Sunday, October 3, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 4 - at Titans

Broncos 26 Titans 20

Correll Buckhalter hauls in the winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter in Tennessee today.

Best win of the season? Undoubtedly. Hopefully there will be more like this, as the Broncos went into a hostile stadium as a pretty decent sized underdog, and despite a complete inability to run the football...they were able to find a way to scrap together an impressive victory.

Despite getting outplayed for the majority of the game, the Broncos found a way to win this one thanks to some strong defensive play, hot and cold special teams work, and another terrific outing from their quarterback...and also in no small part to a well-earned pass interference flag. The end result was a 26-20 win on the road in a game it appeared they had pretty much lost right up until the final minutes.

The defense truly held up it's end of the bargain today in Nashville.

It was a refreshing win, an unexpected win, but not a win that was without significant flaws. Mostly it was a win that came as a result of the Broncos playing how they need to play to win. They aren't going to overpower you with their talent, but they can take advantage of all the breaks and pull out a win, even when you don't expect them to. I'm going to chalk some of that up to good coaching, as if I can say one thing about the 2010 Broncos at the quarter-pole: They have been very well coached.


Another big day for employee number 8.

Kyle Orton: Once again, we need to give massive kudos to the quarterback. All this focus has been on Tim Tebow as the quarterback of the future, but if the Purdue quarterback keeps playing like this, it would be foolish to replace Orton. In addition to throwing for 341 yards on 70% passing, he also led the Broncos in rushing...a fact that is more a negative comment on the run game than a positive comment about Kyle's wheels, but a fact nonetheless. He had one terrible play in which he was trying to force a throw to pick up a first down and caused an interception, but apart from that, it's hard to be much better than Orton has been so far. The Broncos are at .500 due to their quarterback, and he has been fantastic thus far this year. He has thrown for 817 yards in just the past two games. If he keeps doing this, eventually even the national media are going to clue in to how good of a season he's having.

Brian Dawkins helped shutter the Titans offense for the day.

The Defense: The Broncos ran 76 plays to the Titans 52, and a lot of that was due to the defense getting Vince Young and company off the field quickly. Young threw for only 173 yards, and Chris Johnson was held to a measly 53. The Broncos defense only gave up 13 points (one TD came on a kickoff return) and basically they stuffed the Titans repeatedly. Considering how often this defense looks like hot butter and opponents offenses look like a knife, this was a refreshing change of pace on the defensive side of the ball for the Broncos.

Brandon Lloyd = Stud.

Brandon Lloyd: Somehow, this journeyman has become a superstar this year. The dude is only 3 yards away from being the leading the entire NFL in receiving yards. He is getting open or just finding a way to make the catch when he's covered. It's nothing short of incredible.

The Broncos Mr. Reliable so far this season: Matt Prater!

Matt Prater: Hey, his longest was only 36 yards, but in an age where kickers seem to regularly shank makable field goals lets hear it for Prater thus far. He went 4-4 on field goals today, the dude is still 100% on kicks for the season, and in addition to that he kicked that wonky kickoff that bounced really high in the air and allowed the Broncos to recover it. All in all, a very strong day for the Bronco kicker.


I'm not saying that Laurence Maroney couldn't have rushed for 100 yards today, it's just that at today's pace, he'd have needed 200 carries to do it.

Laurence Maroney: I was never a big fan of Maroney in New England, but now that he is a Bronco...I really dislike the guy. He hasn't done or said anything wrong, but something about the way he carries himself and the way he carries the ball rubs me wrong. It doesn't help that he averaged a whopping 0.5 yards per carry today. It's not like the O-Line is helping him out at all, but yikes. He's done little to impress in his first two games for Denver. Hopefully Knowshon will be healthy enough to play next week.

The Offensive Line: The run blocking is non-existent, and when Kyle Orton wasn't being sacked for one of the six sacks they allowed, he was scrambling around like a madman. The line is young and needs time to mesh, but they have a LOT of room for improvement right now.

Marc Mariani runs away from the Broncos...all of them, that is, for a third quarter touchdown.

Kickoff Coverage: Reading your opponents name as he runs into the end zone is never a good thing if you're a kickoff cover team. At least they made up for it by icing the game with an exceptionally flukey kickoff recovery late in the game, but they are allowing teams to break or nearly break way too many runs.

Final Thought:

I'm not flat out saying the Broncos offense is unbalanced, but they have the number 1 passing offense and the number 30 rushing offense in the NFL right I guess I am flat out saying that they are unbalanced. The only shock there is that there are actually two teams in the NFL worse at running the ball. Even with that handicap, they are moving the ball thanks to Kyle Orton being better than I expected and the wide receivers lapping expectations thus far. Broncos fans were worried that we wouldn't be able to replace Brandon Marshall, and all we've done thus far is have two receivers with more yards, and three receivers with as many or more catches than Marshall has gotten in Miami. Now if we could just run the ball...

Regardless, winning on the road is always a big deal, and doing it against a fairly talented and well regarded team like Tennessee is even better. It was a terrific win, one I hope we see replicated several more times this season. Go Broncos!

No comments: