Call me crazy (no really, you won’t hurt my feelings), but I was actually impressed with the way the Broncos played football during their road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Certainly, there were some continued frustrations–the maddening inability to penetrate, let alone score from, the red zone being first and foremost at the top of my list. But I was impressed with a strong defensive effort and what I can only describe as “heart” from a host players, most notably Knowshon Moreno (this guy would be a one-man wrecking crew if he could play the Chiefs every week, don’t you think?). I was impressed at a fairly competitive game in a very hostile environment (although, was I blind, or were there more empty seats at Arrowhead than there were at Hile High a week ago?).
We can go round and round about the offensive ineptitude, but I loved the Broncos’ commitment to the running game Sunday–it should have simply translated into more points. Unfortunately, the inability to convert on third down (and the defensive inability to stop KC on third down) decided the game. But, after having gained a new perspective on this team and after having come to grips with the lost season, I am looking at Sunday’s game as a step in the right direction for both the Broncos and their young coach (a week ago, I was ready to tar and feather the dude–this week, just tar). It proves to me that he hasn’t lost his team–these guys are still playing for Josh McDaniels who, despite some major gaffs and what must be his overall lack of experience, continues to work and continues to believe in his system. I’ll give him points for being stubborn–it just needs to pay off, eventually.
The complete disappearance of Dwayne Bowe proved to me, too, that Champ Bailey still has some game left, and one of the first off-season moves the Broncos ought to make should be ensuring Champ retires wearing orange and blue. I saw more promise in the defense than I’ve seen all year, especially in guys who might be around a while (D.J. Williams, Perrish Cox, Joe Mays, Justin Bannan).
Oddly, the weakest link on Sunday appeared to be the only guy the Broncos have been able to count on all year long–QB Kyle Orton. Granted, this game was completely geared toward Moreno, who responded with a career day (and he broke a few tackles … mercy me!), but Orton looked slow, old and rusty. His passes had little, if anything on them, and, despite a couple of nifty moves, he proved pretty immobile. Indeed, it would have been nice to see him have more time to throw the ball, but even when he did, he looked … out of sorts. I’m not jumping on the Tim Tebow bandwagon here–I would just like to see Orton perform well in a close game and under some pressure, something that would put him over the top in terms of his acceptance by Broncos Nation.
Again, call me crazy, but I’m looking at Sunday’s game as a positive step in the growth of this rebuilding football team. It’s a game the team and its coach can learn from and get better from. It’s something to take into account as these Broncos re-learn how to win in the NFL.
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