Today’s article comes from the better-late-than-never department.
That thunderous clap you heard at halftime of last weeks 37-21 Denver Broncos victory over the Oakland Raiders was the ghost of Al Davis pitching a fit. Even in the afterlife, he still hasn’t gotten use to loosing. Which is amazing since they have done that quite often in the past 20 years. Since we are on the precipice of week 4, I’ll make this one brief.
The Good: YAWWWWNNNNN!!! PFM, PFM, PFM! For the second time in three weeks, Peyton Manning has won the Air portion of the weekly FedEx Air and ground awards coming off of his 34-37, 374 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs performance. I know, it’s just another day at the office but is absolutely worthy of mention. Here are your stats of the week: Manning leads the NFL with an over 73% completions percentage. Manning also has had more than 10% of his attempted passes dropped. This also leads the league. It’s nearly impossible to be critical of this receiving corps but if they cut those drops in half, PFM’s statistics would be even more gaudy.
The offensive line gets some kudos also. While there was no one great individual running performance, Denver’s stable of runners were able to control the ball, wearing down the Raiders’ defense and keeping their offense off the field. The Broncos went 172 yards: 66 by Ronnie Hillman, 61 by Montee Ball, and 39 by Knowshon Moreno. For the sake of accurate math, Manning was -2 in the rushing category. So much for him being perfect.
Against the NFLs leading running game coming into week 3, the defense help Oakland to 49 total rushing yards. That includes holding Darren McFadden to 9 yards on 12 carries. That is great play by the front seven and run support by the defensive backs. A special shout this week goes out to Kayvon Webster. He not only had a good game, he put a most impressive, fundamentally sound open-field hit on Rashad Jennings early in the second quarter. He peeled off his cover-2 responsibility, Denarious Moore once he saw the pass released from QB, Terrell Pryor and YIKES!
The Bad: I hate to harp on a guy starting his first game at left tackle and trying to live up to one of the best in the game at his position, but Chris Clark allowed as many sacks to Peyton Manning in one game as Ryan Clady did all of the 2012 season. I’m sure that he will get better, but Manning must stay upright. This mistake caused on of the two turnovers on the night. Which leads me to my next point. The Broncos lost the turnover battle 2-0. In addition to the Manning fumble on the sack, Montee Ball lost another one in this game. I will reiterate comments from previous articles, Denver will not always be able to overcome the loss of the turnover battle. Tighten it up, boys!
The Ugly: Two of the touchdowns by the Raiders came off turnovers but to make matters worse, both TD passes could have been prevented if not for poor play by the defensive backs. In both cases one, or both DBs covering the receiver took the wrong angle on either the coverage or the tackle and knocked each other off of the would-be tackle. So this game was not really as close at the score might have indicated…but you probably already knew that.
Up Next: The Broncos welcome in Chip Kelly and his University of Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly brings his “high-powered” college offense into the rarified air of Sports Authority Field at Mile High (or to us long time Broncos’ fans, Mile High Stadium) looking to jump start an offense that has been dormant since halftime of their season opener against the Washington Redskins. The Eagles come in 1-2 with a defense that does not appear to be able to stop a runny nose. So PFM and the Broncos offense should attack them like a bad case of hay fever.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 PM MST on Fox and as is customary when the Broncos play an NFC team at home, Fox’ #1 team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will have the call.