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Broncos at Chargers: The No Bull Review

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The Denver Broncos went into San Diego to face the Chargers fresh off their upset of the previously undefeated New England Patriots. This game was a lesson in defensive dominance and offensive game management. Let's dig in and talk Broncos football, the No Fly Zone, and another game where we dominated the Chargers.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I sure do love seeing us completely dismantle the team led by Phillip Rivers (a guy who I consider to have the most punchable face outside of Tom Brady in the NFL, but I digress...). San Diego was never even remotely in this game though they did threaten to get in it a couple of times. Overall, our defense was too stout for them and they had no answers to our pass rush outside of crossing routes (that we shut down as the game wore on).

It seemed to me in this game that Gary Kubiak and company were fully okay with playing don't lose conservative football because they didn't believe that San Diego had the goods to beat us without our help.

Offense

I liked the creativity we saw this week from Kubes: an end around to our speed WR, lots of bootleg passing, some nice toss plays, and some decently executed screen plays. I didn't like the execution of the offense overall though. Anyone who thought we did a good job offensively wasn't paying close attention. We played below-average NFL football on offense against a bad team and got away with it.

Quarterback

San Diego found something that Brock doesn't do well: diagnosing changing coverage schemes. The first two games Brock started this year were more about teams trying to pressure him. That didn't work well so SD stayed back and played coverage. Brock looked a bit dazed and confused back there. He hesitated way too much and didn't focus on reading the patterns as they developed. He has work to do in this area.

I truly think his INT was a terrible idea at every level. The defender had perfect position all the way on that pass and Sanders is not the guy you want to throw a jump ball up to. He's the guy you want to throw a rope in front of and have him beat his guy to it.

I think you either pick a different route there, or run that kind of play to DT or Vernon Davis instead and you have a much better chance for success.

Sadly we saw Brock's first complete derp throw of the season that Eric Weddle didn't pick off by grace and bad hands. It was as bad as any pick 6 Manning threw earlier this year and would have likely been housed had Weddle not dropped it. The upside here is that in reality it was just another incomplete pass and provides Brock with a big time learning experience. I imagine his time in film study this week will have lots of productivity to it.

Line

Ryan Harris was pretty darn good this game. Evan Mathis and Max Garcia I didn't notice (this is a good thing). But Matt Paradis and Michael Schofield stuck out to me like a sore thumb. Both guys had multiple plays getting blown off the line and Schofield looked flat-out inept at times. Sadly, I'm not sure if there's anything we can hope to do about it at this point in the season.

Running backs

C.J. Anderson was tearing it up pretty well until he had his ankle turned (stay classy, San Diego!). I did like seeing Juwan Thompson have an impact and liked his running very much in this game. He has some power to him that the other guys (even CJ) just don't have. Ronnie Hillman has cemented himself in my No Bull thoughts as a speedy RB who can't take a hit without going down. Sadly, without superior blocking in front of him, he's not lighting up any big runs with this offense anytime soon. The good thing is that we can keep giving him carries and eventually he is going to break one.

Receivers

Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders kinda flipped forms this week. DT was catching everything thrown his way while Sanders missed on 5 of his targets (many of which were bad throws to be honest).

I'm still a big fan of where we are on this team with our TEs. I think them getting involved is being very good for Brock early in his starting career. Vernon Davis looks dialed in and if not for his concussion, I think he was being set up for a very big 2nd half.

Defense

I really can't say much other than "Wow!" This is the kind of football I really groove on: big time defense being played by our guys in Orange and Blue the likes of which we haven't really seen since the days of Al Wilson. This game had everything: pass rush, run defense, TE coverage, elite DB play, and...wait for it...NO STUPID PENALTIES!!! Well done, Defense!

Front 7

Let's get something straight right off the bat: Malik Jackson straight up beat on Orlando Franklin like Franklin stole something. Jackson was a frigging nightmare for Phillip Rivers all game long and was even more impactful to the passing failures by Rivers than Von Miller. Think about that for a second: our 3-4 DE was doing a better pass rush job than Von Miller.

Also I'm honestly blown away with Derek Wolfe turning in another dominating performance. Week in and week out he's absolutely owning his side of the line. Those two up front are making it very easy for us to not have Sylvester Williams in the game wihout missing a beat.

Von Miller needs some big time props as well. I love his game and I really love seeing him light it up when the moments are big. He came up big last week with late game play and did it this week too. I almost think Von was closer to Phillip Rivers than Rivers' wife was this week. I was trying to read Rivers' lips when he was jawing at Von and all I got was, "You HAVE to stop violating me like that. It makes me feel small and dirty inside. There is only one person on this earth who should know me that well..."

Among all these great performances up front, it is easy to miss the work that our young guns Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett did. They were all over everything: tackles, sacks, TFL, QB hits, a pass defense for Barrett, and a partridge in a pear tree. We seriously have a disgusting amount of talent at OLB. It really isn't fair to the parity of the NFL...seriously.

Danny Trevathan's pick 6 was pretty significant and I thought he put in a really good game. His partner in crime Brandon Marshall also had a solid, if not spectacular game.

Secondary

Let's give the biggest props for the secondary to Josh Bush. This kid rejoined the team this week. He then came in on a handful of plays and made an impact on what seemed like every friggin one! He even forced a fumble. That's how you find a spot on the team as long as you can contribute to special teams as well.

David Bruton had a pretty impactful game. I did think his helmet hit is going to rightfully get fined this week. He could have used his shoulder and I wouldn't have argued with the refs flagging him. It was a bad hit. Other than though, I really liked his game this week. San Diego really tried to isolate him in coverage with the Tight Ends and it just didn't work very well. Yes their crossing routes had some minor success, but they didn't really bear any fruit thanks to Bruton's solid coverage.

Darian Stewart is the most pleasant surprise to me this season. He's the free safety I have been asking for for years. I had my doubts going into the year because of how little he'd played FS previously, but the guy has the goods. He plays smart and he takes the right angles to be a play maker. It is easy to get bummed about his pass defense that kept Talib from getting a pick, but keep in mind there was no way for Stewart to know the position was that good...his job is to defend that pass and he looked awesome swatting it away. Rahim Moore should watch some film on D Stew and take notes: this is how you play free safety in the NFL.

San Diego didn't challenge our corners very much, but all three of our top corners showed up well in game. Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., and Bradley Roby all covered well and made plays. CHJ missed a big opportunity for a pick-6. Some think he was robbed, but not me. Had he not wrapped his arms around the receiver (which was 5 yards past the LOS to be fair), he may have not gotten called. But when you do that, the refs are going to throw that flag every time.

Special Teams

Britton Colquitt had a couple of very nice punts that pinned SD deep and one bad punt at the end of the game. I'll take that. It is much better than the derp-fest he showed against NE.

Brandon McManus went 1 out 2 on his FG attempts which is a little disappointing. Just remind yourself that 52 yard FG at sea level is no gimme though and then smile about his really impressive kickoffs that were not returnable at sea level.

Final Thoughts

This was probably the soundest win we've had this season. San Diego was never in this game. Our defense enforced its will on the dolts from the start of the game until the end. Our special teams played solid ball and our offense didn't shoot itself in the foot.

If we play football like this the rest of the year, I really like our chances. Would we be better off if the offense could threaten more of the field? Absolutely, but keep in mind how new Brock is to starting. Give him and Kubiak time. Brock needs these precious snaps for learning and as long as he dials in and works at it, he should be able to improve his lacking skills. Until that happens, we just need him to play smart and manage the game.