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Broncos vs Falcons: The No Bull Review

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The Denver Broncos faced the Atlanta Falcons at home on week 5 of the 2016 NFL season. Here are my thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the Denver Broncos’ most recent game.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Well, we faced a really solid team in the Atlanta Falcons this week and got beat. While unfortunate and not what many of us saw coming, it solidly isn’t the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination.

Hats off to the Falcons. Their defense played out of this world. Their offense came in with a superb game plan and took advantage of some kinks in the vaunted No Fly Zone. Their coaches coached better.

As a fan, it is hard for me to get very mad about this loss. Our team had an off day and didn’t play to their potential. In the NFL if you do that, you are going to lose the game the vast majority of the time.

Offense

The offense plainly looked very poor in week 5. Our running game was inept. Out passing game was completely inconsistent. We had big problems with pass blocking and the offense just looked like it was not firing even on half of its cylinders.

Quarterbacks

Paxton Lynch started the game off with a lot of overthrows. That kind of poor accuracy will lead to turnovers. On Lynch’s INT it was a perfect example of how an overthrow can hurt you in this league. The big thing I noticed here was that if he just pump fakes deep, there’s a 10 yard gain right underneath DT. In the NFL you have to be able to move coverage with your eyes and can’t be too impatient.

Lynch’s decision making was just a hair slow multiple times which almost caused turnovers on timing routes. Chalk this up to a rookie coming in and playing how you would expect him to. He hasn’t had a year to hone his skills like Siemian has and as such, looked poor a lot on Sunday.

The other thing he needs to learn to do is climb the pocket. There were several times where he was trying to scramble laterally instead of just stepping up into the pocket into a huge gap just waiting for him to take advantage of.

Of course, there are positives to his play worth talking about. His scramble ability showed up often given how poor our line protected him. He’s a very athletic QB who can extend plays. It is a valuable asset to have at QB especially when your line is blocking so poorly.

The other thing is the guy’s arm is flat-out impressive. Once he gets some better touch and accuracy, he’ll be the kind of QB that can light up the scoreboard. This is going to take some time though. From what I saw on Sunday, Lynch isn’t quite ready for the starting role yet.

Line

Ty Sambrailo continues to look like a T-Rex at RT. I can’t say enough how poor his play was through the whole game. He constantly was getting beat. His pass blocking looked more like an impression of a fence post. He lacks footwork, power, technique, and quickness. Basically, I’m having a hard time seeing how this guy is a legitimate NFL tackle in any way, shape, or form. Maybe this is due to his injury. Maybe he’s a better guard than he is a tackle (like Schofield). But either way, the guy had the better part of 3 quarters of play to look bad at RT.

Russel Okung plays so physical. He’s a big asset on the field that brings a little edge to our O-Line. If not for him and Paradis, I would be in despair for this line.

The pass blocking all day was plainly terrible. Garcia, Schofield, and Sambrailo were playing ole’ at times with their defenders. To make matters worse, most of the time the pressure came on 4 man rushes.

Running Backs

Devontae Booker once again looking like a superior back in comparison to C.J. Anderson. Anderson and he had very similar ypc (3.7 Anderson, 3.8 Booker), but a lot of Anderson’s yards came late in the game. Early on it was tough sledding.

It is very possible this lack of production from our run game is due to the play of the line. There weren’t a lot of big holes being opened up. That being said, it seems to my eyes like Booker does more with less than Anderson does.

Receivers

Emmanuel Sanders bails out a bad throw with a great jump and catch early. To start off the 2nd half Sanders gets a nice deep ball right behind the LBs. The guy is balling out each week even when the rest of the offense isn’t playing well.

Demaryius Thomas also made the best out of a bad day from what I saw. I loved his TD. It was a great example of his using his size, strength, and quickness to score a ball that most WRs can’t make happen.

I really think this team is going to be happy to have Virgil Green back. Our tight ends were completely impotent in this game. This is an area of the team that needs bolstered in a bad way.

Defense

We’ve got a super pass rush. We have the best secondary in the league. Unfortunately our interior linebackers may not match up well against really superb pass-catching running backs. Sadly our defense got out-played. Look for other teams in the future to try to take advantage of Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall in coverage like what the Falcons did.

Front 7

Todd Davis saves a TD with a manly stop at the goal line. The Falcons scored on the next play, but it was one heck of a stop at the goalline. Later in the game he got singled up on coverage often with Coleman and gave up some huge gains. His strength is not in coverage. Teams will attack this weakness moving forward.

Corey Nelson gives up a 1st down easy on a defensive hold that he didn’t need to make. It seemed to me like he was brought in on a passing situation to cover since he is a little quicker than Davis, but ended up playing just as poorly.

Shane Ray had several nice plays on the outside. Did a good job setting the edge in the run game and being a disruptive pass rusher. He’s not DeMarcus Ware, but he’s not that big of a step down from Ware either.

Von Miller is not stoppable - his spin move to get a sack in the 3rd quarter was filthy and wrong. I love that Miller looks like a man on a mission this year. Usually guys that sign their big contracts kind of take a step back that year, but this guy has shown no signs of that whatsoever.

Brandon Marshall looked so flat footed in coverage on the TD in the 3rd quarter. Safety help wasn’t ready for it at all as Ward didn’t have an angle to crash down and help out and the Falcons got a TD out of it. I really was scratching my head about this. In the past few years, Marshall has been absolutely superb in coverage.

Secondary

Aqib early superb pass breakup early. His play was again top-notch for a #1 NFL corner.

T.J. Ward sloppy tackle early leads to a big 40 yard gain. Later in the game he had a superb play stealing Sanu’s lunch money in coverage. Really in coverage, Ward has always been up and down. I’ve always thought he’s best playing off-man technique and attacking the ball. When he gets to play press on a guy, he can get lost with double moves and fakes at times.

Chris Harris, Jr. showed off some superb coverage all over the 1st half. He almost had a pick in man coverage to the sideline. He was lined up on Julio Jones often and honestly did a supreme job against a guy that I felt would have had a big advantage over him.

Special Teams

Cody Latimer lost our team so many yards today in the return game. He constantly brought the ball out and failed to reach the 25. I like the aggressive risk taking when the kickoff is just a yard deep in the end zone, but it makes no sense most of the time to run the ball out.

Final Thoughts

Our team played a poor game. It wasn’t just one side of the ball or the other. This is going to happen to every team in the NFL in the regular season. The good thing for Denver is that this was a non-conference opponent. The damage to our team is minimal from a playoff perspective.

The team really needs Donald Stephenson and Virgil Green back on the field. I feel like those two players will add a lot back into the offense for both the run and the passing game.

We’ll all be watching the defense moving forward to see if this running back coverage issue is a big weakness. I don’t expect it is though. Atlanta’s RBs are very talented and not every team in the NFL has backs that can do what they do in the passing game.

I do love the way the team fought to the end. We made a game out of it and almost pulled out a win we had no business getting. That kind of heart is good to see and it is the kind of play we rode to a Super Bowl last season.