Thoughts on the big win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium (In no particular order):
- Question: What do the Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Buccaneers, and Eagles all have in common? Answer: They all came into the 2011 season with extremely high expectations, and they all currently have the same record or worse than the Denver Broncos. That’s right. The “lowly” Broncos, with all their personnel and coaching mishaps the past few seasons, all their controversy and numerous doomsday predictions for this year, are 4-5 and a game out of first place in their division. Even with the roller-coaster of emotions and the constant scrutiny by the national media, this team has managed to fight back and win some tough ball games. They have refused to give up on the season and insist on playing hard every single week. It may have been tough sledding for Broncos fans the last few years, and by no means are we out of the woods yet, but there are a lot of fan bases out there that are in a much worse mood than us on this fine Monday morning. For that reason, make sure to enjoy these successes. Take a minute to appreciate what the Broncos have accomplished under the constant reminders that there is no hope for them. They have just won back-to-back divisional road games against our 2 most-despised rivals in the league. That makes for a damn good 2 weeks in my book.
- Is anyone else getting a little Tebow fatigued? Why do we have to completely define his career as an NFL quarterback each and every Monday? The hard-liners on both sides of the Tebow debate want to write him off as a complete success or a complete failure after only a handful of starts. In reality, neither side is correct. It’s hard to defend 2 completions over an entire game, and it’s hard to criticize a 3-1 record with Tebow under center. I think everyone needs to migrate a little bit towards the middle and accept it for what it is. Tebow is a work in progress like all young quarterbacks. He needs to improve in a lot of areas and that will take some time. However, the entire team seems to play better with him on the field, and we are winning games right now which is all that truly matters. At the end of the season, the front office will make a decision on tebow’s future with the Denver Broncos. Nothing you or I say will truly have an impact on that decision. So until then, let’s enjoy the successes as the come, and hopefully they keep coming in 2011.
- Okay, enough with that. Let’s analyze the game a bit:
- DEFENSE! Let’s give some credit where credit is due. The Denver defense looks like a new group. It’s great to see one of our units improve as the season goes along for a change. They have a newfound edge and are playing with some toughness. Best of all, they are playing team defense. There are some stars on that side of the ball that get most of the attention, but I saw everyone make some plays yesterday. The defense held the Chiefs to an impressive 2-13 on 3rd and 4th downs. They were getting off the field and giving the ball back to our ground control offense. Not only did that allow us to win the time of possession battle for the 2nd week in a row, but it kept our defense fresh for crunch time while having the opposite effect on the Chiefs.
- Von Miller now has 8 sacks on the season which is good enough for 7th in the league overall. That number also leads all rookies. However, Miller’s impact cannot be measured by sacks alone. He also tallied 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 4 quarterback hits. He has become a major disruptive force and already has the look of a perennial Pro-Bowler.
- Ryan McBean, Elvis Dumervil, and D.J. Williams also joined the sack party. Joe Mays and Chris Harris each had a pass defended and a quarterback hit, and Champ Bailey completely shut down Dwayne Bowe. Like I said before, this is a complete team defense right now.
- One of the best tweets I saw yesterday stated that Matt Prater is quietly having a horrible season. Sad but true. His field goal percentage has dropped to 64.3% on the year. That is just not good enough for an NFL kicker. Lately I get real nervous when I see the field goal unit trotting onto the field.
- I know that Tebow didn’t have the game of the century, but would you rather have someone like Matt Cassel? He finished 13 for 28 with 93 yards and he isn’t a threat to make plays with his legs. Tebow has to play better, but I still like him better than a bunch of other quarterbacks in the league, including everyone else on the Broncos roster.
- Denver committed 8 penalties for 65 yards. That is still too many for my taste, and we again committed some big penalties on defense that gave the Chiefs some life right when we were ready to slam the door. The penalties may not have haunted us yesterday, but we need to get them cleaned up before they do.
- Like everyone else, I was certain that the back-to-back injuries to Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno were going to cost us. I could just tell that Willis was going to have a huge game, and even after he went down it looked like Moreno would actually play okay in relief. But Lance Ball came in and saved the day with his 96 yard effort on an amazing 30 carries. It sounds like McGahee may be able to go this Thursday even with the short week, but Moreno’s season is finished with a knee injury. Look for more Lance Ball against the New York Jets.
- Eric Decker is now alone in 2nd in the entire NFL for receiving touchdowns. His long touchdown reception in crunch time yesterday was the decisive play in a tight contest. I could get used to seeing him streak down the sideline with defenders in his wake.
- Seriously, would it kill Mike McCoy to run a couple Shanahan-style bootlegs that give Tebow a run/pass option? What happened to our screen plays? I would even be okay with some hitch routes or dump-offs to a running back. Regardless of how he does it, McCoy needs to call more pass plays, period. This will help Tebow get into a groove throwing the ball. I understand that the running game has been like a machine lately. In fact, the Broncos are currently 2nd in the league in rushing yards with 158.2 per game. But the offense must find more balance. There was a stretch in the 2nd half yesterday where our run game ground to a halt for a while. We have to be able to mix it up and get creative to keep the defense off balance. With a national TV audience tuning in on Thursday night for our game against a quality opponent like the Jets, Mike McCoy has to open it up.
- A huge factor yesterday was that we didn’t turn the ball over. The entire offense has done a great job of protecting the ball lately. My only complaint is that our defense didn’t force any turnovers themselves. I counted at least 3 balls that should have been intercepted and we absolutely have to make those plays on defense. Catch the ball!
- It is still too early to start talking about a possible run at the division title. However, if Denver can go into San Diego in 2 weeks and beat the Chargers, then we can talk. Speaking of the Chargers game, let’s fill up that stadium with Orange & Blue and take it over like The Packers and Raiders fans have the last 2 weeks. You know I will be there; come join me.
- Winning in Arrowhead Stadium is traditionally rare for the Denver Broncos, and that is what made yesterday even sweeter. Enjoy this one Broncos Fans!
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Topics: Arrowhead Stadium, Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, D.j. Williams, Denver Broncos, Elvis Dumervil, Eric Decker, Joe Mays, John Fox, Kansas City Chiefs, Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball, Matt Cassel, Matt Prater, Mike Mccoy, Mike Shanahan, New York Jets, Ryan Mcbean, Tim Tebow, Von Miller, Willis Mcgahee