There were 16 games played in the NFL this third week and no byes.

Enough on that until we get through a discovery process concerning the Broncos. The facts are what they are - we'll take a quick look at those which we've all both watched on Sunday and reviewed the lowlights and stats - and we're going to ask some questions - how could an NFL team have a 70pt game hung on them, how could they take a 50pt thumping - what does it mean going forward.

Quick game recaps & historic relevance:

  • Miami Dolphins scored 70 points for the third time - in NFL history.
  • Rams beat the Colts two years prior to when was born in a 1957 game 70-27
  • Washington Redskins beat the NYG in 1966 72-41
  • Miami had 30 first downs to Broncos 16 - Miami had 16 passing 1st downs to Broncos 13 - the kick to the nut sack - Miami had 12 rushing first downs - the Broncos had two.
  • Broncos had 69 yards rushing - Miami had 350 - passing yardage Broncos had 294 and the Dolphins had 376.
  • Penalties Broncos had 7-46 & Dolphins had 6-55
  • Time of possession Broncos had 26:39 and Dolphins had 33:21.
  • Each team had a total of 14 drives in the game.
  • Broncos had 3 TO including 2 fumbles and 1 INT - Dolphins had zero turnovers.
  • Dolphins had one sack on RW - Broncos had zero sacks.
The obvious is that the Broncos got trucked on with a differential of almost 300 yards rushing. Physical dominance in football is established in the running game which takes the heart and soul away from an opposing defense when successful. Dr. Laurie did a tackles missed breakdown showing the Broncos missed tackles trend going from 8 in the first game to 11 in the second, and against the Dolphins a mind blowing 24 tackles missed. Obviously, these were not all run plays as first off in order to miss a tackle you have to attempt a tackle - how many plays were Dolphins untouched into the endzone.

In the passing game both QB's had very similar total yardages with RW at 23/38 and 306 yards, while Tua went 23/26 for 309 yards. Why such different results - because in the expanded West Coast Offense that our own Mike Shanahan took to a second level from Walsh, his son and their spawns are now turning the west coast offense on its head with quick hitters on track athletes hitting on catches in front of the sticks raising the completion percentage dramatically and giving the freakish athletes the chance to make a play. The Broncos are still stuck in a vertical passing game attack with a far lesser completion percentage, throwing on average past the sticks and don't have the speed other than Mims Jr for astounding YAC. The Broncos third down efficiency points out that they're not able to stay on schedule this season with a 12/35 rate overall and a 3/12 against the Dolphins while the Dolphins had a far more efficient 5/9 third down conversion rate.

Enough on the historic relevance and statistics what can we glean from where the Broncos are in this quagmire of 2023. There are three factors working against the Broncos in the modern NFL game as espoused by Shanny Jr & Mcdaniels.
  1. The modern NFL game is evolving due to the rules changes that are coming to full effect at this point in time that allows the middle of the field to be attacked without the fear factor of a Ronnie Lott KO'ing your receivers. I've been labeling it basketball in cleats now for about 15 or 20yrs. The short and middle zone of the field are unprotected as the receivers can catch the football now and then get YAC in between the hashes. That's not RW's strong suit mainly due to his under 6' height not able to realistically or consistently make those throws due to his lack of vision over the trenches. RW owns the moon ball and can throw wide, not so much short of the sticks in the middle of the field.
  2. The college game is far easier to meld into the West Coast Offense blocking schemes than a power gap running game. The college RPO and high octane spread offenses in the college game can easier be implemented with college athletic lineman that can run rather than the oversized O-lineman in the power game that cannot get out of their own way let alone pull on an inside counter zone run. In the college game we're seeing the RB's get smaller and faster every year to the point now the Dolphins have a legit Olympic sprinter trials team on their roster and not just at receiver with RB's Achane & Mostert. The Broncos have Mim's Jr, that's it they lack a Hill, Waddle, Achane & Mostert in a 4X4 relay that we saw on full display Sunday. When these guys get a gap to go through all you hear as a defender is a whoosh sound. You don't have to sustain your blocks or power the defenders, screen and wall them off enough to see that Jetstream going past you long enough to enjoy watching from afar the endzone run - again.
  3. The Broncos roster isn't setup to take advantage of the modern game - even if Payton was willing to implement it in a game plan. Are Williams and Perine going to provide that out of the backfield - come on, they're seriously lacking a 4th let alone a 5th gear. McLaughlin probably could yet he's not gotten any help from the blocking schemes to even test that theory on the precious few carries he's gotten to this point. The Patriots are probably the slowest team currently in the league - the Broncos aren't that much faster in reality - witness the consistent out of position in tacking over & over again due to not being able to keep up with the opposition players Sunday.
So, all that said HOFDUKE where do the Broncos go from here? What can be done in the 2023 season to turnaround this Titanic of a season? There are a few steps can identify but quite frankly doubt it's in either Paton or Paytton's interests as they're not sold on a rebuild - witness Payton's statement in July of his disappointment if the Broncos aren't in the playoffs this season - that's not a guy relishing a rebuild. Let's do a few takeaways until Thursday when will do a more detailed analysis:

