I don’t know if anyone deserved to win today’s game, but I’ll take a caught tipped pass for a 12-7 win over a 7-6 loss any day of the week. It was your run of the mill week 1 mistake filled game laced with penalties, dropped balls, and tipped passes. The Broncos and the Bengals were handing the game back and forth to eachother about as much as the Broncos organization and Jay Cutler allegedly played phone tag this past spring.
The first half was about as exciting as watching an ant farm on a rainy day. Denver’s offense went 3 and out on the first 4 possessions until they came away with a field goal to walk into the locker room at halftime with a 3-0 lead. That first half was frustrating to watch for me. I had to see Brandon Marshall drop a couple of passes, one of which was deep down field and probably could’ve gotten us into the endzone. Kyle Orton stared down his receivers with the kind of look that could’ve burned metal. Thus, the tipped balls came left and right despite Orton’s 6’4” height (Hint: Give a Ben Roethlisberger-like pump fake once in a while). He didn’t complete his first pass until there was about 1 minute to go in the first quarter. The defense gave up big gains on 3rd and long and peppered that with missed tackles along the sideline. They didn’t pressure Carson Palmer as much as they should have, but I can’t complain too much since this defense saved our ass when you look at the entire game.
The Denver defense came away with 3 sacks (combined for 26 yards lost) and 2 INTs. In the second half, they made big plays at the right times which was especially impressive considering how much time they spent on the field and how tired they probably were. If you look at the box score, you’ll realize that the key to the Broncos victory was their ability to create turnovers, and avoid turnovers themselves. The Bengals also dropped a lot of passes (i.e. Laveranues Coles) and never got their offense going until the final drive of the game that was capped off by a Cedric Benson TD run. When the game plays out the way it did, with both teams making big mistakes, I don’t mind winning the game based off of a little luck.
Sunday the 13th is about as lucky as it gets for the Broncos. With less than 30 seconds to work with, and trying to get into field goal range, Kyle Orton threw a pass that was tipped right into the arms of the heads up wideout, Brandon Stokley. Not only did Stokley catch the ball, but he had the situational knowledge in him to tap dance along the goal line before stepping into the endzone to take more time off the clock. What a gem we have in him!
I’ve got to give props to Matt Prater. He went 2-2 on field goals from 48 and 50 yards away. I would have been completely confident in him kicking the ball had Orton not taken the sack to put the Broncos out of field goal range when the team was winning 6-0.
Congratulations to Josh McDaniels for a win in his home state in week 1. I’m sure his nerves were riding high before the game, but he handled things well. He didn’t give up at the end and he convinced his players that they could still win even when the Vegas odds were against them.
The Broncos offensive bread and butter from last season is obviously long gone, and I know that we can’t win every week if we don’t get into the endzone. But when the team plays with the heart they showed today, away from home, I can’t help but applaud their efforts and look forward to next week. Way to go Broncos! Now let’s get a streak going.