Allow me to get one thing out of the way right now: I love the Denver Broncos. I wish upon wish and hope upon hope that they beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.
But here’s the thing, I also live in the real world and tend to analyze things and go with what my brain tells me instead of what my heart tells me*.
It’s with this trait of mine that I just have to get something off my chest that I’m continuously hearing about this game, and that’s the notion that the Broncos have to limit how many drives the Chiefs have on Monday by grinding out the game and winning the time of possession.
Sounds simple enough, and I’m sure to the layman or former player in the 90’s who struggles to keep up with the ways of the NFL these days, it is a recipe for success. After all, if you hypothetically have the Broncos keeping the ball for 45 minutes and the Chiefs keeping the ball for only 15 minutes, surely the Broncos will win, right?
Wrong! Time of possession in this game will mean absolutely nothing!
In order to beat the Chiefs, you have to beat them at their own game, and that game is called “Scoring lots of points!”
I had already given my two cents about the “keys to the game” in which I semi-seriously and semi-jokingly said that we need to activate every LB and DL/DE we have cause we need to hit Mahomes on literally every play, and because QBs aren’t allowed to be hit, we’ll probably get a lot of ejections. I was serious about the hit him and bring the funk. I was semi-joking about the ejections, even though I’m sure it’ll happen.
But what’s the REAL keys to this game? Its beating the Chiefs at their own game. Period!
The Broncos are going to need to win a shootout. Nobody has been able to slow the Chiefs down on offense, and they routinely score so quickly and efficiently that the opposing team is forced to scrap any notion of a “normal” gameplan and just try to keep up. Well, when you are forced to scrap your gameplan, bad things usually happen.
So instead of a “traditional/normal” gameplan, how about we gameplan to be explosive? Why is an explosive gameplan reserved for KC and Los Angeles Rams? The Broncos aren’t exactly void of talent on the offensive side of the ball.
We have Emmanuel Sanders, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, Case Keenum, Demaryius Thomas, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Jeff Heuerman, and Matt LaCosse. Hell, we even have Chad Kelly if Keenum finds himself limping around and unable to get any velocity behind his throws.
My point is that our cupboard isn’t exactly bare, so why would we hold them back? If you have no faith in Keenum, then why start him? If you have no faith in DT, then why play him? If you think our offense needs to play within itself and be safe and vanilla simply to prevent turnovers, then do you have any faith in our defense to even the score?
I harken back to a game just 9 years ago. Remember it? The Miami Dolphins vs Indianapolis Colts? What was the Dolphins gameplan that day? Oh, that’s right, it was the same gameplan that EVERYBODY is saying the Broncos should have against the Chiefs: Grind out the clock and limit possessions.
Flashback to 2009 and you’ll see that the Dolphins stuck to their gameplan, and boy oh boy I’ve never seen a gameplan executed as beautifully as the Dolphins did that night. They straight DOMINATED the time of possession as they held the ball for 3⁄4 of the game. By the time the clock struck zero, The Dolphins kept the ball for 45:07 and the Colts for 14:53.
Not only that, but the Dolphins dominated in first downs 27 to 14.
They also had more yards, 403 to 356.
Holy cow, what a victory the Dolphins surely came away with, right? WRONG! The Colts actually won! The Dolphins did EVERYTHING the “talking heads” today are saying the Broncos should do. They dominated the time of possession, they dominated running the ball. They dominated getting first downs to extend drives. Hell, they more than DOUBLED the amount of plays they ran. The Dolphins ran 84 plays to the 35 of Indianapolis. They dominated in every phase of the game minus one: Points. They simply couldn’t put up enough points.
That day the Dolphins had 239 rushing yards to just 61 by the Colts.
But Peyton Manning threw for 303 yards with an average per attempt of 13.2 yards. Chad Pennington threw for 183 yards with an average per attempt of 5.5 yards.
What does that tell you? It tells me that the Colts made the very best of their limited possessions. They scored with chunk plays. They scored with explosive plays. It didn’t matter that they only had 35 snaps the entire game, they scored almost 1 point per snap. That’s efficiency, and that’s what the Chiefs will do to the Broncos if they try this nonsensical gameplan.
The Chiefs thrive on big plays. They make 40 yard touchdowns look routine. They make shredding cornerbacks and linebackers look ho-hum. Look, love him or hate him (if you hate him, its because you’re jealous we don’t have him), but Patrick Mahomes is legit. At least for now, with only playing 4 career games, he’s legit. Will he ever crash down to earth? I really don’t know. Did Aaron Rodgers ever crash back down? I’m not here to anoint Mahomes a Hall of Famer, but I am here to give credit where it’s due, and he deserves a lot of it.
So the real key to this game isn’t limiting time of possession. That won’t work as we’ve seen our offense struggle to put up points with traditional gameplans. What we need to do is take the handcuffs off of Keenum and let him air it out. If he throws for 4-5 touchdowns and has 2 interceptions, who cares? That’s better than throwing for 0-1 touchdown and 1 interception. The thing is that if we’re gonna go down, lets go down swinging! Lets not play passive and scared. Lets not stand back and try to see how many punches we can absorb before their arms get tired of hitting us. How about we go out there and try to throttle them? Lets try to take advantage of their piss poor defense by lighting it up? Lets have them play from behind for a damn change! Lets see if their phenom QB can play from behind when the pressure is the highest!
But this passive nonsense about playing scared and limiting possessions? Yeah, that’s not my style and that’s not Emmanuel Sanders’ style. That’s not Von Miller’s style. That’s not Chris Harris Jr’s style. Lets punch them in the mouth instead. Our offense has the potential to be a high powered unit. Lets use this week as the testing ground to see exactly how high and how fast we can go! What better opponent to try it out on than the team with a bad defense and record setting offense? The time is now! So go out there and do it!
As my girl Adrian said to Rocky from the hospital bed... “Win.... WIN!!!”
Well what are we waiting for?!?!
*indicates for most things. Sometimes my heart just leads the way blindly and I end up waiting forever if needed to make my heart happy.