Monday, November 9, 2009

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game #8 - vs Steelers

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. And sometimes, you're the Donkeys.

The curse of Brett Kern strikes yet again. At the bye week when they cut Kern, the Broncos were 6-0. Since the bye week when he was cut, the Broncos have now been blown out twice. Since the Titans picked him up, they are 2-0 after starting out 0-6 without Kern. Yup, he's 8-0 this year, and I want him back, as Mitch Berger is dreadful plus I'm pretty sure he's 87 years old. What's that, he's only 37? I guess your results may vary depending on what type of carbon dating method you use, either way, yikes!

Rashard Mendenhall ran through the Broncos defense like it was 2008.

If we are to believe that the Broncos are contenders, they sure have a funny way of showing it the past two weeks. I still believe that the playoffs are an excellent possibility, but I no longer feel like it's a lock, and I have zero confidence that they will be able to win in the postseason should they get there. That said, it helps to keep perspective that I felt like this team would only win four all year, so I would have lept at a 6-2 record at the halfway mark.

Estimates had the crowd at 50% Steelers fans, it was even higher late in the game.

What can I say, exactly, about a complete abomination of an effort by the Broncos? On a night when they played at home, but estimates of up to half of the fans in the stands were cheering against them, They played a tough first half, but things quickly went downhill in the second half. The Steelers were like a snowball, gaining speed as the game progressed and getting larger and more ominous looking. By the end, the Broncos were just bowled over by a gigantic Black and Yellow snowball and looking around wondering what happened. What happened is a 28-10 whitewashing by Pittsburgh in a game that proves just how far away the Broncos are from being what the Steelers are...namely World Champs.

Positives from the game:

Eddie Royal had an epic first series.

Eddie Royal: The first drive, it looked like Eddie Royal might set Broncos receiving records tonight. Let's just say that the Steelers quickly adjusted. He did have a 5 catch 74 yard performance which was solid, but we have to look very hard to find positives in this one.

Brandon Marshall had a good game, but he was pretty much the only one.

Brandon Marshall: Number 15 cannot be held responsible for the Broncos poor performance, he had a whale of a game considering how anemic the offense was around him. 11 catches for 112 yards, he was easily the best player on the field tonight for the Broncos.

First Half Defense: Despite the offense doing very little to assist them, the Broncos offense did the best they could. Especially in the first half when they kept Denver in the game, and looked pretty decent doing it. They shut out the Steelers offense in the first half, as the only first half touchdown was an interception return for six.

Robert Ayers: The big linebacker showed some wheels picking up a loose ball and rumbling 54 yards for the Broncos only touchdown of the game which gave the Broncos a short lived lead that lasted for all of 4 Steeler plays.

Negatives from the Game:

This photo of Mitch Berger seemed the most appropriate Broncos picture of the day.

Mitch Berger: Okay, so Mitch didn't punt terribly, but I'm blaming this losing streak on him anyway.

The Broncos offense was outscored by the Steelers defense tonight. Not a recipe for success.

The Running Game: Seriously, 27 yards rushing all game? That was pathetic. The offense was horrendous, and it began with a complete and total inability to run the ball.

Monday night was not Kyle's greatest moment.

Kyle Orton: When you have no run game, Kyle Orton is not going to win you a game. He looked rattled. He was making poor decisions, terrible throws, and his feet were jumping more than a Romanian gymnast. Sometimes it looked like he was just looking for the softest place to fall, you know, when he wasn't tossing the ball into the arms of wide open Steelers. I have enjoyed Kyle Orton this season, even though he was not doing much in the way of huge plays, he was playing within himself, he was doing the smart things that win games. Tonight, he looked absolutely inept. You have to credit the Steelers for that, they played a fantastic defensive game. Kyle needs to get back to the basics of what got the Broncos to 6-0, and quick. Of course, that starts with establishing a ground game, so Josh McDaniels has some work to do.

Hines Ward puts the icing on the Steelers victory cake with a late 4th quarter touchdown. (He also cinched a fantasy victory for my fantasy team, which was the only nice thing to come from tonight's game.)

Second Half defensive effort (or lack thereof): The Broncos got ran off of the field in the second half. During their six game streak to start the season, the second half was when they put teams away defensively. Tonight and last week against the Ravens as well, they fell completely apart when they needed to rally together. That was an embarrassing performance for my team, and I hope they can get back to where they were at before this difficult stretch through the cream of the AFC North crop. It does feel like the league is starting to figure out that in order to defeat Denver, you need to load up to stuff the run, and make Kyle Orton beat you. Hopefully the Broncos can get healthy with a trip to DC next week to play the horrendous Redskins.

Final Thought:

Even if you don't believe it, this guy is one heck of an NFL quarterback.

If you don't believe in Ben Roethlisberger, you need to start doing so immediately. This game shifted immediately after the Broncos took a 10-7 lead on the Ayers fumble return for a score. Roethlisberger got the ball back, went to a no huddle offense, and in four plays drove from the 20 to the end zone for a Steeler touchdown and the game was basically over at that point. Once Big Ben gets into a rhythm, the Steelers offensive machine goes, and he just extends plays wonderfully. I was slow to come around on Roethlisberger, because so much of the things he does on the football field doesn't look like how a quarterback is supposed to look. However, he just keeps drives alive, he takes enormous hits, and he stands back there and keep plays alive until his receivers get open. He's a stud. Hats off to the Steelers, they needed this game to keep pace with the Bengals, and they won it in convincing fashion. Nothing for the Broncos to do but lick their wounds and get ready for Washington next week. Hopefully they actually show up for the game this time. Ah well, in good times and bad, I remain a Broncos fan. GO BRONCOS!

No comments: