This article is brought to you in my Denver Broncos‘ mustard and yellow, circa 1960 throwback lid. I just thought you’d like to know.
“HURRY HURRY!!!! HUT!” That is the the call from scrimmage we heard all game long from Peyton Manning during the Broncos season opening 49-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. And for the better part of the second quarter and second half, it was usually followed up by some sort of big play. However all was not perfect despite Peyton’s gaudy statistics. That said, I bring you the week 1 installment of the good, the bad, and the ugly
THE GOOD: Really, I can write a whole article on what was good about this game. Do to the lack of attention span from yours truly, I’ll narrow it down. Call me Captain Obvious, but PFM belongs in the ‘Good’ category. Manning had an NFL record tying seven touchdown passes on 27 of 42 passing, 462 yards, and no interceptions. This performance earned Manning a FedEx Air and Ground Top Performers nomination and you guessed it, I voted for him. It also prompted Broncos’s executive VP of football operations, John Elway to respond with a near speechless, “WOW!” That’s a pretty good indicator of how amazing that performance by Peyton was; especially coming from a guy who elicited similar responses countless times throughout his career.
The whole Broncos’ receiving corps (the p and s are silent, Mr. President) was outstanding. I can intimately speak to this because three of them, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas (no relation), and Wes Welker staked me to an 87-0 lead in my fantasy football league before Sunday’s games even kicked off. Each player caught two TD passes. The seventh was caught by Andre Caldwell on a juggling catch early in the third quarter which gave the Broncos the lead for good. As for Welker and Demaryius Thomas, it was just another day at the office. However as for Julius Thomas, he finally had that breakout game for which many of us were waiting. In fact, independent analyst, Andrew Mason described Orange Julius as “Transformative” on the teams website.
On Defense, many of us expressed concerns as from where the sacks left behind by the suspended Von Miller and the fax-challenged former Bronco, Elvis Dumervil would come. The answer was a resounding, SHAUN PHILLIPS! Phillips came away from his first game as a Bronco with 2.5 sacks. The effort was part of very good game by the front seven which put a lot of pressure on Flacco for most of the game (I ask, where was this pressure on January 12th?). Cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also made a splash in his Broncos’ debut. There are no tangible statistics to use as a barometer of his imact but Flacco only threw in DRC’s direction once; a pass that was IN-COM-PLETE!
THE BAD: The overall start of the game seemed disjointed and out of sync. Maybe it can be attributed to the lightening storms which delayed the game by over 30 minutes. Maybe it was the lack of playing time in the preseason. However once they got started, they were more in sync than Justin Timberlake.
Also disconcerting was the conservative play calling in the middle of the fourth quarter that gave the Ravens a little bit of life. I really would like to see head coach, John Fox and offensive coordinator, Adam Gase start implementing a game plan which calls for boots on the necks of their opponents. This play calling was on the heels of…
…THE UGLY: Is there any doubt that the showboating exhibited by Danny Trevathan on what was about to be a pick-six which would have been the final nail in the Ravens’ coffin is the ugliest thing we saw in week 1? To make matters worse, the “me-first” exhibition almost cost Denver its best linebacker that isn’t currently suspended, Wesley Woodyard. You see, Woodyard is the antithesis to Trevathan in that his head is always in the game. As such he went scrambling for the loose ball which the second year LB out of Kentucky dropped a yard and a half before he reached the end zone. That effort almost cost Woodyard an injury that, at first glance appeared as if it could force him to the IR. Fortunately it was not as bad as it looked and #52 was back in the game on the next series. This play was not just ugly, it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
I would be remiss to not include the horrible attempt at a fair catch on a punt by Welker in the ‘Ugly’ category. While that was not a product of showboating, it was something that the Broncos were fortunate to overcome. In both cases, I hope neither happen again.
Next Up: The Broncos aeriel assault heads to the swamps of Jersey for Manning Bowl III. The New Jersey Giants are coming off one of the sloppiest performances of the Tom Coughlin era. Despite six turnovers, the G-Men still made it a close game against the Cowboys. The Denver offensive line will have their hands full with arguably the best defensive line in the NFL as the Giants are a team that really get after the quarterback. Fellow N.J. and Monmouth County native, Knowshon Moreno returns home for the first time in his pro career. Here’s to hoping he has the best game of said career in front family and friends.
The game kicks off at 4:25 PM EST and can be see on CBS. The A-team of Jim Nance and Phil Simms will be calling the action. CBS has the national double-header and this game will be aired in most markets. Check your local listings.