30 points? Piece of cake Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The specialness of YOUR 2012 Denver Broncos is now far beyond Peyton Manning.

This has become a team that scores 30 points when it's hardly running on all cylinders, as it has shown for the past three weeks (and four of the past five). These Broncos score 30 and win easily - even when John Fox¹ and the referees² do their best to make things closer.

Denver won its fifth straight game, by a 30-23 score over visiting San Diego (GamebookANS box score), and now owns a commanding three-game lead in the AFCW over those same Chargers, plus the head-to-head tiebreaker in the extremely unlikely case of a tie at season's end.

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Gut Reaction: Week 11 - Broncos vs Chargers

The Broncos got the AFC West in a strangehold, baby.

You best get outta the way.

The Broncos took care of business. They handled the San Diego Chargers (don't let the final score fool you). They now own a three-game lead.  And finally, they've taken two straight from Norv's kids.

A.J. Smith's head may, in fact, now be two sizes smaller.

Now it's on to the rest of the AFC.

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Open Thread: Sunday Week 11

Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos!

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Phil Rivers, meet Chris Harris, Jr. Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As expected, the team officially added D.J. Williams to the 53-man roster yesterday, and he is expected to be among the 46 game-day actives against San Diego today.

Williams will earn a $950K salary for the rest of the season, plus a $100K escalator for each game during which he's active - a far cry from the pre-suspension $4.9M salary he had been due to make.

Meanwhile, fellow defenders Von Miller and Kevin Vickerson are trying to keep their salaries whole by appealing the fines levied upon them by the NFL for hits on Cam Newton last week. Miller says he was successful in appealing fines for hits on Mark Sanchez last year, while Vickerson is hoping for a reduction of his penalty.

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The Butkus Award and Matt Russell

For many years, Mike Ryoko was the best newspaper writer in Chicago. The City of the Big Shoulders lived and breathed in the artful, insightful prose that comprised Ryoko’s column. Much like Studs Terkel, Ryoko’s columns were about people - the famous, sometimes, sure.

He had a running battle going with corruption and political shenanigans, and Chicago never has had a shortage of either. But most of the columns were simply about working stiffs - the effect of things on the actual people who lived, worked, and paid their taxes to Chicago - those people that made the city possible.  If you ever want a great read, his Chicago Confidential is still around.

Ryoko liked to tap out his columns on a portable typewriter, surrounded by a haze of tobacco smoke and the sounds of men drinking in a bar/restaurant located beneath State Street. Called the Billy Goat Tavern, it was the origin of the Saturday Night Live skit ‘Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger’ and also of the infamous Curse of the Billy Goat that troubled the Chicago Cubs for generations.

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Who wins a battle between Ditka and a stroke? Ditka Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Elvis Dumervil made a limited return to practice Friday, and is listed as questionable for Sunday's matchup against San Diego.

Chris Kuper and Tracy Porter also practiced on a limited basis, but Kuper is doubtful, while Porter will miss his fifth straight game.

Dumervil would likely play in a limited role if at all, while D.J. Williams will probably see some action tomorrow, once he's expectedly added to the active roster later today.

For the Chargers, RB Ryan Mathews returned to practice yesterday and expects to play, while LT Jared Gaither is listed as doubtful and figures to be replaced again by rookie Mike Harris.

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A Second Helping of Denver’s recovery woes: Opponent fumbles

The Broncos have been recovering fumbles at a puzzlingly low rate in 2012.

Explanations for this issue have resembled a Randian debate. Either, the Broncos aren't trying hard enough to recover fumbles, and are being outworked by their opponents, or they're trying to do too much (ie. scoop and run instead of falling on the ball).

It's Denver's fault - because anything unfavorable that happens to them, they've put themselves in that position.

Alternatively, the ball just hasn't bounced Denver's way as much as would be expected, and them's the breaks.

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STDL: Ho hum, Broncos are still #1

Another week, another Broncos win. And of course, the advanced metrics still count Denver among the league's elite teams.

You didn't expect anything else, did you?

Denver remains atop Brian Burke's efficiency rankings for the fifth straight week, and are even creating some distance between themselves and the other top teams. Burke's figures again have the Broncos ranked first in offensive efficiency (first in passing, sixth in rushing) and second on defense (fifth against the pass, 11th versus the run).

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Von, Vick fined for iffy hits Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Elvis Dumervil missed practice for the second consecutive day due to the shoulder injury he suffered on Sunday.

But Elvis says he plans to practice today and play on Sunday, calling his shoulder strain much less severe than the one that delayed the start of his 2011 season.

The six sacks Dumervil has tallied against Philip Rivers are the most he's had against any quarterback.

Chris Kuper was limited in practice again, but Manny Ramirez is expected to again start in his place. FWIW, Manny graded out at +1.1 against Carolina - his third-best grade of the year, according to PFF.

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Fox making right decision on kickoffs, but for wrong reason

Jim Trotter posted a thought-provoking column today on kickoff deferrals:

Since the start of the 2010 season, flip-winning clubs that have opted to receive first are 185-209 (.470), versus 140-115 (.549) for those deferring.

"Six and a half-dozen," said Broncos coach John Fox. "You don't know how it's going to go."..."There are two principals that apply to coaching," Fox says. "One is, If it ain't broke don't fix it. Two is, Don't get caught up in the same old stuff."
Because the Broncos have scored touchdowns three of the last four games after receiving the second-half kickoff, look for Fox to stay with the same old stuff and not fix what ain't broke.

We've been heartened by John Fox's recent choices to defer possession until the second half kickoff in recent weeks, but it's just as disappointing to learn he's been doing so thanks to some sort of gut feeling.

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