Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last week, the Broncos wore out a college play and rode it to a divisional road win. Yesterday, they employed the high school strategy of running the ball 87% of the time in a road division game, and it worked - Denver won at Arrowhead 17-10 (box score). What will they do on Thursday night when the Jets come to town? Punt on third down? Who cares, right? After all, the Broncos are just a game below .500 now and that same margin behind the first-place Raiders (5-4), tied with the Chargers and Chiefs at 4-5.
In case it wasn't abundantly clear after Tim Tebow did not attempt a single pass during the fourth quarter in Oakland with the game on the line, yesterday absolutely confirmed that John Fox and Mike McCoy do not trust their young QB to throw the ball. It was a record-setting day in that regard: in 51.5 seasons of Broncos football, the team had never attempted fewer than 11 passes in a game; yesterday Tebow threw eight passes and completed two of them. This marked just the third time Denver had as few as two pass completions in a game; the first two instances were in 1966 and 1967, both blowout losses. Denver's 55 rushing attempts were their most since twice topping that figure in 1978.
If today's game were a movie script, I'd pitch it as Nine Men In The Box meets Three Tight Ends and a Little Tebow.
The Broncos wrote a
high low-concept treatment that included great field position, a run-stuffing defense, and a whole lot of ground game.
The theme of today's flick? When the other team can't stop you from running, why stop running?
The Broncos attempted four pass plays in the first half, but were up 10-0.
That's one hell of a first act. For their second and third, they gave more of the same. On the day, the Broncos completed just two passes.
Is this John Fox football? Mike McCoy madness? Tim Tebow intangibles?
Whatever it is, it's enough to keep the Broncos one game out of first place. And the game is over so fast, you've still got time to run Sunday errands.
Let's get to The Postives, The Negatives, and The Who The Heck Knows.
Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos! Inactive for Denver today are LB Wesley Woodyard, CB Cassius Vaughn, S Rafael Bush, FB Quinn Johnson, G Manny Ramirez, T Tony Hills, and DE Derrick Harvey. Obviously, the absence of Woodyard could loom large, and hopefully the emergence of Chris Harris will help make up for the loss of Vaughn. Inactive for KC are QB Ricky Stanzi, LB Demorrio Williams, T Steve Maneri, WR Jerheme Urban, TE Anthony Becht, DL Brandon Bair, and DL Jerrell Powe. Here are the rest of the day's inactives.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Dave Krieger stresses in his column today, one of the keys to the potential success of the zone read is that defenses are not used to facing it. Krieger reminds us that teams like Miami, Tennessee and Atlanta have gone to the Wildcat or a version of the option in recent years to compensate for a less-than-stellar passing game. As usual, the key today will be whether Tim Tebow can keep the Chiefs defense honest with his arm, and if he can exploit enough of the single-coverage matchups he's sure to see. If so, Tebow will have his third road victory of the season, he'll be above .500 as an NFL starter, and the Broncos will be just a game out of first place in the AFC West. We'll see what happens...
I can save you three hours this morning.
The Broncos will win 15-14. That's a 52.07% chance.
That's what the probabilities say. What does everyone else say?
Hit the jump and find out.
Enjoy the game today, everyone.
A wise man once said, "Certain things have come to light, man."
He could have been talking about defending the zone read.
As I scouted the Kansas City Chiefs this week, I could have focused on the Chiefs' running game or Matt Cassel's limited ability to stretch the field. Instead, it made more sense to continue to make fun of the Oakland Raiders. That's because the Raiders' stupidity is as instructive as any scouting report. This is especially true when considering the zone read. Let's face it. The Chiefs are going to see a ton of it tomorrow.
The Broncos--if we believe Jeff Legwold--ran some version of the zone read 17 times against the Raiders. Football coaches are creatures of habit: they go with what works. So unless the Broncos suddenly decide they want to unleash Tim Tebow's pocket awareness, it's likely they are going to pull the same stunts they did against the Raiders.
Will it work against the Chiefs? Well, dude, we just don't know.
Until we find out, though, let's take a quick look at how they might defend it.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pat Kirwan, Mike Lombardi, Mike Silver, Clark Judge, and Peter King preview the week's games: Kirwan wonders if Tebow could run for 100 yards on a frequent basis, Judge is picking the Broncos, and Silver thinks Penn State acted just like the Catholic Church in trying to first protect itself rather than do the right thing. Lombardi thinks the Chargers are suffering from a lack of talent at this juncture. Plus, Judge thinks it's ridiculous that the league scheduled three games for San Diego in 11 days, and it's hard to dispute that.
Happy Friday, friends. Today we Digest the Kansas City Chiefs, who’ve had a really weird season. They lost key players in Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles early on, and they lost their first three games huge, being outscored by a total of 109-27 in those games. They then went on to win four in a row, beating Minnesota and San Diego at home, and Indianapolis and Oakland on the road. Just when it seemed that they’d figured out how to play good undermanned football, they got crushed 31-3 at home by the Dolphins last Sunday. As TJ would say in Gut Reactions, who the heck knows?
Today, we’re going to try to figure out what the Chiefs really are, and what we can expect to see on Sunday afternoon. Really, what do you call a team that’s been blown out three times, blown out the first-place Raiders once (when they caught them on a Kyle Boller/rusty Carson Palmer day), and gone 3-1 in games decided by less than five points? That’s what we’re going to try to figure out today.
Welcome to the Week 10 Edition of The Stats That Don't Lie. Let's be blunt, here. This is one of those games that nobody outside of Broncos and Chiefs fans want to watch (Gators?). Denver and Kansas City rank 30th and 31st according to Brian Burke's efficiency numbers, respectively, ahead of only the winless Colts.
I'd like to make a point about these metrics (and any stats) - the goal here isn't to predict what's going to happen in any given game (win/lose/magnitude), because no set of numbers can do that - rather, it's just some commentary on what's likely to happen based upon past performance. These numbers are a guide to show you how efficient teams are in the various phases of the game, and of course a team can break out of a pattern of ineptitude or suddenly fail in a phase they've thrived in at any moment. Just because the Broncos don't fare well in turnover differential overall doesn't mean they can't win that battle on any given Sunday (like last week).
Happy Veterans Day, Broncos fans, and our sincerest thanks to all those who have served! Carson Palmer apparently shook off some more rust this week, as he looked quite sharp last night in leading the Raiders to a 24-17 victory over the Chargers last night. Palmer threw for 299 yards and two scores, while Michael Bush had a ridiculous 242 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. As far as the Broncos' playoffs chances go, this was probably the best outcome since they've already split with Oakland and would have to have an outright better record than San Diego should they again lose to them (meaning, season sweep and first tiebreaker lost).
Doug Farrar reminds us that Palmer made a bunch of great throws on Sunday too, so this wasn't exactly like the phoenix rising from the ashes or anything. Ryan Wilson says the game was a bit of vindication for Hue Jackson, as Palmer looked almost worthy of the crazy trade Oakland made to acquire him, if only for one night at this point. Eli Kaberon says Palmer did a lot to silence critics like himself. Christmas Ape found last night to be a wonderful three hours for Philip Rivers haters, and of course some dude got stabbed outside the stadium during the game.