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Did The Broncos Get Lucky? A Discussion Of The Broncos Wins in 2011

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Han Solo: "I call it luck"

Obi-Wan: "In my experience there is no such thing as luck"

You could not start a post any better! Star Wars quotes for the win!

Last night in my downtime, I chatted with MHR's very own Kaptain Kirk about various things. Anything Broncos of course ends up coming down to a Tim Tebow discussion. That conversation ended up talking about which of the Broncos nine wins in 2011 were "lucky".

Luck is hard to define. It is out of the ordinary. It is not planned. It is hard to explain what it is. It is sort of like pornography in a way. It is hard to say what is and what is not but you know it when you see it.

How much of it did the Broncos have? That is an interesting topic for debate.

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca

September 18th - vs Bengals - The Broncos had a large lead in this game. They lead 17-3 and 24-15 at points in the game but ended up winning 24-22. They never trailed in this game and it really became the emergence of Eric Decker as a feature receiver for the Broncos as he had two touchdowns. This was as clean as a win as they come. People did not think much of this win early on but it started to become a pretty big deal when we found that the Bengals are a pretty good team. Luck rating: 1/10

October 23rd - @ Dolphins - This was the game that started it all. It was Tim Tebow's first start of 2011 and the media was all over it. Why wouldn't they be? A college legend with lots of hype surrounding him for several reasons, good and bad, was starting and everyone had to see it. All the doubters seemed right for most of the game. Nothing was going right for the Broncos early in this game. Tim Tebow was struggling and even when something did go right, Matt Prater was missing kicks to keep the Broncos a 0 points. After a Broncos punt in the fourth quarter, things were looking pretty grim. Any chance of a comeback would have to come off a turnover or a really quick three and out. Fortunately, the Broncos forced Miami into a three yard three play series that only took :17 off the clock. Once the Broncos got the ball back it is like things just clicked. Tebow Time was officially on. Tebow took the Broncos 8 plays 80 yards ending it with a touchdown to Demaryius Thomas who was making his 2011 debut. A study about onside kicks shows that they are successful about 20% of the time when teams are expecting it. The Broncos were able to recover it allowing Tebow Time to continue. Late in the drive, Tebow put a long pass that Daniel Fells stretched out to pull in that was one of the best plays all year for the Broncos. The Broncos ended up tying it up and winning in overtime off a strip sack by DJ WIlliams and a Matt Prater 52 yard kick for the win. I would classify this win as lucky because of the onside kick recovery and the fact that we made some insane receptions. Luck Rating: 7/10

November 6th - @ Raiders - This game was interesting. We were getting Carson Palmer on his first start as a Raider. The week previous he threw three interceptions in one half and in this game he threw three in the game itself. However, Palmer also had some really nice touchdown throws including a beauty to Jacoby Ford. This game was the birth of the Broncos read option offense. They ran for 299 yards including Tebows 118 and McGahees 163. This game was total execution along with Raiders not being able to stop this offense. We had an Eddie Royal punt return, his first in a long time. This game was pure execution and the probably the Broncos only sure win of the year. EDIT: I also forgot to mention that Darren McFadden was missing due to injury in this game which helped a lot. Thanks to Topher Doll for the heads up.................... Luck Rating: 3/10..........New rating: 4/10

November 13th - @ Chiefs - Again the Broncos dominated on the ground running for around 250 yards. This was the game Tebow completed two passes for the win. This was the game the defense really started to make a name for itself. 4 sacks on Matt Cassel was the big factor. The Broncos scored on their opening drive literally not throwing the ball once. They capped it off with a Tim Tebow rushing touchdown. This game was a sleeper of two boring offenses that could not do anything until Tebow found Eric Decker for 56 yards to put the game away. Boring game but not much for luck here. Notably the Chiefs did not have Jamaal Charles (the Bronco killer) or Eric Berry but they went out early in the season so that wasn't something that worked out just for us. Luck Rating: 2/10

November 17th - vs Jets - This was the one everyone watched and will always be remembered. Neither team was getting anything done in this game. The Broncos came out on the first play with a nice long play to DT. They then ran down to the Jets side and went for it on fourth down and got nothing. Next drive they took it back down and kicked on 4th and inches for the lead. Mark Sanchez was having as much trouble the past few weeks as anyone throwing interceptions. He was not having a bad day that night though but the teams went into half 3-3. In the second half the Jets came out having no problems and scoring quickly for a 10-3 lead. Late in the third everything seemed to change for the Broncos. Mark Sanchez threw a pick six to Andre Goodman, who had been under a lot of attack from Broncos fans. This couldn't of come at a better time as the Broncos were doing nothing. Sanchez took the Jets down to the Broncos end for a field goal for a 13-10 lead. The defense kept the Broncos in this one getting after Sanchez all day and sacking him three times. I still remember the Von Miller hit from behind on Sanchez in slow motion. Broncos got the ball back at their own 4 yard line and then it happened. Tebow threw to Eddie Royal in the end zone who dodged a tackle that would have been a safety. Somehow Tebow was able to run his way multiple times for first downs running over Darrel Revis along the way. Then the magical play happened. Tim Tebow rolled out of the pocket and scrambled for 20 yards on his way to a Broncos win 17-13. Was there anything lucky in this game? Maybe the fact the LT was out but really, the defense bailed out an offense that could not get going. We played poor but there is a large difference between playing bad and being lucky. Luck Rating: 3/10

