Five NFL teams put up 40 or more points in week one. The Broncos came close to that with 31 points against a very good Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense.
That says something about offenses in the league, particularly early on in the season.
“We only go one practice a day,” John Elway said Tuesday. “You don’t get enough time in the preseason games because the last thing you want to do is get your starters hurt so you’re playing them the least amount of possible time you can. When you get in the first game, all teams are not going to be in as good of shape just because of the fact that they haven’t played. The offense definitely has an advantage this time of the year.”
That’s why when Peyton Manning went to the no-huddle in the second quarter against the Steelers, the Broncos’ offense was especially successful. They scored on four of their next five possessions, and the one they didn’t score on was because Manning took a knee to end the half.
“That has become so much more effective now because it really keeps the defense off balance, especially early in the year when guys are not really in as good of shape as they are when the season goes on,” Elway said of the no-huddle.
It didn’t matter whether the Steelers blitzed or not. Manning went 9-for-11 for 152 yards when the Steelers rushed five or more guys.
The Broncos may have the second toughest schedule in the league (Giants are No. 1 in strength of schedule), but the most difficult part of their season is early on. Advantage offense.