The Denver Broncos may have missed the playoffs for a sixth straight year, but the divisional round was fantastic for Broncos Country. The Packers loss means seven of George Paton’s 10 candidates for head coach could be available for a second interview if the Broncos were interested. The exceptions:
- Los Angeles Rams OC Kevin O’Connell
- Kansas City Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy
- Cincinnati Bengals OC Brian Callahan
Green Bay’s loss also looks like it could spell the end for Aaron Rodgers stay in Wisconsin Beyond that, it was also the best weekend of playoff football I’ve ever watched, and former Broncos were at the center of the action.
Two former Broncos had strong performances in the Titans’ loss.
It was another day at the office for Brett Kern, who has made the Pro Bowl three different times since Josh McDaniels cut him in 2009. Kern punted four different times in the first half and gave his teammates plenty of grass to defend. Three of his kicks were downed within the 20-yard line and yet he still averaged 41.5 yards a punt.
After he was cut from the Broncos last February Kyle Peko left for Tennessee and has carved out a role as the Titans nose tackle. He only played 17 defensive snaps against a Bengals’ offense that routinely plays out of 11 personnel, but made his playing time count with a half sack, a hit on Burrow, and another tackle.
San Francisco 49ers 13 Green Bay Packers 10
After missing time with a knee injury and Covid-19, Billy Turner received the start at left tackle because David Bakhtiari wasn’t able to play. The Broncos former guard and tackle gave up a sack to Samson Ebukam and struggled throughout the game. Making matters worse is how playing him to the blind side hurt the entire line and helped play a role in Green Bay averaging a measly 4.9 yards per play. Rodgers was under siege all game long and ate the frozen turf five different times, while running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined to rush for 66 yards on 19 carries.
Los Angeles Rams 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27
Von Miller finished the game with a sack and four tackles, but it’s what he did beyond the traditional box score that really stood out. There was a stretch in the second quarter where Miller completely overwhelmed Donovan Smith for a drive, during which a flustered Tom Brady received the first unsportsmanlike conduct of his career.
Von speed rush results in a pressure pic.twitter.com/OfirHkj8K1— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 23, 2022
Miller’s strip sack in the fourth quarter gave the Rams the ball at the Tampa Bay 25 with a chance to extend a 27-13 lead. A bad snap on the ensuing snap ensured the Buccaneers had all the opportunities Brady needed to make the game close. Matthew Stafford’s clutch throw to Cooper Kupp in the closing seconds ensured we’ll get a chance to see Von Miller play in the NFC Championship game.
Kansas City Chiefs 42 Buffalo Bills 36
Box score scouts won’t be impressed with Isaiah McKenzie or Emmanuel Sanders’ numbers from what is easily one of the best games I’ve ever watched as neither were focal parts of the game plan. They were critical part of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen’s nights, however. McKenzie’s role as as an offensive motion man helped to occupy Chief defenders throughout the game. Sanders 16-yard grab came on Buffalo’s penultimate play and gave Allen the chance to hit Gabriel Davis for the fourth touchdown of his 201-yard night.
Which former Bronco stood out most in the divisional round?
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