Life is good again. The Denver Broncos got back to their winning ways with their 27-9 dismantling of Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans. And it happened on Monday Night Football no less.
The Broncos played well in all three phases, which means we go to learn a bit more about this team than usual.
1. Andy Janovich is the Broncos life blood on offense
With just five snaps against the San Diego Chargers, Andy Janovich was a non-factor in the game. The run game was also a non-factor as was pass protection. It was annoying enough for us to blog about.
Gary Kubiak may not have heard our noise, but he sure came to the same conclusion when game planning for the Texans.
#Broncos FB is a HAMMER https://t.co/oKWU0Mqjbf— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) October 25, 2016
Let’s hope they continue using Janovich effectively. It can only help this offense.
2. The No Fly Zone is better than last year
I have been hesitant calling any part of this defense better than the historic one that won a Super Bowl championship in 2015. However, I think after seven games, we can say the secondary is better than any wide receiver unit in football.
DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller combined for 58 yards.— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) October 25, 2016
That was on 19 targets.
Not only that, they figured out how to cover running backs and tight ends out of the backfield. The coverage was so stout that Brock Osweiler set records for lowest yards per attempt.
DEN D held Brock to 2nd lowest ypa in NFL history for a passer with 40 or more attempts - 3.2 yards per attempt #noflyzone— Joseph Mahoney (@ndjomo76) October 25, 2016
That is an astounding feat. What’s more amazing is that half of Osweiler’s yards came on his final couple of drives in the fourth quarter when the Broncos defense played for time rather than domination.
3. Corey Nelson and Kayvon Webster dominate on special teams
With Shane Lechler clearly winning the punting battle against Riley Dixon early on, it came down to the Broncos special teams unit to make some plays. It seemed, to me anyway, that Corey Nelson was in on nearly every play that stopped a Texans returner. The other guy right there with him? Kayvon Webster.
Those two were game changers when the game was a battle of field position. Add in a partially blocked punt from Shaquil Barrett and you have yourself a fine even for a unit.
Hats off to Joe DeCamillis whose unit came out and played hard for him after a tough week as interim head coach.
4. Trevor Siemian is really good when the running game is working
Against the Chargers, Trevor Siemian struggled. The protection was spotty, but even when it was solid he looked lost and indecisive. Part of it was the playcalling, but a bigger part of it was the nonexistent running game. Siemian is not the kind of quarterback that can put the team on his shoulders to win a game, which means the guys around him must work together to succeed. And work together they did on Monday night.
“I think obviously last week we had 50 throws,” Siemian said of attempting half the throws against the Texans. “It’s going to be tough to get it done that way. It was good to have some balance back in the offense. We did a lot of good things and hopefully we’ll be able to build back up to it.”
With the run game, everything opens up for Siemian. Outside of protecting the football, his biggest strength is managing the game. He won’t light things up, but if the running game is working he’ll end up sticking a dagger in the heart of the defense when they least expect it.
“You’re probably going to get a lot of single-safety stuff,” Siemain said of how the run game opens things up. “We have to run the ball, that’s a staple of this offense: run-play, pass,- boot, the keeper, etc., so hopefully we’ll be able to continue to build on the things we did tonight.”
That’s not to say Siemian isn’t getting it done in obvious passing situations. On his touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, the situation was clearly a passing one. It was third and goal from the four yard-line and Thomas was singled up on the outside. It was an easy pitch and catch for Siemian.
5. C.J. Anderson plays better when being pushed by another back
We saw this C.J. Anderson last year after he lost his job to Ronnie Hillman. He slowly worked his way back into the beastly workhorse. With Devontae Booker eating up his carries, Anderson had himself a night with 16 carries for 107 yards and one touchdown.
Booker also put a night together with 17 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown of his own. It’s the kind of one-two punch the Anderson excels under. You can expect a similar game plan against the Chargers this week.
On his touchdown run, you can see the great vision and cutback ability that Anderson brings to the table. The authority and violence of his running is what we saw from him down the stretch in 2015 that helped secure homefield advantage for the Broncos.
More of this, please, Coach Kubiak!