The Denver Broncos further cemented their hold on the AFC West Division with a 30-23 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. After a minor glitch in the 1st Quarter (Eric Weddle’s pick six on Peyton Manning) that had Broncos Country up in arms, the Bronco Offense scored 24 unanswered points and the Denver Defense continued to rattle opposing Quarterbacks while running their record to 7-3.
It’s time to hand out the Hardware again.
The Game Ball on Offense goes to Quarterback Peyton Manning, who went 25/42 for 270 yards, a 59.5% Completion Rate, 3 Touchdowns and 1 Interception and a Passer Rating of 92.4
Manning passed Dan Marino for the 2nd-most touchdowns (423) in NFL history and 2nd-most wins by a starting Quarterback (148) on Sunday. Peyton is all tied up with his boss (Elway) for career wins by a starting Quarterback.
The Golden Horseshoe is an arguable point this week, so it will go into the Poll. Meanwhile, my pick for this Lucky Charm goes to Eric Decker, who scored the deciding Touchdown in the game. Decker was targeted 5 times and caught 2 for 23 yards, including a 20 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning with 7:23 remaining in the 3rd Quarter. Decker also was credited with one drop on the day, his 10th of the season.
Eric has been thrown at 77 times, with 50 catches and 621 yards (a new career high). He also has 8 Touchdowns in consecutive seasons.
My vote for the Silver Horseshoe in Week 11 is Brandon Stokley. The 36-year old slot receiver was targeted 5 times and caught 4 of them for 55 yards and a Touchdown. Brandon is 4th on the team with 32 receptions, 3rd with 387 yards and tied for 2nd with 5 Touchdown catches this season.
My vote for the Orange Horseshoe goes to Tight End Jacob Tamme, who had 4 catches for 53 yards on 5 targets. Tamme and Stokley have been reliable receivers for Peyton Manning in 2012, so maybe familiarity does in fact breed content.
The other two nominees this week are Demaryius Thomas (3 catches, 42 yards, 1 TD on 9 targets) and Joel Dreesen, who had 4 catches for 28 yards on 6 targets.
The Game Ball on Defense should not surprise anyone in the least. Linebacker Von Miller is tearing up the NFL and leaving opposing Quarterbacks with a turf diet. The way Pro Football Focus ranks him, Miller is peerless in everything but dance moves. The Broncos premier Pass rusher made 7 Tackles, 2 Tackles For a Loss, 3 Sacks, 1 Quarterback Hit and 7 Hurries against the Chargers on Sunday. Oh yeah, two of those Sacks were "Strip-Sacks."
Those three sacks against San Diego, bring his season total to 13, which ranks 2nd in the NFL. He leads the league in Tackles For a Loss with 23 on the season after tallying two more on Sunday. Miller became the first player in Broncos history since they became an official statistic to register three Sacks and two Forced Fumbles in a game.
His season stat line looks like this: 37 Tackles, 13 Sacks, 17 QB Hits, 37 Hurries, 23 TFL's, 4 Forced Fumbles and 1 Pass Breakup.
Miller now has 24.5 career sacks, the second-most sacks through a player’s first 25 games since 1982. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas has more sacks through a player’s first 25 games.
The players with the most sacks in their first 25 games since sacks became an official statistic in 1982:
|Derrick Thomas||Kansas City||1989-1990||25|
|Aldon Smith||San Francisco||2011-2012||23.5|
|Shawne Merriman||San Diego||2005-2006||22.5|
|Clay Matthews||Green Bay||2009-2010||21.5|
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who tied for the team lead with 8 Tackles against San Diego, also recorded his third Interception of the season in the 2nd quarter and returned it 25 yards to the San Diego 8-yard line. Woodyard is the only NFL player this year and just the fifth player in Broncos history (since 1982) to record at least three Interceptions and three Sacks in a single season. Along with the 8 Tackles, Wes had 1 Tackle For a Loss, 1 Quarterback Hit, 1 Hurry and a Fumble Recovery. This was another excellent game by the 5th year Pro out of Kentucky. Woodyard’s 88 Tackles lead the Broncos on Defense.
Champ Bailey takes the Silver this week for showing the youngsters how to Tackle. Bailey made 8 stops and helped the Broncos limited San Diego to a single 1st Down on the ground and 3 for 16 (18.7%) on 3rd down conversions.
The Defense held the Chargers to a giant Goose Egg on their 1st 11 third down tries, a streak of 26 consecutive 3rd down denials going back to their Week 9 game at Cincinnati. The streak is the longest in the NFL in the last 10 years.
The Punting of Britton Colquitt has tilted the field for the Broncos for 3 solid seasons now and we have seen improvements each year. On Sunday, Colquitt punted 5 times with a gross average of 50.4 yards and a Net of 44.4 yards. He placed one Inside the 20, another went for a Touchback. His longest traveled 58 yards and two were returned a total of 10 yards.
Kicker Matt Prater had a pretty decent day and was responsible for 12 of the Broncos 30 points. His lone blemish was a 55-yard Field Goal Attempt that doinked off the left upright in the 1st Quarter. After that, they straightened up and flew right. Matt is on pace for his best season and has gone 15 for 17 (88.2%) through Week 11. His Kickoffs were effective against the Chargers as well. All 8 went into (or through) the End Zone with a single one being returned a mere 16 yards.
Perhaps the coverage Units deserve credit, but these two kickers are doing a fine job.
Coming up this week, the Broncos travel east to Kansas City for an early Sunday game at Arrowhead.
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