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Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens; A Chance To Serve Up Some Crow

Yesterday, I made the fatal mistake of writing this article within the confines of SBNation editor. I was nearing its completion when, as I was entering data into a table I created, all of the text in the body of the editor disappeared. Obviously, I did something…somehow…to erased all the text. I quickly tried to exit the webpage before it autosaved. Unfortunately and disastrously, it had autosaved within milliseconds of my fatal error. Poof! Happy Birthday Tim, you’ve just wasted two and a half hours! Needless to say, I was disheartened almost to the point of not even attempting to re-write what I had felt was a pretty good post.

I woke up this morning and noticed my four pages of notes sitting on the desk. I hemmed, I hawed, I opened Microsoft Office Word 2010. I’ll never make that mistake again!

This week it is all about how I believe the Denver Broncos have a good chance to serve up some raven-flavored crow.

On a side note, I ended up not doing a satirical kneejerk post following last week’s win. I just wasn’t feeling it and a writer really needs to be in the right frame of mind to do satire. Instead, I’ll just continue to do my normal kneejerk like a crazy man on Sunday and Monday, then try to back pedal on Wednesday and Thursday once reason returns to me. Besides, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t chaotic and unpredictable. Also, for those of you who think I need to take a vacation from my unpaid position here at Mile High Report, stick around as I have a special gift for you at the end of this article.

The Offense

Once again, the running game is key for me this weekend. I know I said the same thing last week, and though Kyle Orton proved me wrong, my sentiment still rings true and I’ll continue to pimp this belief until I am proven right as I know I will be. The Broncos cannot rely on Orton throwing the ball every down or they’ll eventually find themselves having to start a rookie quarterback before seasons end.

In fact, I think the main reason Orton was able to overcome the six sacks and constant pressure last week was that he was so angry and fired up over the dirty tactics used by the Titan players. The Baltimore Ravens defense does not have to play dirty; they’ll just bust you in the mouth legitimately. Kyle Orton just isn’t durable enough to take too many beatings and if we do see another six sack effort against the Broncos this week then there is a good chance we’ll see Tim Tebow playing before the game ends. This would not be a good thing for the 2010 Broncos.

Another issue I have is Orton’s inability to produce offensive touchdowns. A respected Mile High Report member said this week – and I am paraphrasing here – that he’d take Orton’s two to one touchdown to interception ratio all day long. Really? From where I am sitting, less than two touchdown passes per game is not going to get the job done on a team with no running game. I’d take the two to one ratio if it were PER GAME! As it stands right now, Orton must throw for over 200 yards for every touchdown pass he tosses.

The stat of yards passing is best left to fantasy footballers and the Chicago Bears front office. It no longer interests me. To put it simply, the Broncos need touchdowns. Kyle Orton is on pace for just twenty-four touchdown passes this year. I wonder where the other twenty-four or so touchdowns – than an average playoff contender would have – will come from? This is why I am so focused on the running game right now. Without it, the Broncos are doomed to mediocrity.

Passing Yards Without TDs = Mediocrity
Year Team Player Yards TD INT Record
2008 NO Drew Brees 5069 34 17 8-8
2008 DEN Jay Cutler 4526 25 18 8-8
2009 HOU Matt Schaub 4770 29 15 9-7
2010 IND Peyton Manning 1365 11 1 2-2
2010 DEN Kyle Orton 1419 6 3 2-2

My criterion for this chart was to look for recent passing yard leaders who were quarterbacks on teams with anemic rushing attacks. Many have a two to one touchdown to interception ratio, yet still were unable to produce enough points to get enough wins to earn a playoff berth. Even the venerable Peyton Manning with an eleven to one touchdown to interception ratio is sitting a .500 after four games thanks in large part to a lackluster rushing attack. As good as Orton is playing right now, it won’t last or rather it won’t produce a winning record. The Broncos must find their rushing game – and soon.

Luckily for the Broncos, they catch the Ravens coming off a hard fought, tough road game in Pittsburg. They also have some key players injured on defense that should help Josh McDaniels and the Broncos to jump start their running game. Nothing is given, however, as the Ravens have dominated the Broncos for the past decade and really the best we could hope for is a close physical, competitive football game. Win or lose, a close game will please me, as past games against this Ravens defense have usually turned into one-sided embarrassments for Denver.

The Defense

Though I feel the Broncos offense against the Ravens defense is the most important battle the Broncos must win tomorrow, the Broncos defense will play a key roll in keeping this game close.

The defense, a point of emphasis for me early in the season, has really begun to turn the corner. The unit has gotten progressively better each week. However, their Achilles heel is their pass rush. This is the game the defense needs to find a way to get pressure in the backfield. Joe Flacco does very well when he has time to throw the ball, so it is imperative the Broncos generate some kind of pressure to take him off his game.

I am not convinced they can do this, but if they can take away the running game the Broncos defense should be able to hold the line enough to keep them in the game. That is, if Kyle Orton and the Broncos offensive unit can prove they are physically equal to Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense. The best way the Broncos defense can help the offense is to generate some turnovers. The shorter the field Orton has to work with, the better chance the young, inexperienced Broncos will have at stealing a victory against a better, more complete Ravens football team.

From the Archives...

Having been a member of MHR for several years, I realized that when I reference epic posts from long ago many of the newer members likely do not know what the hell I am talking about. Case in point, I referenced an excellent post written once upon a time about Information Processing Speed, written by Spock several years ago and someone basically said I was losing my mind. Naturally, I am not losing my mind, but I should at least share these posts since they undoubtedly have molded my way of thinking. Each week, I will link to some of these posts from MHR lore. I hope the newer members here will enjoy them as much as I did way back when. So without further adieu:

Information Processing Speed, by Spock

*Note: The comments section of this epic post are nearly as education and informative as the actual post. Great discussion and it left an indelible impression upon me.

From Whence Character, by Jeremy Bolander

*Note: A perfectly timed article during the early stages of the McDaniel's reign and props too for the earliest mention of Tim Tebow! lol

I hope you enjoy these two gems and I will endeavor to include at least one old post each week.

Go Broncos!