November 27th - @ Chargers - The Broncos got down in this game and had trouble stopping the running of Ryan Matthews. However, a late touchdown at the end of the half to Eric Decker from Tebow allowed us to crawl back down 10-7 at half. The defense was doing a good job however of keeping Rivers out of the endzone making them kick two field goals. The rushing game was good again as McGahee had over 100 yards again. Later in the third the Broncos were down 13-7 but the running game took them to kick one for a 13-10 deficit. The Chargers however took it down field but Novak missed a kick allowing the Broncos to stay in it. Late clutch play by the defense allowed the Chargers to stay at 13 including a clutch Von Miller sack. The Broncos tied it up late on a Prater field goal that was set up by a big Dante Rosario catch. The game went to overtime and after a long overtime period San Diego had a chance to win it. However, Novak missed again from outside of 50 and then then the Broncos took it down themselves and Prater kicked another game winner. We caught a break in this one with Novak having a bad day. Luck Rating: 5/10

December 4th - @ Vikings - This was a big test for the Broncos because everyone was saying they cannot win a high scoring game. Von Miller was not in this game due to a thumb injury. The defense was not the same without him. Luckily we were up against a rookie QB with no Adrian Peterson due to a knee injury. Mario Haggan had a pick 6 early that helped but Ponder still didn't have much trouble due to Percy Harvin's huge day. Broncos trailed 15-7 in the half. However in the second half, the Broncos really opened it up and Tebow continued to find Demaryius Thomas for big plays and two touchdowns. After another Harvin touchdown, McGahee had a long run and Tebow converted the two point conversion to tie it at 29. However, the Vikings continued to march down the field however and Longwell put the VIkings up 3 with 3 minutes to go. The Broncos continued to make plays though and tied it. Ponder late threw a pick and Andre Goodman picked off Ponder on a bad throw for a Prater kick for the win. Is this lucky? It is lucky that another good player went down (Peterson) but the pick was an opportune play. The Broncos earned this win by making big plays on a day the defense was not good. Luck Factor: 4/10

December 11th - vs Bears - This game was the ultimate "How the bleep did that happen?" game. Again, luckily Matt Forte was hurt so we did not have to worry about him. This was also supposed to be the return of Jay Cutler but he too was hurt. The Broncos did nothing on offense all day and the stat makers were bringing up that the Broncos have never been shutout at home. It was looking that way. The bears had a chance to ice the game by putting together a drive but went three and out. Tebow with 4 minutes left somehow rallied the Broncos for 63 yards thanks to a 19 yard catch by Matthew Willis and a touchdown catch by DT. Also, it happened before the 2 minute warning. However, the Broncos had no timeouts making things pretty much impossible. They would have had to get down field for a field goal in only 20 seconds because Marion Barber would be able to take the clock down. However, a bone headed play by Barber made him run out of bounds stopping the clock. As Lloyd Christmas would say, "So you are saying there is a chance?" Tebow made some key passes and a huge catch by DT where he climbed the ladder to pull one down. Prater kicked a 59 yard field goal to tie it. WHAT! In overtime, it looked like all was lost when Barber had day light but just before he got to it Elvis Dumervil stripped him and the Broncos had life. Tebow moved the Broncos enough that Matt Prater could kick a winner again. How this happened I still do not know. I mean we sacked Hanie four times but we did nothing on offense until that rally. Plus those players missing was a big bonus. Luck Factor: 10/10

January 8th - vs Steelers - The Broncos made it into the playoffs but it was going to be tough. The great Pittsburgh Steelers were in town and things were not going to be easy. Big Ben was nursing a sore ankle but it was healing and he should have been okay to go. However, the Broncos got after him and re-injured the ankle making it tough for him to move which is what he does best. The Broncos played bend not break defense forcing field goals. Tebow hit two straight big plays one to DT and another to Eddie Royal for a touchdown. After a Big Ben interception, the Broncos scored again on a Tebow run making it 14-6. The Broncos continued to make big plays with Tebow finding Thomas and Fells deep setting up a 20-6 lead. In the second half, a controversial no fumble call kept the Steelers in it after Mike Wallace took it in for a touchdown later in the drive. Late in the fourth, after both teams exchanged field goals, the Steelers tied it after a Cotchery touchdown catch. Unfortunately, a few plays before that Champ Bailey dropped what should have been a interception. However he made up for it when the Steelers were trying to win and Champ deflected a key pass. In overtime, it happened. First play Tebow finds Thomas for 80 yards. No luck here. Just athleticism and clutch play. My favorite Bronco moment of my young life. Luck was more so against us in this one with the bad no fumble call and a key missed facemask. Luck Factor: 3/10

Well there is my recap of the Broncos wins and how lucky I think we were. Some games had lots, some games not so much. I guess it depends what you call luck. I think the Broncos caught a few breaks but took advantage of them. It is hard to find the difference sometimes of a team making a mistake and the other team getting lucky. Lots were probably a mixture of both. I hope I shutdown any conversation that we got lucky in 2011. Maybe in two or three at the most but hey, that's football. The Giants got "lucky" and so did the Patriots in the playoffs but they are not complaining . They were in the Super Bowl. Although, after that awful performance, I bet you that Tom Brady did not get "lucky."


"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca