No Monday Morning Hangover For The Broncos
There isn’t a better feeling than waking up on a Monday morning in October to find your football team with a 4-1 record. Well, I guess 5-0 would be better, but no one’s perfect…except the 07′ Patriots, but even they lost the Super Bowl, so what does a perfect regular season record mean anyway?
I’m in a great mood this morning. The Chargers lost, the Chiefs got shut out, and the Raiders, well, they had the week off so they get a slight break from their losing streak.
The Broncos recovered nicely from a nasty Chiefs’ hangover, and they proved that they are ready for two more very competitive games against the Jaguars and the Patriots before their bye week. It’s evident that a good week of practice pays dividends. Champ Bailey said after the Kansas City game that the team did not practice well the week before. They apparently stepped it up 4-5 notches before the Buccaneers came to town. The Bucs’ offense never got going as Jeff Garcia took the reins from an injured Brian Griese at QB. It’s nice to say that the Broncos’ defense played a part in the Bucs demise. They had three sacks yesterday (in the four previous games, they had 6 total), and 1 INT. The Bucs’ offense didn’t even dare to throw long passes towards the endzone, and their running game was as exciting as a Stephen Hawking lecture on quantum gravity. Call it playing scared. Call it playing conservatively. Call it whatever you want. But stop calling the Broncos lucky.
It’s nice to get that game over with because the Bucs are a very good team. Their defense is obviously very solid holding the Broncos to just 16 points even though Jay Cutler didn’t turn the ball over, racked up the passing yards, and threw for a TD. The Bucs made field-goal kicker Matt Prater prove his worth, and yesterday he proved that he was worth every penny. We use to say that without Jason Elam, we would’ve never won the game. Well, this morning, I’m saying that without Prater, we would have never won the game. Without his quick thinking and diesel leg, that 55 yard field-goal would have never happened. Mike Shanahan was going to send Brett Kern in to punt the ball, but Prater told him to wait for the first quarter to end, so that he could kick with the wind instead of against it. Even Bucs’ coach Jon Gruden was impressed by Prater:
"“Have you ever seen a kicker kick a 55-yard field goal and make it by 25 yards? Why work on your kickoff return when you come here? That guy was unbelievable. I can’t say enough about it” (Denver Post)."
There are actually many factors that went into the Broncos win yesterday, but the defense and the kicking game rank among the top two. Lets hope that this change in play sticks to the wall in the Broncos locker room. If that happens, who knows what’s possible in January and February???