(Sorry this is being posted so late and is rather short, I've had family in town and then I got laid up with a nasty bug today.)
The Eagles game did an excellent job of showing what the Broncos are and what they are not. What they are is a plucky team who was hot at the beginning of the year and can keep it close against superior teams but what they are not is elite.
McNabb showed why he makes Philly fans crazy. In the first half, he was incredible, in the 2nd half he was terrible.
It was a story of two halves. In the first half, the Eagles were on fire and would have been up by even more had it not been for some interesting officiating and some critical turnovers that went the Eagles way. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, it was 27-10, and the game seemed all but over. However, the Broncos quickly put up 17 unanswered points to tie things up, and it was getting interesting.
Denver had their chance late in the 4th quarter, but Kyle Orton was unable to scramble for 9 yards, and with the ensuing punt, the Eagles were able to drive to the red zone and kick home the winning field goal.
Positives from the game:
Jabbar Gaffney: Jabbar had his best day as a Bronco with 7 catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
Turnover differential: The defense kept the Broncos in the game by turning over the Eagles three times and the Broncos only suffered one Orton interception.
Negatives from the game:
Kyle Orton: Statistically, not a terrible effort, but the problem with Orton is that while he will never lose you a game, he's not very good at winning them for you either. A glaring stat from the game was that the Eagles averaged 8.3 yards per pass, the Broncos had a miserable 4.2.
The running game: 70 yards rushing for the game is not getting it done. Knowshon Moreno had a nice touchdown catch, but he also only averaged 2 yards a carry. Knowshon had a few decent games in the middle part of the season, but it's been over a month since he looked like anything special. I'm not giving up on the guy, as he obviously has talent, but he has not been doing much lately...of course, the offensive line isn't giving him much to work with right now either.
Brandon Stokely: Stokes got held and a penalty should have been called, but it wasn't and instead of just running off the field, he threw a hissy fit. He ran over to the ref and begged for a call, and when none was forthcoming, he threw his hands down in disgust. Unfortunately, he unintentionally smacked the refs hand when he did it, and he got kicked out of the game. Bush league move by a guy who has been very likable in his Denver tenure.
Well, the Broncos aren't officially out of the playoffs yet. Part of me wants them to make it, because the playoffs are fun, however I realize it'll be a short visit if they do make it in. There are no fewer than 10 (Yes, TEN!) ways for the Broncos to make the playoffs, but they need some help. Perhaps most amazing of all is that five of those scenarios don't even require the Broncos to win.
1. Broncos win + Jets loss or tie + Ravens loss or tie
2. Broncos win + Jets loss or tie + Steelers loss or tie
3. Broncos win + Jets loss or tie + Texans win
4. Broncos win + Ravens loss or tie + Steelers loss or tie
5. Broncos win + Ravens loss or tie + Texans win
6. Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Texans loss + Jaguars loss
7. Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Texans loss + Jets loss
8. Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Jaguars loss + Jets loss
9. Steelers loss + Texans loss + Jaguars loss + Jets loss
10. Dolphins loss or tie + Jets loss + Ravens loss + Texans loss + Jaguars loss or tie
The games that are of interest to the Broncos are:
Chiefs at Broncos
Bengals at Jets
Ravens at Raiders
Steelers at Dolphins
Patriots at Texans
Jaguars at Browns
Lets hope we get lucky. Go Broncos!