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Denver Bronco Penalties Through Week 5

Denver Broncos cheerleaders perform the "Unnecessary Roughness" Dance at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 12, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos cheerleaders perform the "Unnecessary Roughness" Dance at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 12, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Welcome to the Denver Broncos Bye Week. Now is as good a time as ever to do a bit of review on the 2011 season so far. The Broncos are 1-4 on the year and have made the decision to change the field general. That isn't the only change coming either. Denver may finally be at full strength, or as near to it as they have been so far, for the first time this year. But the Injury front hasn't been the only obstacle in determining the Broncos record. Penalties have played a part as well and that is what we will look at today. Here are the games, the timeframe and the occurrences of each Bronco penalty so far this season, with a summary at the end of each contest explaining their significance. So if you're ready, then jump!

Week 1 Raiders                                                                                                         

Penalties (Number-Yards)  10 - 91                            Oakland Penalties (Number-Yards) 15 - 131

1st Quarter

(5:03) 8-K.Orton pass short right to 86-D.Fells to DEN 33 for 2 yards (24-M.Huff). PENALTY on DEN-50-J.Walton, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 31 - No Play.

2nd Quarter

(8:32) PENALTY on DEN-73-C.Kuper, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DEN 38 - No Play.

(8:26) (Shotgun) 8-K.Orton pass incomplete short left to 86-D.Fells [93-T.Kelly]. Penalty on DEN-73-C.Kuper, Offensive Holdingdeclined. Penalty on DEN-78-R.Clady, Offensive Holdingdeclined.

(6:42) 9-S.Lechler punts 65 yards to DEN 27, Center-59-J.Condo. 87-E.Decker to DEN 43 for 16 yards (30-J.Boyd). PENALTY on DEN-35-L.Ball, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at DEN 43.

(5:53) 8-K.Orton pass short middle to 80-J.Thomas to DEN 37 for 12 yards (33-T.Branch). PENALTY on DEN-50-J.Walton, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 25 - No Play.

(1:59) 20-D.McFadden left end to DEN 16 for 4 yards (52-W.Woodyard). PENALTY on DEN-91-R.Ayers, Unnecessary Roughness, 8 yards, enforced at DEN 16.

(1:46) 29-M.Bush up the middle to DEN 11 for 2 yards (58-V.Miller; 90-J.Hunter). PENALTY on DEN-90-J.Hunter, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at DEN 11.

(1:33) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DEN-90-J.Hunter, Neutral Zone Infraction, 3 yards, enforced at DEN 6 - No Play.

(:24) 29-M.Bush left tackle to OAK 22 for -2 yards (90-J.Hunter). PENALTY on DEN-99-K.Vickerson, Face Mask (15 Yards), 15 yards, enforced at OAK 24 - No Play.

4th Quarter

(10:46) (Shotgun) 8-K.Orton pass short left to 27-K.Moreno to OAK 48 for 4 yards (30-J.Boyd). PENALTY on DEN-74-O.Franklin, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 48 - No Play.

(7:33) (Shotgun) 8-K.Orton pass short right to 86-D.Fells to DEN 30 for 5 yards (30-J.Boyd). PENALTY on DEN-73-C.Kuper, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 25 - No Play.

Walton's holding call in the 1st quarter gave the Broncos a 1st & 20 that they weren't able to overcome, coming up 2 yards short on 3rd &15. Kuper's 2nd penalty in 3 plays stifled another drive. Lance Ball's Unnecessary Roughness call during a Raider punt didn't help the field position battle. Matt Prater ended up missing a 56-yard Field Goal on the ensuing drive and that could have been the difference in the outcome of the game, but J.D. Walton's holding call during the drive didn't help matters either. Robert Ayers UR and Jason Hunters holding penalties didn't affect the Raiders Field Goal drive. Oakland had already driven down to the Denver 24-yard line. However, the Bronco Defense was able to hold the Raiders to a Field Goal even after Hunter's neutral Zone Infraction gave them a 3rd & Goal at the 3-yard line. Kevin Vickerson's Face Mask penalty was bad timing. On the following play, Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell completed a 16-yard pass to Marcel Reece and Sebastian Janikowski tied Jason Elam and Tom Dempsey with a 63-yard Field Goal--another game altering play. Orlando Frankin's holding call was nullified by a Defensive Pass Interference penalty on the next play. The Broncos Offense stalled anyway and were forced to punt. Denver was able to overcome Chris Kuper's holding penalty on the second play of the Broncos' last drive. The drive ended up in a touchdown.

