Guess what day it is? Guess what day it is? That’s right it’s Hump Day, which means it is time for my Hump Day Hot Reads and my analysis on the previous week’s Broncos game.
The Broncos traveled to take on the Giants on Sunday and came away with a 41-23 victory. The Broncos only led 10-9 at half but they turned it on again in the second half to pull away for the win. Trindon Holiday even added an exciting punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter. Everyone held onto the ball until they crossed the goal line this week, except when Montee Ball was stripped of the trying to score his first NFL touchdown. Eli Manning was picked off four times as well throughout the afternoon. The Broncos played fairly well in all facets of the game and here is what I liked, what I did not like, and what to look forward to next week.
What I Liked
The Running Game Coming Alive
The emergence of the running game was something I was very excited about this week. Knowshon Moreno ran for 93 yards on 13 carries and added a pair of touchdowns. I thought Moreno looked good all afternoon. Moreno ran with a purpose and it helped to open up passing lanes and more options for the offense. Ball also had 12 carries so the Broncos made a conscious effort to involve the running game. Peyton Manning still threw for over 300 yards but the Broncos were able to mix up their play calling more this week and hopefully they will be able to continue to keep defenses off balance in the future.
What I Didn’t Like
Ball’s Lackluster Game
Montee Ball was the Broncos 2nd round draft pick out of Wisconsin this year and the Broncos have high hopes for him but 2 games into his NFL career he has not delivered yet. I like Ball a lot and I believe he is the back of the future for the Broncos but his performance against the Giants Sunday was less than impressive. Ball carried the ball 12 times for just 16 yards and had a costly fumble on the goal line that killed a scoring opportunity. Ball added 2 catches for 27 yards and looked very good on a 3rd and 14 play where he picked up 15 yards and moved the chains. The Broncos definitely looked like they were trying to get him involved and even stuck with him after he fumbled early in the game, which was an encouraging sign, but he needs to be able to produce more in the future when he is in the game.
If and when Ball gets up to speed with the Broncos offense they will be very dangerous because the passing game is already dangerous, Moreno showed this week that the running game is coming around, and a combination of Moreno, Ball, and Ronnie Hillman will be difficult for opposing defenses to stop.
Raiders at Broncos
The Broncos host the Raiders this week on Monday night. Both the Broncos and Raiders are coming off wins the previous week. The Raiders beat the Jaguars 19-9 in Oakland where Darren McFadden rushed for 129 yards on 19 carries. Terrelle Pryor also added 50 yards on the ground. The Broncos are going to have to stop the Raiders rushing attack and their two main offensive weapons, McFadden and Pryor. Pryor is a dual-threat QB that the Broncos will need to be able to contain to keep the Raiders off of the scoreboard. If the Broncos offense can put up points at the rate they have the first two weeks the Raiders will have a tough time keeping up.
The Broncos host the Raiders on Monday Night Football on ESPN at 6:40 p.m. MST.