Ho ho ho, Broncos Country!
I come bearing gifts - as I do here every week - but of course on a holiday weekend, it feels even a little more special.
Our beloved - and beleaguered - Denver Broncos are playing on Christmas Day, so hopefully most of us have been good enough this year for Santa to bring a couple more wins (personally, I just asked him to help us beat the Chiefs, but I like wins wherever and however they come, so let's tackle the Rams first!)
Flit007 has lived up to his “007” portion and been secretly hiding out from the comments most of the season, but he’s coming back strong as our Ultimate Fan and picking the W against the reigning Super Bowl champs. Nevermind that the former world championship team boasts the same putrid 4-10 record as Denver because at this point it’s about pride and the Broncos of late have been proving they care about winning.
And as our UFGer says, “damn it feels good to win!”
I couldn’t agree more. Happy holidays to all and GO BRONCOS!
A special #ChristmasDay #DENvsLAR edition of #TheRoundUp, featuring my interview w/ @jsimms1119 about his very cool @BudLight signed jersey giveaway plus thoughts on the disappointing season, the #Broncos' D and building on successes the final games.https://t.co/mYtAmhmwJD— Doctor of Words (and tights) (@docllv) December 24, 2022
Week 16: Broncos at Rams
MHR - OK, be honest…how did you feel at halftime at 9-3 Cards last week…did you keep the TV on (or stay at the game)? And then how did you feel at the end (a little bad for not believing in them, lol?)
Flit007: Honestly, I felt like we were in for another loss. We had seen the team be unable to score in second halves all season long (and many first halves too), so the fact that we were down 6 heading into halftime did not instill confidence in my mind that we were going to win. However, I kept the TV on throughout the game, and what I witnessed was magical. We scored multiple second-half touchdowns, and put the Cardinals away. The playoffs are out of reach for us regardless, but damn did it feel good to actually win a game for once!
MHR - A 4-10 season so far is NOTHING like we thought it would be, but the past few games have at least been a glimpse of something better. Are you feeling HO HO HO about this team for the remaining games or more Bah Humbug?
Flit007: I am actually feeling hopeful for the remainder of our games. It feels like the team has finally figured something out offensively (hello dynamic run game), and I see no reason why we can’t finish out the season strong as a result. Hopefully next season we are luckier injury-wise, and the offense rolls all season long instead of late in the year when the chances of making the playoffs are already long gone.
MHR - The Rams have had a similarly disappointing season, especially having been Super Bowl champs (we know a little something about that post-SB slump). But which 4-10 team has the edge on Sunday and what is it that gives it the edge (not as many injured? Better coaching? Better QB? etc)
Flit007: I believe that we have the edge Sunday (something that has not been the case for much of this year). McVay is easily a better coach than Hackett, but the Rams sans Stafford, Donald, and Kupp are quite beatable. We should win if the recent offensive success continues.
MHR - In an SBNation poll this week, we (stupidly) asked which QB should start … AND 53% SAID RYPIEN!! Are you in the majority here? If so, explain yourself ;) If not, why is Broncos Country always obsessed with the backup QBs? lol.
Flit007: Rypien got us the win last week, but I’m of the belief that we would’ve absolutely stomped the Cardinals last week had Wilson played. He finally looked like his old self against KC before getting a concussion, which is why I believe that he should start this week.
MHR - OK, let’s talk serious Broncos offense where Wilson is, of course, playing. What should Wilson, Hackett, Kubiak be scheming up against the Rams defense (which, thankfully probably doesn’t include Aaron Donald) but still could do damage to our fragile offense?
Flit007: They need to just keep doing what has been working the past few weeks, which is staying committed to running the ball with Murray and Mack. Our banged up offensive line struggles to hold up in pass protection, so it’s in the best interest of Russell Wilson for any and all passing plays to be quick at developing (*editor’s note: AMEN!)
MHR - Latavious Murray and Marlon Mack have proved a pretty good old pair of backs ;) How could they be effective against the Rams D, which will no doubt try to stop the run and force Wilson into being the pocket passer we all know he is not!?
