of that?

Sometimes I look at our offseason moves and think that the primary consideration for Dove Valley in 2008 was to put an end to short yardage and goalline failure. We draft Oline with the highest natural pick the organization has seen in 15 years, we target two FB type players, we cut an underachieving shortyardage TB and draft an overachieving one, we ensure that the center position is solid through over 4 levels of depth, with 3 of those levels being starter quality, and on top of it all we pick up an additional free agent in Micheal Pittman, who is no stranger to tough yards between the tackles.

And yet I can't shake the feeling that it won't be enough.

When we couldn't gain a yard against GB, Nalen wasn't yet out, though Hamilton was and Lepsis wasn't playing as well as he had in the past. Moving forward to 2008 Nalen and Hamilton will be back and Lepsis has been replaced by Ryan Clady, arguably the best offensive lineman in the 2008 draft. But it is arguably, not obviously, because Clady is unproven, both in the NFL and in the eyes of scouts who only saw him pancaking DEs the size of LBs. And Nalen and Hamilton are both injury risks, which says that despite the insurance at C that we have acquired, if history is any indicator, it will still barely be enough.

We have acquired two rookie FB talents who may have impressive years in their future, but not likely 2008. And on top of that, neither one is a pure, blocking, short yardage FB, so while they no doubt can help the team, you wonder if they will even be in on short yardage situations.

Henry was chronically injured and underperforming throughout the year, but we have replaced him with Torain, who is himself recovering from a lis-franc, which is about the worst foot injury a RB can suffer from, and Pittman who missed games 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 in 2007 due to an ankle injury. And while they were the first missed games due to injury that he had had in the last eight years, it still isn't very surprising. These kinds of things happen to 11th year RBs.

But we can buck every trend that I mention above, and I fully expect that we will buck them all by 2009 and be scoring at will in the red zone.

2008 might be a bit too soon, though.