Week 2   Bengals

Penalties (Number-Yards) 7 - 55                           Bengals Penalties (Number-Yards)  7 - 69

1st Quarter

(11:51) PENALTY on DEN-68-Z.Beadles, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at 50 - No Play.

(2:34) 8-K.Orton pass incomplete short right to 87-E.Decker. Penalty on DEN-87-E.Decker, Offensive Pass Interference, declined.

3rd Quarter

(10:19) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DEN-58-V.Miller, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at CIN 46 - No Play.

(6:17) (Shotgun) 14-A.Dalton pass incomplete short left to 84-J.Gresham (21-A.Goodman). PENALTY on DEN-21-A.Goodman, Defensive Pass Interference, 5 yards, enforced at CIN 32 - No Play.

(3:36) 8-K.Orton pass short left to 12-M.Willis to DEN 30 for 10 yards (29-L.Hall). PENALTY on DEN-78-R.Clady, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 20 - No Play.

4th Quarter

(7:49) (Shotgun) 14-A.Dalton pass incomplete deep right to 18-A.Green (41-C.Vaughn). PENALTY on DEN-41-C.Vaughn, Defensive Pass Interference, 16 yards, enforced at CIN 43 - No Play
(5:55) 4-B.Colquitt punts 82 yards to CIN 10, Center-66-L.Paxton, out of bounds. PENALTY on DEN-25-C.Harris, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 4 yards, enforced at DEN 8 - No Play.

(3:04) 23-W.McGahee left end to DEN 45 for 9 yards (29-L.Hall). PENALTY on DEN-78-R.Clady, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 36 - No Play.

The Broncos scored a touchdown on their first possession, nullifying Zane Beadles' False Start penalty. Von Miller's penalty at 10:19 of the 3rd quarter didn't have an affect on a FG scoring drive by the Bengals. Goodman's PI penalty only cost 5 yards and the Bengals were called for holding on the following play. Cincinnati was able to drive 72 yards for a touchdown anyway. Clady's holding penalty on the first play of that series sure didn't help, but two plays later, Bengal DE Michael Johnson strips the ball from Kyle Orton for a turnover. That turnover turned into a Bengals Field Goal. Cassius Vaughn's PI penalty in the 4th quarter had no effect. The Defense held Cincy to 2 more yards and forced the Bengals to punt. Harris' Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty on Britton Colquitt's 82 yard punt cost the Broncos 45 yards of field position. The Defense held Cincinnati on a 4th & 1 to squelch a drive, giving the Broncos possession at their own 36 yard line. Ryan Clady's holding call didn't help the Broncos put away the game in the final frame, but the Defense held on for Denver's first and only victory (so far) in 2011.

Week 3  Tennessee

Penalties (Number-Yards)  1 - 15               Tennessee Penalties (Number-Yards)     11 - 80

4th Quarter 

(12:13) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short right to 28-C.Johnson pushed ob at TEN 15 for 3 yards (91-R.Ayers). PENALTY on DEN-51-J.Mays, Face Mask (15 Yards), 15 yards, enforced at TEN 15.

This penalty had no bearing on the game as the Titans ended up punting 4 plays later. The game was a testament to the coaches stressing discipline and cleaning up mistakes, especially since it was going to be a "dirty" game. The Broncos didn't beat themselves, but the Special Teams Unit gave up a 35-yard run by former Bronco Punter Brett Kern on a botched snap. That play ended up with a Titan Field Goal and was the difference in a 17-14 contest.

Week 4   Green Bay

Penalties (Number-Yards)   3 - 24              Green Bay Penalties (Number-Yards)   3 - 27         

1st Quarter

(3:55) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass short middle to 30-J.Kuhn to GB 32 for 5 yards (55-D.Williams). Penalty on DEN-52-W.Woodyard, Illegal Contactdeclined.

2nd Quarter

(8:19) 8-K.Orton pass deep middle to 84-B.Lloyd to GB 21 for 50 yards (26-C.Peprah). PENALTY on DEN-68-Z.Beadles, Illegal Use of Hands, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 29 - No Play.

3rd Quarter

(11:10) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass incomplete short middle to 85-G.Jennings. PENALTY on DEN-29-J.Wilhite, Defensive Pass Interference, 9 yards, enforced at DEN 30 - No Play

(5:41) 8-K.Orton pass incomplete deep middle to 84-B.Lloyd. PENALTY on DEN-84-B.Lloyd, Illegal Shift, 5 yards, enforced at GB 28 - No Play.

Denver penalties had no affect on the outcome of this game. The Bronco Offense was able to overcome Beadles' Illegal Use of Hands penalty in the 2nd Quarter and score a touchdown. The penalty occurred on the first play of the possession. Consequently, Kyle Orton was also having his best quarter of the season. I can't really say that Wilhite's PI penalty in the 3rd quarter hurt the team, since the Packers were on quite a roll. Still, Green Bay did score a touchdown on the possession.

