Good teams are supposed to beat bad teams handily. This story played out pretty much how you would have expected a game in which a 3-0 team that looks better each week faces a 1-2 team that looks like it has a lot of holes.
Denver’s defense looked spectacular once again and while the offense had to deal with the loss of its starting QB, it still looked like a unit that is improving in the passing game with every passing week.
I liked how this team attacked the secondary of the Bucs. The passing game looked fairly sharp when our QB had time to throw. The running game wasn’t overly impressive, but with a shaky line dealing with injuries, that’s about what I would expect.
Trevor Siemian kicked things off with a hot start after the defense gave him a very short field. He had a great play call against zone and got the ball to DT in space where he could use his size and speed to score the ball.
He seems so comfortable now throwing at all levels. He’s placing the ball in good spaces even throwing high in the end zone in the 1st half to draw a PI call and have the ball where only Jordan Taylor would have a chance to jump and grab it.
Paxton Lynch came in for an injured Siemian right at the end of the 1st half. His accuracy was a little wild, but his throws were going to good spots in space where only his guy could get the ball.
Lynch was called on to make a variety of plays, not just his comfortable shotgun. One play that stood out to me was a 3 step drop slant to DT that showed off perfect timing. One of his best plays was a playaction pass early in the 4th quarter to DT for 20 yards. His playaction bootleg touchdown throw was classic Kubiak and is the kind of play call that seems tailor made for Lynch.
So while I knock him a bit on his accuracy, I have to say the thing that impressed me most with Lynch was how fast he got the ball out. That kind of decisiveness is key in the NFL and leads to an offense that is going to move the ball proficiently.
Once he gets dialed in with his receivers more, he’ll be a dangerous NFL QB as he has an absolute cannon for an arm. Watching him play against starters makes me see very clearly why Elway moved up to draft him.
The offensive line struggled to get 1 yard yet again early in the game on 3rd down. It has been an eyesore so far in 2016 and doesn’t appear to be getting fixed in a consistent manner. Later in the 2nd quarter at the goal line the line gets it right and dominates to give Anderson a big hole to run through. The problem I’m seeing is that our guys only win these types of short yardage battle 1 out of every 4 times at best.
The pass protection was very shaky in this game leaving Siemian under pressure early and often. This is surprising as the Bucs aren’t renown for their pass rush...they even lost their best pass rusher to injury and we still had trouble keeping Siemian clean early.
Ty Sambrailo was on skates and gave up a big sack at one point. I saw more this week of him getting pushed around and was not impressed with his work at right tackle.
The other guy on the line that looked woeful at times was Max Garcia. This really has me scratching my head as I remember him looking much better than this last year. I’m not sure what the issue is with him in 2016, but the kid isn’t cutting it as a starting left guard.
C.J. Anderson continues to make questionable lane choices in the run game. He seems as likely to run into a defender as he is to run between them. His run average was an unimpressive 2.6 yards per carry on 19 attempts. Some of this has to do with our line not getting a hole opened up, but there’s enough times that my eyes are telling me he’s missing a cutback to make me think that starting Booker may be a good wake-up call for week 5.
Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs both looked fairly good in relief work though their carries were 7 and 3 respectively and a lot of the carries came later in the game.
Jeff Heuerman had a great route down the seam early to give us a good TE threat in the passing game. I wish he’d show up more than one catch per game though as I keep hearing about what a great weapon he is while not getting to see it on the field.
Emmanuel Sanders was once again a dominant force in the passing game. He was a security blanket for both QBs and helped convert several 3rd downs as well as getting a gimme TD pass from Lynch late in the game.
Jordan Taylor not only drew a good PI in the end zone, but made a great play on a short pass to get 9 yards when he should have been tackled for 2. From what I’ve seen on the field, I’d be a fan of moving him up the depth chart over Fowler as I think there’s more upside to Taylor’s play.
Jordan Norwood had a couple of really good receptions for some key yardage. On a 2nd and 17 he picked up a 1st down across the middle. He’s quietly being an impactful #3/#4 WR for the team and a guy that the QBs can trust.
What can you say about this defense? They are lights-out and clearly the most disruptive defense in the NFL bar none. The pass rush continues to be completely relentless. The secondary is the best the NFL has to offer as a unit. Wade Phillps called another brilliant game. Any time you hold your opponent to less than 10 points, your defense kicked some tail and took names.
On a 3rd and long in the red zone, the middle of the line gets opened up and the QB scores an easy TD. The outside pressure was there, but the inside of the line wasn’t able to hold up.
Winn blows up the line for a TFL on a great stunt from the LDE spot. He also showed off some good hands late in the game to catch a fumble in midair.
Jared Crick did superb job staying with the RB on a 3rd down screen play. His pass rush looked really good as well as he had 3 quarterback hits on the day.
Shaquil Barrett does a great job penetrating and breaking up a run. Later he rushes around the end and bats down a screen pass. He got a lot of action late in the game and tallied a sack, 2 TFL, a qb hit, and a pass defense.
Sylvester Williams flashes with a sack straight up the middle and wrapping up the ankles. This was probably the best play I’ve seen from Williams ever. If he can generate that kind of pressure just a couple times a game, he’ll get paid big time next year. Don’t hold your breath though...this was more likely just an outlier.
Derek Wolfe gets a sack for being persistent after Miller scares Winston into scrambling. He also showed off his strength holding the guy with one arm and not letting him get away. On the very next drive he powers through his defender and gets another sack to stop the Bucs on 3rd down. Wolf’s play was so nasty good in this game. He’s really showing Broncos Country the goods after getting rewarded with a nice new contract last year.
Aqib Talib great pick on an overthrow by Winston. Later in the 1st half, Winston throws on Talib and pays for it again as Talib baits him and then undercuts the route. I keep praising Talib every week and it feels a bit old at this point. Talib is playing corner as well as anyone in the NFL through 4 weeks of play.
That being said, what does that say about Chris Harris, Jr. that he’s not getting the targets? I know it has been said elsewhere, but really CHJ isn’t getting thrown on much lately and it will be interesting to see what happens as the season moves forward.
Will Parks tries to defend a deep pass and jumps through the receiver instead of timing it to go after the ball and gets a PI call. It was a pretty sloppy play, but one that should be able to be cleaned up with more practice.
Kayvon Webster’s punt down inside the 10 was a great play on special teams that is worth some kudos...the guy is the special teams captain for a reason.
The Denver Broncos look nothing like what the mainstream media has been painting them to be in 2016. They are supposed to take a step back. They lost great free agents. They don’t have the same talent. Manning is gone so now they will suck.
Pretty much everything the talking heads would like to happen is a pipe-dream. Denver is playing great football and are undefeated so far in 2016. I’m looking at our schedule and see no games anywhere that concern me as a fan. I’m not saying they will be undefeated, I’m just saying if they keep playing football like this, I can’t find a game where I think they will likely lose.