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Broncos at Bears: The No Bull Review

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Brock Osweiler led the Denver Broncos into a cold, hard Soldier Field to face off against the Chicago Bears. How did we look against the QB we drafted so long ago and our former coaching staff who abandoned ship last year as once we got into the playoffs?

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Man does it feel good to see our team get a win after losing two in a row. Also it is good to see a win after we have a fresh new QB take over the reigns. I expected the offense to look better, but it was good to see such a solid team effort pay dividends.

Offense

I don't know if it is good or bad, but I sure do recognize this offense. Tight ends used liberally in the passing game, solid zone blocking inside and out. There were definitely spots to clean up, but our personnel seems much better equipped to run Kubiak's offense.

Quarterback

Brock Osweiler looked pretty damn good for his first NFL start. Granted he should look good with as many years as he's had practicing, but even given that, I have to be impressed with his performance. He threw for 250 yards, had 2 nice looking touchdowns and most importantly didn't throw the ball to the other team.

He really did a pretty superb job of taking what was there to be had honestly. What I didn't see from him was many challenging NFL throws. There weren't back-shoulder throws to the sideline. He didn't really challenge the coverage much.

I find it interesting to see how much difference there is between Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler and how that effects the offense. Because of the mobility of the QB, we were able to cause the defense to defend a wider swath of the field on every play. The offense could go any direction and wasn't as easy to diagnose with our QB under center. There was definitely areas for improvement from Brock, but this is a good building block game.

Line

It seemed to me that the line play flipped from what the normal story has been the past few games: the run blocking was sound, but the pass blocking was lacking. Evan Mathis got completely blown up in big fashion that I saw...that's an outlier from the rest of his season for the most part. I thought our play took a step back when he got dinged up.

While the pass blocking from the right side may be suspect at times, they sure can run block well. Michael Schofield and Louis Vasquez did work over there in the run game.

The area here that needs the most work is the understanding of the blocking scheme by the guys up front and Brock to account for the delayed blitzes that have worked fairly consistently all year long. Teams are still getting us with delayed blitzes and the blitzes will keep coming until we stop it.

Running backs

When you get the line to start blocking well good things happen in the backfield. Both Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson averaged an impressive 4.9 yards per carry on 33 carries between them. That is exactly the kind of production our offense is looking for.

What I really liked about the running game was that the team was able to use the running backs different skill sets to achieve their goals and the run game appeared to keep the defense off-balance. Where Hillman would get them racing to try to beat him to the edge, C.J. would get them to over commit, then burst through the holes with power. The future is bright for both of these guys in this offense especially now that they get the advantage of a QB under center instead of in the pistol or shotgun all the time.

Receivers

Big shout out first of all to our tight end group. Gary Kubiak loves him some tight end routes in his scheme and it showed in this game. Our new weapon Vernon Davis led the team (by my books) catching every one of the 6 throws sent his way averaging 11.3 yards per catch. Owen Daniels showed that his route running is still a big plus in this offense and had more production (4 catches 69 yards averaging 17.3 yards per catch). Virgil Green also chipped in a catch for 9 yards to round out the group.

Demaryius Thomas showed us again his high end skill in the open field by housing a catch where the scheme caught the Bears napping. As a big receiver, he has jets like no other and we need to try to get him involved more on throws that can get him in space so he can have the chance to make more big plays. The one thing I didn't like about him in this game was a short curl he ran where he stood there waiting for the ball instead of attacking it with his physicality. The defender held his arm down and broke up the pass with no large difficulty and I couldn't help but think that Dez Bryant or Calvin Johnson makes that catch 10 times out of 10 against a smaller defender like that.

I liked the game that Cody Latimer put out on the field. He's a guy who has great raw athletic ability and it showed in this offense. He may have a hard time with the more complicated plays in the NFL, but you have to think that in an offense like Kubiak, we can keep finding ways like this to get him into routes (go, post, corner, and digs) that utilize his superior abilities instead of perfectly accurate routes to succeed. Congrats on the TD, Latimer. We are all stoked to see more of them in the future!

Defense

The defense looked a lot much better when they had lots of rest than what we've seen the past couple of games. Our time of possessions was ~33min to ~27min. The defense had an impact throughout the game and yes, there is a correlation there.

Front 7

I liked the run defense from our front 7 the most. Any time that the opposing QB is the best looking rusher is a win most of the time in the NFL. I think we'll see some pretty darn good scores from the interior guys again this week. Sylvester Williams and Darius Kilgo both looked pretty decent in the middle (it was nice to see Kilgo active really...he's a sharp looking rookie).

The most frustrating thing about the pass rush was that it didn't get home more. That's not because our guys suck, it is just because the opponents of the Denver Broncos in 2015 appear to be allowed to hold on the edges every since week 3. More on that later.

I'm so jazzed to see that the guys never give up. Von Miller would not be denied in this game and eventually had a strip sack that ended up being an interception by Malik Jackson. It was a game changing play and that is what you want out of your defensive stars.

Derek Wolfe really needs some big time props. Since returning from suspension, he's playing like his hair is on fire and this game was one of the better ones I've seen from him. He had a sack (really big time swim move that looked slick as heck), two TFLs, and a QB hit.

Another guy who needs some love is Danny Trevathan. He was a monster in this game all over the place and showed up very well in coverage with a PD and INT. His 8 tackles led the team and was followed by his partner in crime Brandon Marshall with 7.

Secondary

Surprisingly Chris Harris, Jr. I thought had a pretty poor day. He got matched up on a pretty speedy WR who gave him the slip more than once for decent gains. CHJ was still there for the tackle, but he must have gotten caught flat-footed a bit. This is going to be one of those games he looks at as motivation for him to do better.

T.J. Ward was going to get a tons of love from me in this game, as he had 2 really great QB hits on blitzes and played well in coverage, but he kinda threw all that away with a late hit on Cutler - helmet-to-helmet no less. This story is getting really old for the Denver defense and T.J. needs to sit down and read more about the difference between "aggressive play" and "stupid play".  For two weeks in a row he's been including the later with his regular dose of the former.

Chicago predictably threw a lot to their tight ends. Bradley Roby got to defend quite a few of those guys and ended up getting ran over in pass defense a couple of times when he was in position to intercept the ball. Great play all over the field, Roby.

Special Teams

Man did Britton Colquitt suck eggs in this game. His average was 39.6 and could have been easily 45 or more. He had at least two punts that were just weak-sauce (35-yards with a generous roll and 27-yards). He really needs to hit the field and work on his placement inside the 15. Too much of the time he has the kind of punting distance on 4th down to pin teams back and consistently fails to hit the mark and give his coverage guys a chance at getting to the ball.

Also, Omar Bolden had a total whisky tango foxtrot moment in judging the kickoff and let one hit right past the end zone line and roll out. It cost us big yards and if he'd have been there, he could have probably gotten big yards in his return or at the worst downed it for a touchback.

Final Thoughts

Seriously, pound sand in a dark, cold hole, Ruben Fowler and Co. Your refereeing team sucks at their jobs. I've seen football where the refs are giving every advantage to a team and this was another example of that. I hope Denver gives a 2 hour video mock up of the penalties you didn't call on Chicago this game and the "P.I." calls that you called against our defenders. I know if I had Game Pass, I'd be pretty darned tempted to spend some quality time making GIFs of it for an article. No one wants to talk about the officiating, but it was just that bad and it wasn't just the Broncos fans who thought so.

We don't have long to cheer about this win, New England is coming to town on Sunday. I hope Brock has his big-boy Bronco underoos pulled up high and tight. He's going to have a big challenge this week against an undefeated team.