It’s the final quarter of the regular season, and our MacGyver-patched team is looking to turn its three-game winning streak into four - and going against the 2-10 Niners may just be the way to do it.
So even though our Ultimate Fan this week is super bummed that one of his faves is headed to IR, he’s counting on his other favorite veteran - No. 58 - to pull this team out of its .500 spot and keep the positive trend going (and if that doesn’t work exactly how we’d like it, Road Apples still has other plans for the Vonster, but you’ll have to read on to find out what they are).
For now though, revel in the potential of this young and exciting team and leave the worrying about who isn’t on the roster right now to the pundits and so-called analysts. That’s what they do best.
And what we do best is get hyped about what can be and not fret over what may or may not be. As Whorfin likes to remind us, worrying is for those with no imagination. Lucky for us, Road Apples has plenty of great imagination for how this Broncos team can still make a run for 10-6.
Week 14: Broncos at the Niners
MHR - The Broncos’ win over the Bengals may have started out slow, but once the team got its first touchdown, it got on a roll and couldn’t be stopped - which is similar to its winning streak of late. How did you feel after that road win?
Road Apples: I felt good. I was concerned to some degree about the game. It felt like it could have been a bit of a trap game, going up against a QB that they didn’t have any real tape on, with a team that had some strong offensive weapons. But mostly I’m loving the switch the team seems to have flipped regarding the turnovers.
MHR - Let’s get the bad news over with - no Emmanuel Sanders. Do you think the Broncos’ offense can still get it done for the last four games with two rookies as WR1 and 2?
Road Apples: Ooof. That kind of took the wind out of my sails for a hot minute. We’ve lost so many starters to injury the last couple of weeks, and Emmanuel is a personal favorite of mine, so it wasn’t great news. However, Courtland Sutton has been great, and I have real faith in DaeSean Hamilton, and would like to see Lyndsay get some catches out of the backfield.
I’ll out on a limb here and say that the second Chargers game looms large, and the injuries may be most apparent during that game.
MHR - Sanders hasn’t been the only big loss. Chris Harris Jr. suffered a fibula fracture that will keep him out 4 weeks at least, which followed recent season-ending injuries to Matt Paradis, Jeff Heuerman, Jake Booty, Ron Leary...That’s A LOT of starters to lose - yet this team keeps finding a way to win and the young guys have been impressive. How excited are you about the young studs who are seemingly stepping up?
Road Apples: Whatever the FO did for the 2018 Draft, (and UDFA) they need to continue to follow that formula. This rookie class is so exciting to watch! Lyndsay has quickly become a stud, and he’s honestly my favorite part of this offense. Kid has wheels! Bradley Chubb has been everything we could have wanted, Josey Jewel is coming into his own, Courtland is a stud, and now we get to see Hamilton get his looks...yeah, in a long sorry first half of the season, these young guys were still fun to watch.
MHR - Phillip Lindsay. He’s running like crazy, scoring touchdowns, breaking records, getting honors, trash-talking like a vet but saluting like a pro, still living at home and doing what his mom tells him to do. What more can you say about this kid?
Road Apples: Anybody who respects his Momma is golden in my book. I just wonder how living at home affects his dating life. That’s got to be awkward!
MHR - Despite better offense overall from the Broncos, Bill Musgrave still tends to make some head-scratching calls - such as an empty set on 3rd-and-short or a run-up-the-middle by Lindsay into a stacked box. What is your take on the OC’s play calling of late? What would you like to see from this offense against the 49ers D?
Road Apples: It’s such a mixed bag of late with Ol’ Billy Throws-a-lot. It seems obvious that we need to lean on the run game more, but maybe given Lyndsay’s smaller size, you don’t want to lean on him 30 times a game. And the passing game has been better of late.
But I think Musgrave out-thinks himself in trying to out-think his opponent. And while I love No. 30...short yardage runs up the gut should probably be when we lean on Royce Freeman. I don’t know if you want to be clever and put Freeman in as a full back, and Lyndsay as the running back to add a wrinkle so the defense can’t key in on between the tackles runs on short yardage.
Honestly, from here on out, for every game, I want the offense to get the ball to Lyndsay, Freeman and even Booker. Then ratchet up the play action with Keenum, as that seems to be his bread and butter.
MHR - Richard Sherman is the Niners best corner right now, and he has bounced back from an achilles tear a year ago. Could he be a tough matchup for either Courtland Sutton or DaeSean Hamilton - or will their speed, youth give them the edge?
Road Apples: He could be a problem for Hamilton, I think. He’s not what he used to be, but he’s a smart vet, going up against a green rookie. I think Sutton has the physical tools to counter that experience gap better; he’s just so big and strong, I think he’ll do alright against Sherman.
MHR - Matt Breida won’t be playing on Sunday, which could be a welcome relief for the Broncos defense, but Jeff Wilson Jr. has done admirably filling in. How much of a problem could he be for the defense?
