So I had this horrible nightmare one night this past week. I dreamt that The Kansas City Chiefs came into Mile High and levied a 70-17 beat-down of our Denver Broncos. Trust me, I woke up so depressed that I could not function for a an hour or so. Couple that with last week’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts and I can tell you are reading the article of one manic sports writer.
At about the 11:25 mark of the third quarter I thought my nightmare was a harbinger of things to come. Thank goodness for the last 26+ minutes of Denver’s 45-21 win against the Washington REDSKINS. That period of time was the splash of cold water in the face that I seriously needed. Let’s get started, shall we?
I must go back to the guy who probably should get the first nod every week, Peyton Manning. PFM went 30/44 for 354 yards, 4 TDs, and 3 INTs. Admittedly, we all could do without the three interceptions. I’m sure foremost, Peyton himself would like to strike that stat from his week 8 numbers. However, one of those picks was just a really nice play by REDSKINS cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Another happened because Denver wide reciever Demaryius Thomas slipped while making a cut. That Thomas-intended pass was picked by Hall and taken to the house, increasing Washington’s lead to 21-7 with the extra point. The one interception by Justin Pugh was an ill-advised throw into double-coverage and was tipped before Pugh gathered it in. So all in all, Manning’s INTs were less a result of his err than one might think if they were just looking at the numbers. The rest of Peyton’s line was exactly what we have come to expect from the first ballot hall-of-famer.
The stable of running backs collectively had a great game. The running back firm of Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball, C.J. Anderson, and one running play from Trindon Holliday went 30 for 110 yards and the first career touchdown for the rookie, Ball. The offensive line did a good job of opening holes for Denver’s backs to work their Mile High Magic.
The receiving corps were all involved in the game. The best receiving game was turned in by none other than…Knowshon Moreno. He caught 6 balls for 89 yards and a touchdown to match a rushing touchdown. Other notable receiving performances: Wes Welker 6/81/1, D. Thomas 7/75/1, and Joel Dreessen returned to snag two passes, one of which went for a touchdown.
The Defense may have played their best game of the season. They held Robert Griffin, III and Kirk Cousins (who came in for RGIII in the 4th quarter) to 20/39 for 154 yards 1 TD, and 4 INTs. The REDSKINS had one drive of any real concern in the first half. It consumed over seven minutes and went 94 yards; resulting in a 7-yard TD pass from RGIII to Leonard Hankerson with :19 left in the first half. That drive was where the majority of the offensive production for Washington came from. The only other offensive touchdown given up by the defense was a very short, 2-yard run for Alfred Morris on the heels of a Peyton Manning fumble and subsequent 10 yard holding penalty, also by Manning while trying to recover the fumble. The Broncos actually won the turnover battle this week. Even though the offense turned it over four times, the defense turned Washington over five times. The five turnovers were highlighted by an 81-yard pick six for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of a Cousins pass just before the two-minute warning. The front seven were in the face of Griffin III all day. They sacked the former Heisman Trophy winner three times, but he was knocked down and/or pressured all game long. I’m sure there’s one specific ice tub held for RGIII. Von Miller also announced his presence at Mile High with (Sports) Authority. Miller got his first sack of the year and was credited with 5 tackles and forced a fumble. Now that is the Von Miller we have come to expect.
The first four minutes of the second half were insufferable. It was bad enough that the ‘Skins scored with 19 seconds left in the first half. Then to commit two turnovers and give up two touchdowns off of those turnovers within a span of about 3 minutes and 35 seconds was nothing short of gasp-worthy. I think there is still an issue with consistency for the Broncos. They seem like a streaky hitter in baseball. Whether it’s a slow start to a game or a malaise near halftime, they seem to need a swift virtual kick in the hind quarters to get back to playing Broncos’ football.
There really wasn’t much that I could pinpoint in the game against Washington that I can label as ‘Ugly”. Denver’s penalties were down this week to only 6 for 57 yards. If there is one bit of ugliness I can point out, it’s Kevin Vickerson‘s apparent need to bump the quarterback after the run of play has exited the backfield. Last week it was the bump and the academy-award winning performance of Andrew Luck that cost the Broncos 15 yards and valuable time as it gave Indianapolis four more downs. Well Vickerson must have thought that it would be OK to bump RGIII after he released the ball because I’m sure there’s no way he thought anybody would be watching. Hey , Kev…IT’S THE FREAKING QUARTERBACK!!! They are always looking. In fact, they are looking with multiple cameras, officials, fans, bloodhounds, extra-terrestrials, and have a huge bank of servers in a remote, underground area of Utah being used by the NSA to surveil every move of every quarterback at every level of football to make sure nobody sneezes on them!!!! And it doesn’t matter if you just brush by them, they will flop and you will get called. So I implore you to re-channel your obvious distain for quarterbacks into something less likely to get you flagged fifteen yards. Thank you! Also, to DRC and any other Broncos who are inclined to be a hot dog: just play the game!!! Did nobody learn from the egregious brain flatulence of one Danny Trevathan in week 1??? Not only are you not deferring focus away from the task at hand and risking a your team’s momentum, you are begging for a 15-yard “Taunting” call.
I think the most important thing we can take from these past two weeks is that no matter what the score, the Broncos can never be counted out. I made the mistake of going to bed early last week during the game against the Colts and missed a great effort that almost resulted in a classic comeback. I now need to start practicing what I preach.
Before kickoff there was a moving tribute to former Broncos and current REDSKINS head coach, Mike Shanahan. This was Shanahan’s first game back in Denver as Washington coach since he was dismissed by Denver after the 2008 season. There was vignette on the scoreboards which featured Mike’s 14 years as head coach and 8 years as an assistant coach with the Broncos. Shanny seemed a little emotional as he watched and acknowledged the 76,000+ fans who showed their love and appreciation for the man who led all of us to the ultimate football euphoria…twice. On behalf of millions of Broncos fans everywhere, I send out a heart-felt thank you to Coach Shanahan for guiding our Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl championships and all of the other good seasons where we just fell short.
I don’t often make any guarantees, but I will this week. I guarantee that the Broncos will NOT lose in week 9! They absolutely cannot. Alright, you got me, that is because it’s their bye week. OK, so I am no Carnac “The Magnificent” (If you are a little too young, ask your parents or grandparents about that reference). It is a much needed and well deserved bye week. Additionally, Denver is going to come out of it facing the toughest stretch of the season. This includes San Diego twice, Kansas City twice, New England, and Tennessee. After that, the season winds up with two road games in Houston and Oakland. So let’s just hope that this is the first of three bye weeks between now and February 2nd.