Sunday, September 26, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 3 - vs Colts

Colts 27 Broncos 13

The Broncos did their best at Invesco on Sunday, but the Colts and their own mistakes kept them from a win no one expected them to get anyway.

Sometimes you're just outclassed. Today was not necessarily one of those days, however. The Broncos actually outgained the Colts 519 yards to 365. Gaining yards only matters if you're able to finish off drives, however. The Broncos got into the Red Zone five times today, and came away with a whopping 13 points. That is not getting it done. Also, handing the ball over to the Colts deep in their own territory is bound to hurt you. The Broncos did that twice, along with failing on three of four fourth down conversion attempts. Just too many mistakes by the Broncos today. While the Colts were not terribly sharp today, they are certainly good enough to finish the job and if you start to beat yourself.

In case you were unaware, this number 18 guy is pretty good.

If you look at the stats, Peyton Manning had a pretty good day. However, I have to say that he looked a little bit off. He still was able to connect for a trio of touchdowns, and a very solid passing day, but he failed on a lot of plays where normally you'd expect him to succeed. I'll give part of the credit to the Broncos, but I also think he was a bit off. Someone who wasn't off was Austin Collie, as the Colts wideout went bonkers today with 12 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Very impressive day for Austin today.


Somehow Brandon Lloyd has turned from mediocre receiver to super star thus far this year. I didn't see it coming, but it has been fun to behold.

Brandon Lloyd: When did this journeyman turn into this big of a stud? Lloyd was making huge plays all day including a beautiful 48 yard touchdown catch from Kyle Orton. 169 yards on 6 catches and a touchdown...not too shabby.

Gaffney is now Kyle's go to guy.

Jabar Gaffney: Gaffney looks like he is quickly becoming Orton's security blanket. He pulled down 12 catches today for 140 yards and was making some tough grabs at big points in the game.

A record setting day number wise, but probably Kyle's worst effort thus far this season.

Kyle Orton: He put up some crazy good numbers, even though this was probably his worst game of the season. His second quarter interception simply should not have been thrown, as if Jacob Lacey didn't intercept it, the other man covering Eddie Royal probably would have. It was an atypical terrible decision from a man who has become quite good at not making terrible decisions in general. Other than that play, which set up a Colts touchdown, Orton had a big day. He threw for the second most yards in Broncos history today, flinging the rock for 476 total passing yards. (Although a decent chunk of that came in garbage time.) His touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd was a thing of beauty, right on target deep in the end zone thanks to some sterling protection from the offensive line.

The Defense was stuffing the Colts run game all day.

The Defense: They lapsed a few times, but in general, the defense looked fairly competent against one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Although they were unable to force a turnover, they did a decent job getting off the field on third downs allowing the Colts to go 6-14 on third down. They also did a fairly good job of holding down the Colts offense, and the running game in particular. Peyton Manning is always going to get his, but the loss today should not be pinned on the defense.

The Negatives:

Laurence Maroney failed to make a great first impression with Broncos fans today.

Laurence Maroney: It took less than two quarters for Broncos fans to start disliking Maroney. He does a good job of turning promising plays into 3 yard gains, and makes very little happen in general. He had one good play off of a catch at the beginning of the 4th quarter, but apart from that, he was generally miserable. He averaged a whopping 2 yards per carry with a long gain of 6. He failed to get into the end zone from very close proximity a bunch of times, and in general it appeared that Broncos fans will be quick to boo the newcomer from New England. (Making this performance even more difficult to swallow is the fact that Peyton Hillis went for 144 yards and a touchdown for Cleveland today. Although Brady Quinn looked pretty good standing on the sideline holding a clipboard today, so I guess the trade wasn't a complete loss for the Broncos.)

Perrish Cox's new nickname is likely "Toast" after the way he was continually burned today.

Perrish Cox: The Rookie can be exciting at times, but he was burned on two touchdown passes, and his first quarter punt muff handed the Colts 3 early points, and Peyton Manning is generally good enough that you don't need to hand him extra points for free. I have high hopes for Cox, but today was one of those growing pains days for the rook.

Red Zone Offense: When you move the ball as well as the Broncos did today, you need to score more than 13 points. The Broncos were rather inefficient once they got inside the 20 today, only managing two field goals on their five trips to the crimson area. The total lack of a run game certainly shares part of the blame for this, as when a team shows a complete lack of running ability (Unless you count 47 total rushing yards as a success) it usually can't punch it in when it matters most. Oddly enough, the Broncos play-action fakes were wildly successful. One would think the Colts would respect the run less considering the Broncos were terrible at it all day. However, time after time, the play fakes worked. Weird.

Final Thought:

There is no shame in losing to the reigning AFC champs. The Broncos might have had a shot today if they could just make the big plays at the big moments, but despite being pretty successful throwing the ball today, it didn't translate into points, and there were too many failures and drive killing errors to overcome a team as talented as Indy. Still, the Broncos played like a team that I could be proud of as a Broncos fan, even if they failed to actually win the game. As odd as it sounds, I think this young team grew up a little today. There is still a long way to go, but they're learning. Go Broncos!

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