Good Morning, Broncos fans! The 2011 Broncos needed 16 games, three tiebreakers, smoke, and mirrors, to win the AFCW, and did so while topping the 30-point mark just two times, and being outscored by 81 points.
Peyton Manning's Broncos (9-3) require no gimmicks or common opponent calculations, and have already clinched the division outright after just 12 games, thanks to their 31-23 victory (Gamebook, ANS box score) over the visiting Bucs (6-6). Through the regular season's first three quarters, Denver has already scored 30 or more points eight times, and have outscored their opponents by 105 in total.
It took Manning only 12 games to set a new Broncos single-season standard for touchdown passes, with one to Mitch Unrein (ZOMG) and two to Demaryius Thomas (what else is new?) giving him 29 on the season. The old Denver record had been 27, shared by John Elway (1997) and Jake Plummer (2004).
Last year it took the Broncos until Week 17 to win the division.
What a bunch of drama queens.
This year, the Broncos clinched the division so fast, there was still time to hit the links.
Okay, how about a seven-game winning streak?
Denver's inactives today are WR Brandon Stokley, FB Jacob Hester, DE Robert Ayers, QB Caleb Hanie, G/C C.J Davis, CB Tracy Porter, and TE Julius Thomas.
The absences of Ayers and Hester are no surprise, while not having Stokley, who's been bothered by hip and wrist issues all week, means Andre Caldwell will dress.
Tampa Bay will be without RB Michael Smith, LB Najee Goode, G/T Derek Hardman, WR David Gilreath, WR David Douglas, and DT Matthew Masifilo.
Here are rest of the day's inactive lists. Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos and Steelers!
Good Morning, Broncos fans. The Chiefs and Panthers will play their game today as scheduled, some 28 hours after their starting middle linebacker unfathomably killed the mother of his three-month-old daughter, before taking his own life at Chiefs headquarters.
It doesn't feel like continuing with the game today is the right thing to do, yet the league left it up to the Chiefs, whose head coach (who witnessed Jovan Belcher's suicide) and captains voted unanimously to play.
Could they really be equipped to make such a decision? That's doubtful, considering what they are dealing with. Kansas City - the team, and the fans - will go through the habitual motions of a football Sunday, but will anyone really be thinking about football? It's hard to believe they will. Then again, would playing the game tomorrow instead of today make any positive difference? Not necessarily.
Belcher's high school coach and agent wonder what went wrong for a young man they describe as intelligent, hard-working, generous, and caring - a person most of us knew little or nothing about prior to yesterday.
The Broncos may have struggled to beat the Chiefs last week, but the victory still extended Denver's winning streak to six games - the NFL's longest current one.
Another win tomorrow, over the visiting Bucs, would make for only the fourth win streak of seven or more games in Broncos history. It would also make Denver AFCW champs in consecutive seasons for just the third time ever.
With the Broncos' rivals embroiled in streaks of the losing variety - KC's dropped eight, Oakland four, and San Diego three - the division title is a foregone conclusion. And once that formality is wrapped up with the next Denver win or San Diego loss, the team will be assured to open the playoffs at home.
Good Morning, Broncos fans. There's some horrifying news coming out of Kansas City today.
Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher reportedly killed his girlfriend at a residence this morning, before going to Arrowhead, where he committed suicide in the parking lot, apparently in the presence of Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli.
Belcher was a fourth-year linebacker who joined Kansas City after going undrafted out of Maine in 2009; he was born and raised on Long Island, in New York.
Our thoughts go out to the families involved, and the Chiefs organization, players, and fans.
The team is scheduled to host the Panthers tomorrow, and the league has not yet decided whether to go ahead with the game.
Did you get a load of this, from Doug's most favoritest football writer Alex Marvez?
27 Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists. No QBs nominated. Hasn't been one voted in since 2006. But plenty of o-linemen!!! #fail— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) November 30, 2012
This is a guy who used to be a voter for the Hall of Fame, as president of the Professional Football Writers Association, but doesn't presently hold one of the 44 seats. Other reporters, such as his FoxSports.com colleagues John Czarnecki and Nancy Gay, do get to vote. Remember my Rule Number 1 of sports: anything which is decided by reporters voting is diminished by that fact, and I'd go so far as to say it's inherently worthless.
Former Broncos Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, John Lynch, and Karl Mecklenburg are among 27 semifinalists who will be considered for enshrinement in the 2013 HOF class, it was announced Friday.
The list of 27 former players, coaches, and executives will be pared to 15 finalists (plus the two Senior Committee candidates) in January, and the Class of 2013 will be chosen on Saturday, February 2, the day preceding SB 46 in New Orleans.
Happy Friday, friends. I was going to write an article today breaking down the Broncos-Bucs game, but Andy Benoit did a really good job of it yesterday for Football Outsiders, and I don’t really feel like it’s necessary to go over the same ground he just plowed.
Instead, I want to write about a topic I’ve been meaning to get to for a few weeks, which is the unusual multiplicity of the Broncos defense this year. Two passages from the aforementioned Benoit article get to this topic. Here is the first one that jumped out at me:
Laudable as Denver’s offense has been, it’s the defense that has this team looking like Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. It’s almost fruitless trying to analyze this scheme, as John Fox and Jack Del Rio have sprinkled it with so many different flavors.
The Broncos are really doing a bunch of stuff on defense this year. They’re switching their fronts, and subtly adjusting their alignments, and mixing up their coverages, and varying their blitzes. It’s to the point that offenses can’t really get a good read on what the Broncos are doing defensively, because they’re doing a bit of everything.
Brandon Stokley knows it's good to be Peyton Manning's friend
Manning promised Stokley tickets to the Duke-North Carolina basketball game if Stokley would come to Durham, N.C., to play catch. Stokley, after promising Lana they would reschedule the anniversary trip, accepted, even if he didn’t feel like he had much to offer…
“I never thought I would be part of the deal. I really didn’t. I never asked him for that,” Stokley said.
“That’s not why I wanted him to come here, so that I could come back. I wanted him to come here because I love watching him play, and I wanted my son to go to games and watch Peyton Manning play. I tried to sell him on the organization and the city, let him know it’s a great place to play football and raise a family.”
Anyone think Lana Stokley would take a trip to New Orleans for their 11th anniversary as a makeup for their postponed 10-year celebration?