Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Ten wins doesn't sound like that much. Broncos fans are rather accustomed to their team reaching that plateau, as they've now done so 18 times since 1977, the year of Denver's first SB team.
But since the last double-digit campaign of 2005, there had been five seasons of mediocrity, and one of pure ineptitude.
This time, it's only taken 13 games to reach that mark.
After a 2-3 start.
As expected, the Broncos (10-3) dispatched the host Raiders (3-10) with relative ease last night in a 26-13 road win (Game Book, ANS box score) that places them one half-game ahead of New England and Baltimore, and alone as the AFC's #2 seed, pending those team's Week 14 games.
Raise your hand if you thought the Broncos were in danger with a halftime lead of only six points.
That's exactly two hands, including John Madden's.
I guess pirates just aren't that frightening anymore--if they ever were in Oakland.
Either that, or this Broncos team is that good. Even when they play sloppy and sluggish in the red zone, they adjust. A one-score game quickly turnes into a three-score game.
By the fourth quarter, the Broncos' opponents might as well put on their pirate shirts.
As least then, the attire would keep it interesting.
Denver's inactives are RG Chris Kuper, LB Wesley Woodyard, CB Tracy Porter, TE Julius Thomas, FB Jacob Hester, DT Sealver Siliga, and QB Caleb Hanie. Manny Ramirez and D.J. Williams figure to start in place of Kuper and Woodyard, respectively, with C.J. Davis as Ramirez's backup.
Brandon Stokley, who had been a game-time decision, will dress - as will Andre Caldwell and Matthew Willis - so Denver will have five wideouts suited up, even while the punditry suggested the Broncos would focus on a run-heavy approach tonight. Tracy Porter, who did not appear on the week's injury report, is a healthy scratch.
Not dressing for Oakland are DE Jack Crawford, DT Richard Seymour, RB Jeremy Stewart, WR Derek Hagan, T Willie Smith, OL Lucas Nix, and RB/FB Jamize Olawale.
Division title? Check.
Home playoff game? Got that.
First-round bye? That's what remains for the Broncos as far as regular-season ambitions go. Home field throughout would be a nice bonus, but it's an outside possibility at this point, and of course, going undefeated within the AFCW would also be nice.
Denver can get another step closer to attaining those goals tonight at Oakland, with what would be their eighth consecutive win, on a short turnaround for both teams.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Wesley Woodyard was listed as doubtful on Denver's last injury report for the week, but he did not travel to Oakland, and will not play tonight.
Brandon Stokley, who was limited in practice yesterday, says he's getting better, but will test his ailing hip tonight and be a game-time decision.
For Oakland, PR/CB Phillip Adams was cleared after having suffered a concussion against Cleveland; if he's unable to go, struggling WR Denarius Moore would return punts in his stead.
Safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell had been cleared from their concussions a day earlier, and both are expected to play; Dennis Allen returned to the team yesterday morning and oversaw practice.
Meanwhile, the Raiders issued a scathing statement as a denial of Hub Arkush's report that they were talking with Jon Gruden about a return to coaching.
LB Wesley Woodyard is listed as doubtful for tomorrow's game at Oakland, and is likely to be replaced in the starting lineup by D.J. Williams. WR Brandon Stokley is questionable, while five other Broncos are probable.
Woodyard suffered an ankle sprain last week, which forced Williams and Danny Trevathan (21 snaps each) into increased action. The absence of Stokley resulted in more targets for Jacob Tamme, who caught a season-high nine passes against Tampa Bay.
Happy Wednesday, friends. Yesterday, a decent brouhaha erupted in my former stomping grounds of Cleveland, Ohio. It’s pretty widely assumed that, with the change in ownership, head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert will be let go at season’s end.
New owners like to do their own thing, and when Jimmy Haslam hired Joe Banner to be team president, he brought in a guy who is going to certainly change the structure of the organization.
Banner was very successful in Philadelphia as the guy who ran the business end of things, and who oversaw contracts, financial, and cap strategy. I would expect that will be his role in Cleveland as well, and I'm interested to see how he comes out on Shurmur and Heckert, both of whom he knew from Philadelphia. If the Philly rumor mill is to be believed, the organization wasn't all that sad to see Heckert leave for Cleveland when he did, and that would seem to match the color of the smoke that's now coming out of the chimney.
Tom Jackson, in addition to covering backs out of the backfield and making tackles, devoted his energy to unleashing disdainful broadsides in the direction of the Oakland bench, including coach John Madden. After recovering a fumble late in the game near the sideline, Jackson got up, waved the ball, and spotted Madden a few feet away. “It’s all over, fat man!” he yelled.
On the NBC broadcast, sage play-by-play man Curt Gowdy, the voice of American sports and ‘The American Sportsman,’ mused that Sunday “has to be the greatest day in the history of the Denver franchise.”
Up to that point, it was.
Most of you know where our name came from, and some have learned the story from our About page. This excerpt from Terry Frei's book is an excellent retelling of the leadup to the 1977 showdown in Oakland, and the stunning touchdown pass from holder Norris Weese to kicker Jim Turner.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Raiders Week has something of a different feel this time around, at least to us.
For one, the time between games is only half what it normally is - so there's hardly time to get frothed up about the classic rivalry. And of course, it's also softened by the Raiders not being a very good team.
But there's also the matter of feeling sympathy on multiple levels for Oakland's head coach.
Dennis Allen was Denver's DC for only a season, but the job he did in helping turn the Broncos defense around, his intelligence, and well-spokenness all combine to make us root for the man on some level, even if he's leading the Silver and Black.
Sadly, Dennis lost his 66-year-old father Grady this week, and for that, our thoughts go out to him and his family. Of course, John Fox and Champ Bailey offered the same on the part of the Broncos.
Holliday Gives Boost to Broncos
Since the Broncos signed wide receiver Trindon Holliday on Oct. 11, the 5-foot-5 return man has given the team exactly he was brought in for.
His contributions go well beyond his touchdown returns in back-to-back weeks against Cincinnati and Carolina. Dating back to Week 6, when he became a Bronco, Holliday leads the NFL with a 37.4 kick return average and ranks second in the NFL with a 13.0 punt return average.
When the Broncos acquired Holliday, they were 2-3. Since then, they are 7-0. With his 5-0 start as a Houston Texan before being let go, he is the only 12-0 player in the league.
Hey, remember when Josh McDaniels cut Brett Kern during a bye week? And remember when the Broncos were 6-0? And hey, do you remember when McDaniels replaced Kern with Mitch Berger (and fries)? Finally, remember at the time, I tried rationalizing and defending the move? Yeah, me too. After the Broncos tanked, the move became known as the Curse of Brett Kern.
Well, that curse can kiss its ass good bye. Trindon Holliday has restored the Broncos' karmic balance.
Now, about that Matt Prater voodoo doll...