Thoughts on the Denver Broncos Big Win Over the Raiders
Thoughts on the demolition of the Oakland Raiders (In no particular order):
- What a huge win! Is there an organization out there that needed a victory like that more than the Denver Broncos? No way. I haven’t felt that good after a game since the 2009 Monday Night Football win in San Diego. Broncos Country took to Twitter and went nuts for hours, and for the first time in a long time, it was the other team’s fan base that had to shut up and take it for a little while.
- If there was a vote right now for the 2011 Broncos MVP, how much of a landslide would it be in favor of Willis McGahee? 99%? 100%? The Broncos are simply a different team with him in the lineup. He brings a toughness and an attitude to the offense, and he is the one running back on our roster who just flat-out makes plays. Not to mention he brings some leadership that we were clearly missing last week. After his 163-yard effort yesterday he is tied for 4th in the AFC in rushing yards and is making a push for the Pro Bowl.
- I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the great game by the offensive line. It looks to me like the whole team took ownership for the disappointing Lions game and made sure to not let that happen again. That tells me this team cares, and as a fan that matters more than anything else. The line gave up only 2 sacks and paved the way for a 300-yard rushing day. That doesn’t happen without a supreme effort by the boys up front. I only have one criticism of the offensive line (See below).
- One area where the Broncos struggled was penalties. They finished with 11 penalties for 93 yards which is unacceptable. Ryan Clady now has 5 holding penalties and 4 sacks allowed on the year. He had 2 holding penalties during the entire 2010 season. What is going on with Clady?
- Tim Tebow had the best and most complete game of his career in my opinion. He finished with a quarterback rating of 98.1 and did not turn the ball over. His 118 rushing yards made a big difference as the Raiders could not figure out the Tebow/McGahee puzzle all day. His ability to run and make plays in the clutch is what separates him from Kyle Orton. He still needs to drastically improve his completion percentage, but I think that will come in time. The Tebow watch continues.
- The Broncos defense still gave up way too many yards through the air, especially against a guy like Carson Palmer, but they made some impact plays when they had to. Champ Bailey got his first 2 interceptions of the season and Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller combined for 2 sacks. Chris Harris also added an interception that produced a big momentum shift. We need those big plays if we are going to keep winning, and our biggest stars on that side of the ball need to keep making them.
- Probably my biggest criticism of the day was the disaster of a series that occurred immediately prior to halftime when we were down 17-7. Seriously, what was the thought process there? Matt Prater’s first attempt sailed amazingly wide. Thanks to a Raiders penalty he got another shot and drilled it. However, a second Raiders penalty (isn’t it great when the other team commits big penalties in key spots?) gave the Broncos the option of taking three points off the board and setting up a 1st down at about the 15-yard line. Typically I would agree with that call, but there was only about 18 seconds to go before halftime and those 3 points would have made it a one score game. Considering our struggles in the past few games, points are at an absolute premium. Go into the locker room with some momentum right there. Instead, just as I had anticipated, the offense immediately went 3 and out and added a holding penalty for good measure. Naturally Prater missed the ensuing kick by a mile. I really believed we were done at that moment. You simply can’t miss those opportunities on the road. The part that really chaps me is that John Fox is the cover boy for the ultra-conservative NFL coach. All season he goes safe at every possible situation, and then at one of the moments I actually agree with the safe call, he decides that this is going to be the moment he pushes his chips into the pot. Thank goodness the Broncos stormed back in the 2nd half and we didn’t have to dwell on that series after the game.
- It was so great to see Eddie Royal get involved in a big way again. The last time he made an impact like that was the big victory against the Chargers in 2009. He only had 2 catches, but one went for a 26-yard touchdown that brought us to within 3, and his 85-yard punt return touchdown in the 4th quarter was the winning score. I scared the living daylights out of my daughter with my loud screaming as he streaked down the sideline. That was one of those moments that can define a season, and if nothing else it is in the running for the play of the year so far.
- Eric Decker is now tied for 2nd in the league in receiving touchdowns behind only Calvin Johnson of the Lions. His 27-yard touchdown catch was the lone highlight of the 1st half for the Broncos, and he is starting to take on the look of a go-to receiver.
- The Broncos won the 2nd half by a score of 31-7. Simply astonishing!
- The best thing about that game was that it was truly a team victory. The defense forced 3 key turnovers while the offense never gave it away. There was great effort on both sides of the ball and a huge special teams touchdown. That is the exact kind of game the Broncos have to play every week if they want to win. There is no single unit on this team that is going to overwhelm the opponent, but if they all work together and avoid mistakes, they can have more outcomes like the one we experienced yesterday.
- I wonder how dumb those Raiders fans feel who were chanting “Tebow sucks” in the first half yesterday. Hey Raiders fans: HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES????
- There is simply nothing better as a football fan than to see your team win a big game; but as a Broncos fan, it simply does not get any better than winning a big game against the Raiders on their home field. Enjoy this one Broncos fans!
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