Mile High Monday: The Denver Broncos are AFC West Champions!


Thoughts on the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Mile High Stadium (In no particular order):

  • The Denver Broncos are AFC West Champs! Let me repeat that: The Denver Broncos, widely picked to finish last in the division at the start of the season, have won the AFC West! They doubled their win total from the previous year, they beat every other team in the division once, and they won their first division title since 2005. That is an overwhelmingly successful 2011 season in my book.
  • Every Broncos fan out there would have preferred to beat the Chiefs and celebrate the division title on the field, but the bottom line is that they still won it anyways. The Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders are all depressed that their seasons are over today. It is much better to be in Broncos Country this week than any of those other places, so enjoy this accomplishment. And for the fans that are still disappointed with the way it happened, look at it this way: How much worse would you have felt with that loss yesterday had the Raiders gone on to win the division? Exactly. It may have been a bittersweet afternoon for the Broncos, but for the Raiders it was entirely bitter. Did you happen to catch Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson’s post-game interview? It always can be a lot worse. There are absolutely no negatives to winning the division. It provides exposure and additional income for the franchise, it allows the youngsters on the team to gain valuable postseason experience, and it is another opportunity for veterans like Champ Bailey to enjoy the playoff atmosphere once again. Even though Denver will go into their playoff matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers as big underdogs, it will be an exciting week in Broncos Country and I’m excited for the experience as a fan.
  • While acknowledging that the Broncos are division champs, the fact remains that the offensive performance put forth yesterday was pathetic. From John Fox to Mike McCoy, Tim Tebow and the rest of the offense, that was a complete failure. If your defense gives up a mere 7 points during an entire NFL game, you absolutely need to find a way to win it. Unlike the 6-game winning streak where they found a way to finish games with a flurry, and unlike the previous 2 losses where the offense started on fire before fading down the stretch, there was not a successful offensive period during the entire game. It was boring and uninspired. I can hardly stomach the ultra-conservative Fox/McCoy game plans anymore. When the Broncos do decide to actually throw the ball, you never see a screen pass, hitch route, or some other easily completed pass that can get the quarterback in a rhythm. I will admit that Tebow’s performance was abysmal (6 for 22 with 60 yards and an interception), but at some point the coaches have to put their players into a position where they can succeed. I just don’t see that happening on a weekly basis with the Broncos. If Fox and McCoy don’t make some serious offensive adjustments this week the result on Sunday will be the same.
  • If Denver can manage even an average output in the passing game yesterday they would have won the contest going away. I think that is the most frustrating part of the offense right now. They didn’t need to be perfect or dominant, just serviceable, yet they couldn’t do it.
  • The media made a big deal out of Kyle Orton getting some sort of revenge on the Broncos, but he played horrible also. He finished 15 for 29 with 180 yards, but only managed to lead a single touchdown drive and that drive consisted almost entirely of running plays. I’m so sick of the Orton storyline. I wish him well but our franchise is still better off without him.
  • I get the feeling that Tim Tebow’s performance against the Steelers this weekend will determine the direction of the front office during the off-season. Another game like the one we just saw and the long-term plans of the organization will be up in the air. Tebow will go into 2012 as the starter regardless, but he will be competing for the starting job all over again against some new competition if he doesn’t show significant improvement. And rightfully so. The Broncos need to be better at the quarterback position.
  • With that being said, there is no way the Broncos would have won the division championship this year without Tim Tebow.
  • It was very sad to see offensive guard Chris Kuper go down with a serious leg injury. It was immediately clear that he was injured severely and it took the medic cart only a few moments to make its way onto the field. Hopefully Kuper makes a full and speedy recovery.
  • Watching the impressively large Dwayne Bowe make circus catches for the Chiefs really made me wish Denver had a stud receiver of their own who could make plays no matter what.
  • I have to give some love to the beast that is Willis McGahee as well as the run blocking by the offensive line. McGahee rushed 28 times for 145 yards and finished 8th in the league on the season with 1,199-yards rushing. He has been a great performer all season long, and the running game was the lone bright spot on the offensive side of the ball against the Chiefs.
  • I would have liked to have seen the Denver defense put more pressure on the quarterback and force some turnovers yesterday. They only registered a single sack (Robert Ayers) and managed a mere 2 quarterback hits during the game. They have also gone 3 straight games without forcing a turnover (the lone Chiefs turnover yesterday was on special teams). However, the defense played superbly and shut down the Chiefs all day. They played well enough to win and were a single big play away from winning the game themselves. It is no secret that the Broncos defense will have to perform extremely well against the Steelers to continue their season, but they can’t do it alone.
  • Enjoy this one Broncos fans! It has been 6 seasons since Denver has won the division or even made the playoffs. Let’s really enjoy this accomplishment and soak up the postseason experience this week. Now that the Broncos are in the playoffs anything can happen. Let’s make Mile High rock this weekend and see if the Broncos can shock the country. Go Broncos!
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