Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) is tackled after making a catch during the first half against the against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
WR’s hands – While I don’t anticipate this being a huge or continuous issue, the WR’s dropped way too many passes, many of them very easy and catchable balls. Drops are momentum killers and they were a big factor in the Broncos being unable to continue their first half success on offense into the second half. Demaryius Thomas in particular dropped a number of easy passes and with his penchant for making plays, it’s reasonable to say his drops cost us points.
Run Blocking – While Peyton had a lot of time to throw the ball for the most part, Montee Ball didn’t see much daylight all game. He was constantly met at the line by a defender and had to grind out almost every yard he got. He did score a TD, but even that was after bouncing it outside after 2 of his running lanes were stuffed. It gets more disconcerting when the Broncos couldn’t grind out the game when the Colts closed to within one score. Generally, great teams are able to run it down the opponent’s throat when everybody knows they are going to run it. The Broncos were unable to do this to close out the game.
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Killer Instinct/End Game – Great teams have the killer instinct and put games away when they have the opportunity. It’s only one game, but the Broncos were highly ineffective down the stretch and let the Colts back into the game. They allowed an onside kick recovery due to what John Fox called “miscommunication”.
The defense, however, stepped up after the onside kick when Rahim Moore secured his 2nd interception with 5:25 to go. Up 14 points with the ball, any score would have sealed the victory. However, Montee Ball rushed for 1 yard on 1st down, 3 yards on 2nd down then Peyton was sacked on 3rd down, 3 and out.
After receiving the punt, the Colts scored again to close within 7 points, then the Broncos got the ball back with 3:26 to go. Once again, a score or even a few first downs would’ve closed the game out; however, they couldn’t produce even one first down. Montee Ball ran for no gain, Peyton missed Emmanuel Sanders and then Peyton missed Caldwell, another 3 and out. Fortunately, the Broncos defense secured the win, but the game should have never gotten to that point.
If the Broncos are going to win as many games as last year and get the #1 seed against a much, much tougher schedule, then they will have to be able to close teams out when they have the opportunity. The running game will be integral to accomplishing this, and the Offensive line will need to be better in this regard. The line has a new configuration and guys are learning new positions, so there is certainly room for improvement but this was a big weakness against the Colts that fortunately didn’t cost the team a win this time.