Open Thread: TNF Week 15 - Bengals @ Eagles

Bucky Brooks, Nathan Jahnke, and Brian McIntyre break down the matchup; Benjamin Hoffman is picking the Bengals. Enjoy the game!

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Check this epic hit piece on the Ginger Hammer and his NFL

Absolute Power

Further, Tagliabue emphasized that Goodell had done the right things the wrong way and that, as an investigator, Goodell pretty much makes Torquemada look like the chairman of your local ACLU. By vacating the suspensions levied by Goodell, Tagliabue may have defused a number of the inevitable lawsuits, and created a kind of détente with the NFL Players Association. (The NFLPA might well have settled for any finding that just made Goodell look ridiculous, which Tagliabue certainly did.) It is devoutly to be hoped that Vilma, whose lawyer may never stop crowing from the rooftops, goes ahead with his defamation suit against Goodell, because the discovery process alone in that one would be surreal.

You have to love Charlie Pierce, especially if you're a fellow liberal asshole from New England like I am.  He uses his standard big/obscure words (like mountebank!) and employs his trademark rational thought.  Like the best liberals, he doesn't automatically reach the predictable ideological point that the players are "martyrs for union solidarity and the rights of due process."  They're no such thing, of course, and they pretty clearly behaved in a discreditable manner.  The NFL (and Brother Ginger) were far worse, though.

Read the article, and give it a thought.  It'll probably be the smartest thing you read all day.

Middle of Baltimore D is wide open

Injuries at inside linebacker impacting defense's options

The Ravens may have to meet the Denver Broncos Sunday without their top three inside linebackers in Ray Lewis (torn right triceps), Jameel McClain (neck stinger) and Dannell Ellerbe (right ankle, left foot, both thumbs). That would leave the defense with just three healthy inside linebackers in Josh Bynes, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Albert McClellan.

Ayanbadejo, Bynes and McClellan have carved out a niche through their play on special teams, but are not being asked to absorb the assignments that Lewis, McClain and Ellerbe would normally run on defense.

Lewis and Ellerbe were apparently limited practice participants today, but at less than optimal health, they may provide better play than did their three backups (Bynes -2.3, Ayanbadejo -3.1, McClellan -1.6) last week, according to PFF. McClain, who has already been ruled out, was a brutal -5.8, and the four inside backers combined for four missed tackles in the loss to Washington. Should dovetail nicely with the strengths of Denver's offense.

A Second Helping of Demaryius Thomas gaining 19 yards against Oakland

Today, I want to briefly look at a play from the Raiders game that went for good yardage, and talk about why it worked.  I'm going to try to start doing this at least every week to stimulate thought and discussion.

The situation in last Thursday's game that we're covering is a 1st-and-10 from the Denver 36, right after the Broncos have received a third-quarter punt.  The score is 23-7:

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Roger Goodell: tone deafness exemplified Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been quite a week in the hubris-filled, awareness-free alternate reality occupied by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Paul Tagliabue's smackdown of the Ginger Hammer's disastrous handling of the NFL PR department-crafted Saints bounty scandal showed how a quality commissioner should perform his job, and called into serious question whether Goodell deserves to keep his.

At least Tagliabue did Rog the favor of providing closure for the scandal and maintaining the power of the commissioner's office, even if it came with a sharp rebuke of Goodell's methods.

Were Goodell a reasonable person, this would have been a humbling, chastening experience - one prompting self-reflection and a reconsideration of one's tactics.

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Joe Flacco isn’t elite with regard to facts either

Champ Bailey, 'one of the greatest,' has Ravens' respect

“They’ve always been an aggressive defense that can get up and stop the run and has some good pass coverage on the outside and secondary and has the outside guys that can rush,” the fifth-year quarterback said. “Obviously, I don’t think we’ve played against Von and he adds another element to those guys being able to head to the passer and have a guy on each side and also be a very good player in the run. You guys are a good defense. They can do all those things—stop the run, get to the passer, cover the pass well—so it will be a good challenge for us.”

It's nice that Joe Flacco respects his elders, and he's right about Von Miller, but we're not sure what universe he's living in--one in which the Broncos have always gotten up and stopped the run.   In fact, here's where the Broncos have ranked in yards per carry on defense since 2005 (Flacco came into the league in 2008):

  • 2005 - 15th
  • 2006 - 14th
  • 2007 - 31st
  • 2008 - 30th
  • 2009 - 27th
  • 2010 - 29th
  • 2011 - 13th

If by "great" Flacco means completely "average" or even "ugly," well then, he's right on the money.   Lucky for the Broncos, this year is turning out to be quite different.

Every Denver Bronco who’s worn the number 12, because 12-12-12

We happen to hate things like this, but today's quirky date has inspired us to look back at the history of the Broncos and the number 12.

Besides, the world is coming to an end in nine days anyway, so there isn't much time for people to call us the Broncos fan's version of Bleacher Report (and isn't that title already taken, anyway?).

So without further ado, here goes - our first, and presumably last - countdown column.

Here are the eleven different players to have worn #12 for the Broncos in the regular season, ranked in ascending order of Career AV (couldn't make this a completely brainless exercise):

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Ravens offense mired in nine-week slump

Five Ravens stats that stand out from Week 15

Launched by the powerful right arm of Flacco, the Ravens rocketed off to their best offensive start through four games in team history. The Ravens averaged 344.4 net passing yards in those games. But since then, they have averaged 187.2 net passing yards per game. The statistical decline is not just limited to the passing attack, though. They have averaged 23.3 points after averaging 30.3 in the first four weeks and averaged 309 net yards of offense after averaging 424 in their first four games. Now, even with that great start, the Ravens rank 18th in total offense and 16th in passing offense.

Since Week 5, Baltimore's Net Yards per Attempt has been a woeful 5.39, which is 21st in the NFL during that span. They're also 21st in yards per rush since then, which helps explain why Cam Cameron lost his job the other day.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have allowed the fifth-lowest Net Yards per Attempt in the league this season, and are tied for the second-lowest yards per rushing attempt allowed. The Ravens needed to make a change at OC, but this doesn't appear the week their offense gets going again.

Braylon Edwards shows you can call your old boss an idiot and still have him rehire you Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway called it "one of the best throws I've ever seen," which is heady praise from one of the best throwers of the football in history. The recipient of the pass, Demaryius Thomas, is still marveling at it, more than a week later, and having already played another game in the interim, but he does so with good reason.

We're talking about the first of Peyton Manning's two third-quarter TD passes to Thomas against Tampa Bay, and we've been meaning to show how ridiculous a play it was. Not much needs to be said, aside from pointing out that while Demaryius is just two strides into the end zone, the ball is already coming out of Peyton's hand:

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Knowshon Moreno is a hero

AFC grades: It's the Pats, then everybody else

The Broncos had an unlikely hero in their 26-13 win Thursday night in Oakland: Running back Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 119 yards on a career-high 32 carries. On a short week, Denver proved it could close out a game on the ground, something that was in question after losing starting running back Willis McGahee last month.

Having never read the words "hero" and "Knowshon Moreno" in the same sentence, I thought I'd pass this along.

The winds of fortune can change quickly.  One day you're supposed to be the next Herschel Walker.  Then you're running with the scout team.  A month later, you're back on the field playing as well as you ever have.

Regardless of your view on Moreno and his future with the Broncos, right now, it's okay to be excited to see the kid get another shot and to hope he makes the most of it.

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