Most of us believed the Broncos would be just fine after losing their first game of the season last week. But they made everyone sweat it out for about two and a half quarters on Sunday before they proved it.
The dominant Broncos are back, and not just the offensive machine. The Denver defense played their best game of the season and looks like they might be putting it together just in time for the stretch run. If that’s the case there are some very good things ahead for this team.
Here are some thoughts on the 45-21 blowout win over the Washington Redskins:
- The 4th quarter screen passes to Knowshon Moreno and Demaryius Thomas were things of beauty. If you watch them together they look eerily similar. It seemed like the Denver offense got a little more creative yesterday in getting the ball into the hands of their playmakers (They even got Trindon Holliday involved on the offensive side). The Broncos are one of the better screen teams in the league and they certainly showed it during the late going on Sunday.
- The edge that Moreno plays with has to get you jacked up. He is the one player you can count on to bring an attitude and a swagger to every single play. He may not be the most talented running back in the league, but he’s playing with toughness and has become the rock in the Denver backfield that you can count on.
- We have to give a nod to rookie running back C.J. Anderson. He only carried the ball 4 times but ended with a 5.5 yard average and he looked good doing it. I like what this rookie brings and I’m pulling for him.
- What Peyton Manning and the offense is doing is pretty amazing to watch; there’s not much more I can say that hasn’t already been said. And it’s hard to complain very much about this group but I’ll give it a try: 1) The receivers need to win more one-on-one battles and quit worrying so much about drawing an interference flag. 2) They obviously need to clean up the turnovers. Blowing a team out while turning it over 4 times is not going to happen very often.
- Is it a coincidence that Wesley Woodyard was back in the starting lineup and the defense looked like a completely different group? I think not. Woodyard is the heart and soul of the defense, and with Von Miller shaking off the rust it seems the defense we’re used to may be back for good.
- Speaking of Miller, he had a monster game. Not only did he register his first sack of the season but he destroyed several running plays in the backfield and was all over the place. He’s still getting into game shape so I expect this is just the beginning for him. That’s a very good sign for the second half of the season.
- In general we need to congratulate the defense for making more impact plays (turnovers and sacks). They ended up with 4 interceptions, 1 fumble and 3 sacks for the game. If the defense brings an effort like this regularly we’re going to see a lot more big wins.
- The game Sunday was obviously a story of two completely different halves of football, and nowhere was it more evident than on the sidelines. John Fox had a horrendous first half. He took the conservative route by punting on a 4th and 3 from Washington’s 43 yard line in the second quarter and it backfired badly. The ‘Skins promptly went on a 7-minute, 95-yard drive that ended the half. Fox’s conservativeness and quite possibly the worst defensive series I’ve ever seen sent the Broncos to the halftime locker room with a horrible taste in their mouths. Not to mention that Fox is having the worst season in the history of the NFL challenge system. He once again challenged one of the most obviously correct calls of the game. But I must give him credit for getting aggressive in the second half. He went for it twice on 4th down during consecutive drives that tied things up at 21 early in the fourth quarter. Those drives completely changed the game and sparked the late offensive outburst. In my opinion the aggressive option is almost always the correct answer when you have possibly the best offense the NFL has ever seen.
- Next up is a much needed bye week for the Broncos. It’s time to heal up and recharge those batteries because things will be a little tougher when they get back into action. The next game will be a road trip to play the Chargers and the results of their divisional games will write the story of Denver’s 2013 season. Luckily, Peyton Manning is deadly when it comes to playing divisional opponents. Go Broncos!