Open Thread: MNF Week 8 - 49ers @ Cardinals

Andy Benoit, Doug FarrarMatt Bowen, Sam Monson, and Benjamin Hoffman break down the matchup. Enjoy the game!

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Manning not set in his ways

Morning Rush: Peyton Manning as early MVP favorite? Broncos' QB not buying it
sports.yahoo.com

“I really enjoy working with the young receivers,” Manning said. “We’re learning each other and I’m still feeling my way out, but they’re buying in.”

Exhibit A: Manning’s one-yard touchdown pass to Thomas with 9:30 left in the third quarter, which gave the Broncos a 24-7 lead. The play was installed weeks ago by Manning in practice: Thomas, lined up to the left, begins what appears to be a fade route, then abruptly breaks it off and runs a quick out to the side of the end zone.

“When we first ran it in practice, it was against [future Hall of Fame cornerback] Champ Bailey,” Thomas recalled. “He said, ‘Man, that’s an unstoppable route.’ When I hear Champ Bailey say that, it gets my attention.”  Unsurprisingly, Saints cornerback Johnny Patrick couldn’t stop it.

“Hey,” Thomas said, “we had one play that worked that [Manning] put in [during] this game.”

"Hey guys, do you think this is a good play?"

"I don't know. Let's see if Champ can stop it."

"He can't."

"Well, well, well, look what we've got here."

Mays done for season with broken leg

The return from suspension of D.J. Williams after the Broncos' Week 10 game at Carolina has created questions about how the team will handle its LB corps going forward.

Unfortunately, a fractured fibula suffered by Joe Mays will go a long way to forcing Denver's hand there. Mays is done for the year after he was injured during a Broncos punt return last night, and is expected to be placed on IR tomorrow.

Mays had lost his starting Mike job to Keith Brooking, and had been relegated to special teams duty for the past two weeks. 2011 sixth-rounder Mike Mohamed is on the practice squad as a likely replacement for Mays, if a temporary one until Williams is reinstated.

Sixty-minute Broncos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night was about questions answered.

Not regarding Peyton Manning - at least around these parts, there have been no concerns about the 36-year-old's play or physical condition since Week 3 - when he established for good that his arm was more than fine.

In the four weeks that have followed, Manning has played at a level far beyond any Broncos quarterback has ever performed. He's the first in NFL history to top 300 yards, 70% completions, and three touchdown passes in four consecutive games; against San Diego, he had become the first to do that three times in a row. File that under the category of arbitrary trivia, but it's still impressive and speaks to how great Peyton has been.

Over that stretch, Peyton has piled up 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 75.4% completion rate and 127.9 QB rating, with just one interception and two sacks. Both sacks came against New England; against Oakland, San Diego, and New Orleans, the Denver QB was not taken down behind the LOS.

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Gut Reaction: Week 8 - Broncos vs Saints

Tonight, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning were supposed to throw for a combined 600 passing yards.

Manning held up his end of the bargain--and it only took him three quarters.

The Broncos defense didn't get the memo, however.  Although Brees wasn't sacked a lot, he felt more heat than a Louisiana strip club.

The player of the game was undoubtedly Wesley Woodyard.  On the night, he had nine tackles, four assists, two passes defensed, one forced fumble, one sack, and an interception.

That's scary good, and right in time for Halloween.

And right in time for the Broncos to give the league nightmares.

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Open Thread: Sunday Week 8

No surprise here, but Tracy Porter will not play; Chris Harris will again start in his place. Also inactive for Denver are RB Knowshon Moreno, TE Julius Thomas, LB Steven Johnson, OL C.J. Davis, DT Sealver Siliga, and QB Caleb Hanie.

Denver is dressing five wideouts (plus KR Trindon Holliday), Brock Osweiler is again the backup QB, and Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball remain ahead of Moreno.

Jimmy Graham will play for New Orleans, who will be without old friends DT Brodrick Bunkley and TE Daniel Graham, LB David Hawthorne, WR Joe Morgan, LB Scott Shanle, DT Tyrunn Walker, and T Bryce Harris.

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Peyton was Double Secret Squirrel at Duke Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! By now, we're all quite aware that Peyton Manning did the bulk of his rehab work at Duke University with head coach David Cutcliffe, who had been his OC at Tennessee.

But while the work was being done, almost nobody knew it was happening - even Cutcliffe's assistant coaches. Manning's workouts took place at night, and Cutcliffe says his equipment staff were the only ones who knew Peyton was on campus.

As for the simulation of Indianapolis's 2009 AFC Championship win over the Jets - along with Brandon Stokley and other ex-mates - Manning's maniacal attention to detail manifested itself in reenacting plays down to the second. Even plays run by the imaginary Jets.

John Fox says that he and John Elway leaned heavily upon Cutcliffe for an evaluation of Manning prior to signing him, which prompts us to say one thing:

Thank you, David Cutcliffe.

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Happy Birthday, TD and Atwater!

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Fullback of the Opera

Singer makes journey from fullback to Figaro
www.khou.com

It began almost by chance in 1994, while still at Colorado, when he took his girlfriend to see a traveling production of the Broadway musical “The Phantom of the Opera.” He was so enthralled that tears rolled down his face. He bought a CD and learned the songs.

Then he got some real opera recordings, singing along in his bass-baritone voice, “kind of like karaoke.”

...In 2001, he was in Fargo, N.D., training for a workout with the Denver Broncos, when he saw a flier announcing an open opera audition for the Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan.
On a whim, he showed up.

“I figured, what the heck!” he says, his voice rippling into a low laugh that echoes his rich singing bass.
He performed the only aria he knew, from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” To his surprise, he got the job, plus four other offers…

...He has now sung with the Washington National Opera, the Seattle Opera, and other companies across the country and in Italy, England and Canada, plus the New York Philharmonic and at Carnegie Hall.

Who was that shape in the backfield shadows? Whose is that face in the face mask?

Derek Wolfe sure does play a lot Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The selection of Derek Wolfe as Denver's top draft pick has been somewhat controversial, and the success of RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay has again focused the spotlight on the choice of Wolfe.

But although Derek has hardly created any pressure, and has (by far) the worst PFF grade of any Broncos player, he's also played the second-most snaps along the defensive line (to Elvis Dumervil), and nobody is close behind him in that category.

Dumervil credits Wolfe as having done "the most dirty work" along Denver's line, and that snap data certainly backs that up. Of course, Elvis and Von Miller have racked up some terrific pass-rushing figures this season, in part thanks to Wolfe's hard work in the trenches.

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