Who would have thought that the Broncos would have a better record than the Chargers or the Patriots at this point in the season. That was about as likely as Shannon Sharpe getting through his Ring of Fame induction speech at halftime without crying. The Broncos gave the city of Denver and fans all around the country a reason to cheer for them with a thunderous win over the Cleveland Browns.
One word can sum up this entire game. Defense! 3 forced turnovers, 4 sacks by Elvis Dumervil alone (2 back to back), holding the Browns to 2 field goals, and allowing just 54 rushing yards in this game is more defense than I’ve seen in the past two years combined. Andra Davis (a former Brown) led the team with 10 tackles and proved that he got the better end of the deal by leaving Cleveland. Big kudos to Mike Nolan. He obviously didn’t leave his heart in San Francisco.
I thought this game would go down the tubes real quick when Peyton Hillis fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff to give the Browns an opportunity for a touchdown right off the bat. The defense held them to a field goal, and gave the offense enough time to get their act together so the Browns wouldn’t take command of the game. There aren’t enough hands to clap for the defense’s performance today.
Offensively, we struggled in the first half. Kyle Orton’s passes were behind receivers, in the ground, and overthrown so much that the 10 year child seated behind me asked if Jake Plummer was ever coming back to play. He had a respectable finish with a TD pass and a couple of long balls to Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Stokley, but more importantly, he didn’t have any turnovers. He doesn’t need to have a Cutler-like performance every game. If he can keep this offense running smoothly and get points on the board by handing it off, I’m fine with it. The running game was incredible this afternoon. Correll Buckhalter broke some tackles for a 45 yard touchdown run while Knowshon Moreno showed off his young legs with 17 carries for 75 yards. Josh McDaniels even inserted Hillis back into the game when the Broncos were on the 2 yard line to set him up for a touchdown. That’s how you can boost the confidence of a guy who fumbled the ball away on the first play of the game.
That was the kind of game I like to watch. While there was no deflection or last second heroics heard around the league, today’s game was much more thrilling than last week’s. An offense that finally got some rhythm and a defense that looked like the Orange Crush is much more well received than a little lady luck.