  • Front office & ownership have to take the lead and bring HC Payton into the board room and have a realistic discussion on his contract, desire to orchestrate a rebuild and is this team and the Broncos where his head is at or is he off the mark and missing a beat as he's somewhere else. Many far smarter football minds than mine are questioning everything other than the ownership which is stable financially a big step forward from the Bowlen Trust moving forward with the Penner Group.
  • Shannon Sharpe an emotional player yet knows more than I'll ever know about the NFL and pro football a far lesser emotional yet ditto on knowing the pro game and NFL in Troy Aikman basically have made the same point - other than the ownership - there's nothing off the table - nothing!
  • Spare me the VJ all is fixed dumping the DC. Sure, he definitely needs to go - yet he's not the lack of speed, the poor offensive gameplan or the guy out there totally missing tackles and blowing coverages. The reality is 20yrs from now when this 70-20 and 50pt blowout is remembered the name that will come up 9 times out of 10 will be the HC - Payton - and you can tell by his physical look at the presser he's fully aware of that too.
  • Broncos are going to have to do a rebuild along the lines of the Texans. Laugh all you want they have a solid QB, IMO the best of the lot as far as last year's rookie QB's coming into the league and playing this season in CJ Stroud. They also have a coach that probably won't be there to see the Texans in being relevant again, yet he's going to be the type of guy needed vs an ego hyped up Payton in DeMeco Ryans. Did you hear DeMeco state his predecessor was the worst HC in history and DeMeco was gonna do everything opposite of that predecessor. Have you heard DeMeco claiming he's gonna be disappointed if the Texans aren't in the playoffs in 2023. Yeah, I don't see Payton as the right guy in a rebuild and doubt he'll convince the Penner Group he is either.
  • Lastly NO player including PS2 can be off the table, well I'll throw Mims Jr in as an untouchable but other than that - forget about it. Why would I let PS2 a cornerstone of a D as a CB1 go - two reasons, his dad is an NFL vet and isn't gonna want his kid mired in a rebuild like Justin Simmons has been with the Broncos since drafted using every word other than - rebuild. Secondarily, PS2 will ask for an extension in 2024 with an astronomical number resetting the CB market. The Broncos need players plural not a player. Broncos won't get a "home team discount" far from it - the Dolphins might. We'll go further into details on the rebuild plan by position group on Thursday - was planning on doing that after week five giving the Broncos an opportunity to win out and be 3-2 or 2-3 before that happens - what's the point of that now.
  • Lastly the Stephen A. Smith in particular but others have proffered that Payton isn't really all in on the Broncos. Stephen A has a JD and knows the definition of defamation - I don't believe he would proffer that opine without having real and accurate sources. Players talk just like in any other industry - car salesmen at conventions and car shows may not talk out of school to their customers but in my own experience share the family secrets of every dealership when having a few - cocktails. Am guessing the Bronco players have heard the rumors either second hand or directly from other players they know out in LA or elsewhere and have lost faith and confidence if ever had in Payton's commitment to this team. It's one of the only explanations that can logically explain having a pro football game in the NFL where 70 points was hung on an NFL defense in a 50-point blowout.
Hang in their Bronco fan and MHR readers - it's something to look forward to in a rebuild process as if this isn't the low then I don't know what is. For those that thought HC Hackett was the low - count me in on that - well he didn't have 70pts hung on his defense or in a 50pt blowout in 2022. At this point - Hackett's a far better NFL HC than Payton - sad & pathetic!

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