Flit007: I think that their effectiveness in large part depends on Russell Wilson: if he comes out firing and proves that he can keep the chains moving with his passing, then Mack and Murray will really have a chance to shine against the rams D, because they won’t be able to stack the box against them.
MHR - I think I ask this question every week but I’m still waiting for a Broncos offensive coordinator to really - and I mean REALLY - use our tight ends to our advantage. Dulcich is still learning route running but he has been pretty effective when thrown to. Would you like to see more TEs catching the ball?
Flit007: For sure. Dulcich has been impressive this season (especially for a rookie TE), and quick passes to him should be a staple of our offense, a unit that struggles to effectively run plays that involve deep routes that take a few seconds to develop downfield.
MHR - The Rams offense is obviously a shell of its former self but Sean McVay has proved to be a very effective play caller and Baker Mayfield is scrappy if nothing else. What will be the biggest challenge for the Broncos defense on Sunday?
Flit007: McVay is one the league’s best coaches, and I have no doubt that he will have some tricks up his sleeve for our defense this Sunday. The biggest challenge will probably be slowing down the ram’s run game on Sunday, but as long as we do that and are able to dare Mayfield to beat us with his arm, then I like our chances of getting the W.
MHR - Randy Gregory is still questionable for the Rams. Is it important to have him Sunday if he’s not 100%? Or would it be better to save him for Chargers and Chiefs the following week? How important will the pass rush be against Mayfield?
Flit007: Our pass rush has been surprisingly effective all season, even with the constant injuries to key players. I give all the credit in the world to Ejiro Evero, and I have enough confidence in his defensive play calling that I fully believe keeping Gregory out of the game if he isn’t 100% is the right move for us to make.
Broncos Country!! Thanks For all the love and appreciation First One… Forever Grateful. Only Up from here ! pic.twitter.com/lESoVWqY7S— Patrick Surtain (@PatSurtainll) December 22, 2022
MHR - Pat Surtain II was named a Pro Bowl starter as a second-year cornerback. What are your thoughts on his future in the league? Were there any other Broncos players who deserved to be Pro Bowlers?
Flit007: PS2 is a top 3 corner, and it’s only his second year in the league! I expect big things from him moving forward; he’s going to be an elite player for a long time. With the season we’ve had, Surtain is the only player on our team that truly deserved a pro bowl nod in my mind, and I’m ecstatic to see he was named a starter.
MHR - Which player or unit on the defense is an unsung hero in a group of very strong defensive players?
Flit007: Josey Jewell. His absence for most of last season significantly hindered our run defense, as well as our ability to limit opposing tight ends: two things that we have been noticeably better at times his year. Jewell has quietly had a great season for us, and alongside Alex Singleton has comprised our best ILB duo since the days of Trevathan and Marshall.
MHR - Justin Simmons is now in an elite category among safeties with the most INTs among all safeties in the NFL since his rookie year of 2016. Although this secondary isn’t flashy like the No Fly Zone, it has been quite effective. How does it compare to that NFZ group and will we ever see a unit like that again? (and do we need to…or should that group own its status atop the NFL secondaries for a long time)?
Flit007: Our secondary is definitely among the NFL’s best, and while they do force their fair share of turnovers, their one clear weakness in my opinion is that they don’t get key stops when you absolutely need them to (like the games against Baltimore and KC from the past few weeks). Because of that, I see them as being a few notches below the NFZ, although that group is a top 3 defense ever, and quite possibly the last time we will ever see a defense so dominant due to today’s offensive-centric game, so comparing any defense to them is unfair.
MHR - How do you feel about Ejiro Evero. Many are talking about him as a potential HC candidate in Denver or elsewhere. Would you be in favor of that? What could that do to the defense if he is not here or is not the DC?
Flit007: He is the real deal, and I hope he is in Denver for a while, but if we move on from Hackett in the offseason, then I could absolutely see him getting poached by another team. He is future HC material for sure. Our defense would definitely feel his absence should he not be here next season.
MHR - If Hackett and the Broncos were to miraculously “win out” the rest of this season, does that do enough for him to keep his job at 7-10? What if he only wins one of the next three but plays well against the Chargers and Chiefs? In other words, is there any scenario you’d like to see him keep his job? If he is fired, does the coaching turnover in Denver worry you?
