Will the Broncos play a lot of zone to help keep eyes on Colin Kaepernick?
The Broncos mixed it up. Their coverages were not a product of worrying about a mobile quarterback. They used a lot of Cover 3, some man, some zone as they usually do each week. What struck me about this game was that the Niners did not offer a lot of looks in the running game as far as zone reads or a lot of bootleg action with Colin Kaepernick. They kept things really vanilla and by the time the Broncos had built a two-score lead, it was too late to develop the running game especially with Frank Gore having such a difficult time against the Broncos front 7.
Will Jack Del Rio use a QB Spy?
Rarely. This was not a focal point of the game plan. The way the game developed took away a lot of the creative QB draws and runs the Niners would attempt. But even when there was pressure, Colin had a difficult time escaping it to the edge. He had only 18 yards on 3 carries.
Will TJ Ward become the new coverage LB in nickel?
No. Broncos used a variety of personnel to cover that spot. Ward was only targeted once while covering Vernon Davis and it led to a 14-yard reception.
Who will have a better day receiving: Wes Welker, or Julius Thomas?
In envisioned a huge day over the middle, and though it didn't necessarily come from these two players, the Broncos feasted over the middle. One curious question I have is why in the world would the Niners stick a linebacker on Demaryius Thomas when he was lined up in the slot?
I will give Wes Welker the nod, way to sell out for the touchdown Wes!
What makes this play is the single-off coverage that is revealed when the linebacker takes a blitz stance toward the LOS. From there, both corners react to the fake WR screen, and Wes Welker blows by for a wide open catch.
Will the running game continue the mojo?
When's the last time we saw a run like this?
Welcome to the starting lineup Mr. Cornick!
Besides the obvious sack that Cornick gave up, his play in the running game was better than Chris Clark. Up to this point, the Broncos had attempted 10 runs over right tackle to the tune of 9 yards. On Sunday Night, though not spectacular, the same attack had 4 runs over right tackle for 13 yards. Any progress is welcomed. Time will tell if Cornick can be solid in pass protection, but until then it is a plus that Manning will likely be in position to see the pressure coming from that side.
Will this be a breakthrough game?
You bet. Hobbled or not, the Broncos did to the Niners what good teams do, they dismantle them. Kap never got a rhythm, their run game was non existent, and that poor patchwork defense faced a clinic in offensive football from Manning on a historic night. The Broncos took care of business and put themselves in a position to bench starters and get more rest before facing San Diego on a short week. Going into a tough divisional battle, you couldn't ask for more from the Broncos. Great team victory and the first statement game of the year.
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