Road Apples: I’ll plead some level of ignorance to this as I haven’t really watched any San Fran games this year. I was hoping my Hawkeye QB CJ Beathard would make some waves but when that didn’t happen I stopped paying attention. That being said, I feel like our Front 7 can hang with anyone.
MHR - Dante Pettis broke free for a 75-yard play last week against Seattle, showcasing quick burst off the line, separation skills and finishing speed. With the Broncos’ patchwork secondary playing, what kind of a problem could HE be for the defense?
Road Apples: This could be a real challenge. Here’s to hoping Roby has one of his stud games, and that Yiadom continues to grow. The secondary (outside CHJ) has been a problem this year, and now...yeesh.
ain’t no room for mistakes, everything gotta be perfect.. FOCUS— William (@PhillyWill11) December 8, 2018
MHR - The 49ers have had bad luck with injuries (Garoppollo) and losing big-name players (Reuben Foster) so they have been struggling. Do you believe Kyle Shanahan is still an offensive mastermind who just hasn’t had a good enough team to win - or is some of the luster of Shanny Jr. gone?
Road Apples: I think it awful hard to have a real solid opinion on what he’s done to this point. This wasn’t an easy job to begin with, then when you lose your $100 million QB along with the other injuries? No way. I think it’s clear he has a mind for the game, but at this point, the jury is still out on his head coaching.
MHR - Vance Joseph seems to publicly be off “the coaching hot seat” after three wins in a row, two of them to top teams. But Broncos fans tend to be a lot more finicky. Where are you on the spectrum of “Fire Vance Joseph even if we win the Super Bowl” to “C’mon, he’s showing improvement, give him a chance” to “VJ is the man!”??
Road Apples: Oh boy! A few weeks ago I was solidly on the “Fire VJ” bandwagon. Some of the decisions the dude made early in the year were too hard to overlook. Football basics seemed like a real struggle for him, and I still take issue with how quickly he deflected blame for losses onto the players. That’s hard to stomach for me. The boss is always responsible. Period.
That being said, I love how hard the team plays for him. And over the last half of the season so far he seems much more confident, and competent, with his decision making. If we continue to play this hard, especially win, after all the injuries, it will be hard for me not to want to see another season out of him. All of that assuming his in-game decisions continue to improve, and he keeps learning.
MHR - Von Miller has been nominated for the team’s choice of the Walter Payton Man of the Year. What can you say about this player?
Road Apples: Von is the man. How can you not love this guy? He’s humble. He’s great in the community. He’s a great teammate. I want Von to marry my sister.
Stats for Case Keenum? 21-35, 270 yards, 1 TD
Stats for each Broncos RB? Lindsay will have 16 rushes for 153 yards (a crazy 9 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns. Freeman will have 9 rushes for 62 yards and a TD. Booker will have 4 catches out of the backfield for 31 yards.
Number of yards receiving/TDs for each receiver? Sutton will have 9 catches for 129 yards and a TD, Hamilton will get 5 catches for 70 yards, and Patrick 3 catches for 40.
Longest FG for McManus? 51 yards.
Number of sacks to Keenum? 2, seems like it’s always 2.
Number of sacks to Nick Mullens? A gazillion? Between Von, Chubb and Harris...5
Broncos player with the most tackles? Todd Davis
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 3
How many f-bombs will Kyle Shanahan throw from the sideline? Enough to entertain me. lol
How many penalties will the refs get wrong? They’ll miss at least 891 holds on Von for starters. And probably all the rest of them too. NFL has to figure this out. For real.
Final Score? 31-28 Broncos
Favorite Broncos game EVER? That has to be the FIRST Super Bowl victory. As a long-time fan from the early 80s, nothing will ever be sweeter than beating the Green Bay Packers in that one.
Team(s) you hate to lose to the most? The Patri$h!ts
Team you love to beat? Chiefs. I live in Iowa, and Chiefs fans here are obnoxious.
Favorite upcoming game this season? Got to be the game against the Chargers (assuming they don’t sit all their starters)
Toughest game (left) on the schedule? Chargers
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? There are so many! But seeing as I want him for a brother-in-law, I guess it’s really the Vonster.
Favorite Broncos player of all time? Steve Atwater. The Smilin’ Assassin. I feel sorry for younger fans who didn’t get to watch that man turn other men inside out with his punishing hits.
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? I mean, how can it not be Lyndsay? (*editor’s note: yeah, it’s really just a set-up so you can answer it the way @docllv wants you too - lol)
Superstitions on game day? I try to avoid having any, so probably the ritualistic avoidance of any kind of ritual, that would probably be it. lol
Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Phil Simms. Got to be.
Favorite sports cliche? Defense wins championships.
How did you become a Broncos fan?
Born in Colorado Springs but moved away as a young kid. Fortunately my older brother was a fan, so I still grew up a Broncos fan.
Which Broncos’ rookie most needs to have the game of his life on Sunday?
This poll is closed