Flit007: For Hackett to keep his job, I want to see us put up 24+ in each of the remaining three games, and go 2-1 at worst, with one of the wins coming against KC to end the losing streak against them. If Hackett is able to pull that off, then it would signify to me that he has figured something out, and that the players were able to execute his vision. If he does end up being fired, then the coaching turnover worries me a little bit, but our extremely wealthy owners have the ability to throw whatever kind of money they want at what would hopefully be an excellent replacement for Hackett, which makes me significantly less worried.
MHR - This Christmas Day matchup is not what we imagined back in August. How does this game become a true Christmas present and not a piece of coal (besides a Broncos win)?
Flit007: As long as our offense keeps up its momentum from the past couple of games, then the game will at least be entertaining. As an added bonus, if they do manage to keep playing at the level they’ve been at recently, then we should have no problem beating the injury-riddled rams, which would make for a wonderful Christmas indeed.
MHR - This week Ronnie Hillmann lost his battle with liver cancer. What memories do you have of Hillmann, who was a member of the SB50-winning squad?
Flit007: I was deeply saddened when I heard the news of Hillman’s passing and I’ll always be forever grateful for his contributions to our SB 50 winning squad. He was the perfect change of pace back to CJ Anderson’s power running style, and my favorite memory of Ronnie is when he took a 72-yard run to the house against Minnesota during the 2015 season. RIP #23.
A bright soul gone far too soon.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 22, 2022
We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Hillman family during this difficult time.
Remembering Ronnie Hillman: pic.twitter.com/3NGi5WJvZP
Stats for RUSSELL “LET’S RIDE it out” WILSON? 27/38 passing, 309 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Stats for each Broncos RB? Murray: 18 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. Mack: 11 carries for 37 yards.
Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? Jeudy: 9 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. Sutton: 7 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Dulcich: 5 catches for 57 yards. Mack: 4 catches for 22 yards. Murray: 3 catches for 20 yards.
Longest FG for McManus? 47 yards
Number of sacks to Baker Mayfield? 4
Broncos player with the most tackles? Alex Singleton
Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Gotta go with De’Shawn Williams; that man has been on fire of late.
Who gets the most sacks? Randy Gregory (if he plays).
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Rams D? 0 int and 0 FF
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 2 int 0 FF
Which Bronco would be the best Santa Claus? He’s no longer with the team, but Melvin Gordon. He gave the ball away to opposing teams better than Santa could ever dream about handing out gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
How many penalties between the two teams? 10 combined penalties
Final Score? 24-13 Broncos.
Favorite Broncos win ever? SB XXXII
Favorite Peyton Manning win? SB 50
Favorite John Elway win? Also SB XXXII. Seeing John finally win the big one was one of the best moments of my life.
Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Raiders
Coach you despise most in the NFL? Josh McDaniels easily.
NFC team you could cheer for in the Super Bowl? Eagles or Vikings.
NFC team you’d want to face more than any other in the Super Bowl? The Seahawks. Hawks fans have talked mad shit all season due to our team’s as well as Wilson’s struggles, and I’d like nothing more than for a chance to quiet them by beating them in the SB with their former franchise QB leading the way.
Toughest game left on the schedule? At Kansas City.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Patrick Surtain II
Favorite Broncos player of all time not named John Elway? Shannon Sharpe
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Greg Dulcich
Food/Snack you have to eat on game day? I’m all about chicken wings
Favorite game analyst/commentator? Joe Buck: he’s become delightfully funny in recent years, which is much different from how he commentated early on in his career.
Favorite Christmas movie of all time? Gotta go with the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
If YOU were giving the Ring of Fame tour at Mile High, which players get first mention
John Elway, Randy Gradishar, Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Shannon Sharpe, and while not a player, Mr. Pat Bowlen.
How did you become a Broncos fan?
My grandma has been a Broncos fan since their inception. She raised all of her kids as Broncos fans (including my mother) who then raised me a Broncos fan. Win, lose, or draw, I will be rooting for this team until I die!
Best Christmas movie?
This poll is closed
It’s a Wonderful Life
Miracle on 34th Street
A Christmas Story
Other (except Die Hard...NOT a Christmas movie)