Week 5  San Diego

Penalties (Number-Yards)  4 - 53              San Diego  Penalties (Number-Yards) 0 - 0

2nd Quarter

(10:25) 17-P.Rivers pass short right to 82-K.Sperry pushed ob at DEN 42 for 32 yards (58-V.Miller). PENALTY on DEN-91-R.Ayers, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at DEN 42.

(9:21) 22-J.Hester left tackle to DEN 4 for 16 yards (28-Q.Carter). Penalty on DEN-92-E.Dumervil, Unnecessary Roughness, offsetting. Penalty on SD-73-M.McNeill, Unnecessary Roughness, offsetting.

(7:13) 8-K.Orton pass incomplete short right. PENALTY on DEN-78-R.Clady, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 23 - No Play.

(2:50) (Shotgun) 17-P.Rivers pass incomplete short left to 81-R.McMichael. PENALTY on DEN-28-Q.Carter, Unnecessary Roughness, 13 yards, enforced at DEN 25 - No Play.

4th Quarter

(2:46) (Shotgun) 22-J.Hester left end to DEN 37 for 3 yards (57-M.Haggan). PENALTY on DEN-55-D.Williams, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at DEN 37

Ayers' Roughing the Passer penalty advanced the Chargers field position. San Diego ended up scoring a touchdown on the possession, but this was the play that Rookie LB Von Miller got caught peeking in the backfield. He lost track of the Chargers 3rd string Tight End who made a 32-yard gain. Clady's holding penalty had no affect in that particular series, since the Offense only generated 3-yards on a Willis McGahee run and 3 incomplete passes. This was near the end of Orton's folly and demotion. Quinton Carter's Unnecessary Roughness penalty did not have an affect. The Chargers were in good field position already and the Defense held San Diego to a Field Goal. D.J. Williams' Unnecessary Roughness penalty may have cost the Broncos this game. It wasn't the difference maker, but it put the Chargers into Field Goal position and allowed them to kick the game winner, thus thwarting Tim Tebow's 2011 debut. 

For the season so far, the Broncos have committed 25 penalties for 238 yards. They are Tied for 24th most in the league, which isn't bad. The Oakland Raiders led the league with 50 penalties for 445 yards which shouldn't be a surprise, but that gives you a standard for comparison. Next, let's break down the area that these penalties occurred.


Undisciplined penalties (12 for 118 yards)
  • Zane Beadles, Illegal Use of Hands for 10 yards
  • Chris Kuper, False Start for 5 yards
  • Brandon Lloyd. Illegal Shift for 5 yards
  • J.Hunter, Neutral Zone Infraction, 3 yards
  • V.Miller, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards
  • J.Mays, Face Mask (15 Yards)
  • K.Vickerson, Face Mask (15 Yards)
  • L.Ball, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards
  • R.Ayers, Unnecessary Roughness, 8 yards
  • Q.Carter, Unnecessary Roughness, 13 yards
  • D.J. Williams, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards
  • C.Harris, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 4 yards

Holding penalties (8 for 70 yards)
  • Ryan Clady - 3 Holding calls for 30 yards
  • J.D.Walton - 2 Holding calls for 20 yards
  • Chris Kuper - 1 Holding call for 10 yards
  • Orlando Franklin - 2 Holding call for 10 yards.

Interference and Defensive Holding (4 for 35 yards)
  • A.Goodman, Defensive Pass Interference, 5 yards
  • C.Vaughn, Defensive Pass Interference, 16 yards
  • J.Wilhite, Defensive Pass Interference, 9 yards
  • J.Hunter, Defensive Holding, 5 yards

Overly aggressive penalties (1 for 15 yards)
  • R.Ayers, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards.

It's not surprising that the Broncos had so many penalties in Game 1. It was the first game of the year after no Offseason Workouts and it was at Home against the Raiders, who are notorious for their penalty-filled contests. Especially against division rivals. That would point to an anomaly in normal circumstances, but Week 2 brought a decrease of only 3 infractions. I would tend to think it was still part of the adjustment period from the lack of OTA's, but perhaps not. The fact that there was only a single penalty against Tennessee in Week 3 either attests to the coaching staff stressing discipline or the team finally getting on the same page. That was another game that could have easily gotten out of hand from previous encounters. 4 out of the 7 penalties in the last two games were of the undisciplined ilk, which states that there is still room for improvement.

That concludes this presentation.

Go Broncos!