Mile High Monday: Broncos Make Big Statement on Opening Weekend
By Chris Krier
Sep 5, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) makes a reception during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Ravens 49-27. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
It sure felt good to be in Broncos Country this weekend.
After whipping the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night the Denver Broncos and their fans got to enjoy a stress free weekend while everyone else fought it out.
A few teams had some nice performances but several played poorly, and in a few cases it was shockingly bad.
Although there are still 4 teams out there yet to play it looks as though Denver will emerge from opening weekend as one of the top dogs in the NFL.
The Broncos looked every bit of a Super Bowl contender when they dominated the Super Bowl champs 49-27 in the opening game.
Peyton Manning was in another universe with his 462 yard and 7 touchdown passing performance that went down in the record books. Wes Welker looked like one of the best offseason pickups in the entire NFL and Julius Thomas emerged as a serious receiving threat.
Fans had hoped the offense would look explosive. But even the most optimistic supporters couldn’t have expected this. How exactly do defensive coordinators plan on slowing this team down?
Despite missing possibly their two best players on the defensive side they bottled up the Ravens offense and accounted for 4 sacks and 2 turnovers, something they didn’t even begin to approach during the playoff matchup in January.
Shaun Philips picked up the slack rushing the passer and was credited with 2.5 sacks in his first game as a Bronco. Go ahead and consider a certain defensive end that left in free agency replaced.
If the defense looked this effective without Von Miller and Champ Bailey, Jack Del Rio has to be pretty excited about what they can do when they both return.
In front of a national TV audience the Denver Broncos made a massive statement to the rest of the NFL: They are coming for the Lombardi Trophy.
One thing for sure, it was disappointing to see what transpired on Thursday if you were a fan of another AFC West team. It must have been deflating to understand the odds you are up against before your team even took the field for the first time.
As for the rest of the league there were several interesting results.
The Pittsburgh Steelers lost at home to the Tennessee Titans in what might have been their worst showing in a decade. They were probably the most disappointing team out of the AFC North which went winless in the first week.
The Seattle Seahawks, probably the hottest pick to win the Super Bowl prior to the season, bumbled their way through their 12-7 win against the Carolina Panthers. Their defense looks stout once again but there was nothing scary about that offense during the first 60 minutes of the season.
On Sunday Night Football the New York Giants turned the ball over 6 times yet they hung tough and only lost by 5 points to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Jacksonville Jaguars looked like the worst team in the league in losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 28-2. It’s not very often you see quarterback play as poor as you saw in Jacksonville, unless of course you live in Kansas City and watched football last season.
Always considered a Super Bowl contender, the New England Patriots barely escaped an early season letdown against the Buffalo Bills with a last second field goal. Tom Brady wasn’t his usual efficient self and his receiving corps is not nearly as sharp as they have been in the past. The Patriots are not scaring anyone right now.
On the other side of the coin The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers played one of the best games of the weekend. It was two true contenders trading blows throughout the entire game and it was a joy to watch. The 49ers held on to win the slugfest by a score of 34-28, a result that will have playoff implications down the road.
Other teams with impressive victories include the New Orleans Saints who beat defending division champion Atlanta and the Detroit Lions who won at home against Minnesota.
With most of the good showings put forth by NFC teams Denver has clearly established themself as the frontrunner in the AFC.
So far so good in Broncos Country.
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