Huge Decision of the Week: Broncos-Colts, Week 3

Note: Each Wednesday,  we take a look at a critical coaching decision from the prior week’s game that had an impact on the final score—from a statistical point.

Most coaches play it safe.  Too safe.  They’d rather make a decision that likely won’t be criticized versus making a decision that has even the slightest potential for criticism from media, fans, and bloggers who still listen to Whitesnake and write from their parents’ basement.

Josh McDaniels does not—nor will he ever—play it safe.  A graduate of the Belichick School of Take-This-And-Shove-It, he’s never met a 4th-and-short that he wouldn’t spit on.

I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Last week against the Colts, McDaniels once again provided us with ample opportunities to second guess his decisions.  And once again he provided us with a textbook example of why going for it on 4th down, deep in your opponent’s territory, is usually the right move. 

In order to analyze McDaniels’ decision, as always, we’ll split wide our two diva receivers, probability and Expected Points Value (EPV).  So let’s get right to it.

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The Daily Lard 9-29-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There isn’t anything important for me to share with you in terms of injuries (surely that news will come later today), so I’d like to address some website-related stuff. We are now in our third week here at IAOFM, and frankly we’re having a lot of fun with it so far. TJ, Em and I are all quite grateful for your readership; it’s been a joy to reconnect with so many old friends, and to make new ones. Thank you for being here, and please tell your fellow Broncos fans about us if you haven’t already. Please follow us on Twitter @IAOFM and Facebook, and if your friends are on those networks, we’d appreciate if you’d share the info with them. Since we’re a brand new site working without the power of a larger network, we are relying upon you, our most loyal readers, to help spread the word on us. We also appreciate all of the great feedback you’ve already given us - your encouragement and your suggestions on how we can improve are equally meaningful. We will only get better with time, and we’re working on sprucing up the look of the site. Thanks again for being here!

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Thoughts on a Broncos loss

I’m sort of an instant football analyst, which has its pros and cons.  Often, I’m way ahead of other observers in noticing things, and pointing them out, which is a pro.  Sometimes, I see JaMarcus Russell look really good in a preseason game, and it leads me to opine that he’s turning the corner as an NFL QB, which can end up being a con.  For me, it works out more often than not, because I’m a very sophisticated observer of the game, and because I’m always accountable for thoughts that turn out to be wrong.  Not to be immodest, but I know vastly more football than the average person, so I don’t mind admitting a mistake when I was almost always the first to the party saying anything.

A lot of average persons, and no doubt, some below average ones, have been providing some “instant analysis” on Twitter about yesterday’s Colts-Broncos game.  I was going to take a screenshot of some of the foolishness, but I decided that I didn’t want to put anybody specific’s name on the lines of thinking that I am about to completely eviscerate.

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The Stats That Don’t Lie - On a restricted diet

Since I’ve received several requests to revive my Stats That Don’t Lie (STDL) column from my Mile High Report days, I’ve had two thoughts:

1) I wouldn’t be The Dude if I did not abide
2) I would not abide if I wasn’t The Dude

So, I’m gonna do this.  Or as one of the finest poets of his generation, Dee Synder so elegantly wrote, “I Wanna Rock!”

So let the stats flow—quicker, stronger, on HGH, and without an athletic supporter.

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Thomas okay, Knowshon not okay Lard 9-28-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In great news, Demaryius Thomas ending up not needing an X-ray on his arm, as the pain subsided after that final offensive play Sunday. For what it’s worth, Josh McDaniels said Knowshon Moreno’s hamstring injury is less severe than the one that kept him out of the preseason. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler and the Bears are now 3-0 and Peyton Hillis is the next Jim Brown. If these sort of things rile you up, please look at the big picture! The Broncos are headed in the right direction!

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Regurgitated Trivia Trough

Hey everyone - Friday’s installment of the Trivia Trough hasn’t gotten nearly as many bites as the first two, so I thought I’d serve it up again just for kicks…

Click here for Sporcle quiz:
Can you name the Broncos’ Yearly Sack Leaders?

A Second Helping of…Brian Dawkins & Mario Haggan

Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way in the previous day’s game.  This week we’re getting a second plate of Brian Dawkins and Mario Haggan.

The Broncos knew if they had any chance to win yesterday’s game, they needed to limit Dallas Clark’s opportunities.  In their previous meeting, Clark had chewed up Denver’s nickel coverage and linebacker Wesley Woodyard for two touchdowns.  And with Pierre Garcon out of the lineup, they figured Clark would be as popular as ever. 

Would the Broncos play man coverage on Clark?  Would they put Champ Bailey on him?  Would they risk another linebacker fiasco like they had in the previous meeting?

The answer wasn’t long in coming.  On the third play from scrimmage, Dallas Clark found himself looking across from Mario Haggan, who was lined up to his outside shoulder.  I’m quite sure he was licking his chops.  He’d run a quick inside slant route and make quick work of a slower linebacker—as he always did.  Separating from linebackers was his specialty.

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Broncos fall to Colts once more Lard 9-27-10

Updated 10AM ET

Good Morning, Broncos fans. This may ring hollow to some, but it was not déjà vu all over again, as the Broncos lost to the Colts 27-13 at the Big IF. While the big stories, rightfully so, were turnovers (two big early ones which led to 10 points for Indy) and red-zone disasters (0-5, no joke), there are some overarching positives to take away from the game. Not moral victories - I’m not suggesting the players be proud of their performance - but rather things for us fans to be excited about. Kyle Orton and the passing offense are still progressing; the deep pass which was missing last year is here in bunches (Orton is tied with Phil Rivers for first in the NFL with 18 passes of 20+ yards), and the protection was exceptional yesterday (only 1 sack on 58 passing plays). Their defense kept Denver within reach for much of the game despite those huge turnovers, and held the Colts to just 40 rushing yards on 22 attempts.

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Gut Reactions - Week 3, Broncos-Colts

Turnovers are hard to overcome. 

Red Zone sterility doesn’t make it any easier.

Against Peyton Manning and the Colts, both are an RSVP to your own implosion.

Today the story will be how Peyton Manning defeated the Broncos—again. 

But the true story is that on a day in which the Broncos defense finally mastered the Colts, their offense and special teams let them down. Whether it be through an interception, a lack of push on 3rd-and-short, or a fumbled punt, turnovers and lack of red-zone execution were the seeds of destruction.

Denver had a great game plan today.  From doubling Dallas Clark at the line of scrimmage to some great pass calls out of running formations, this was a game they could have easily won, despite the final score.  Unfortunately, a great game plan, no matter how great it is, just can’t overcome turnovers and horrendous execution in the red zone. 

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Week 3 Open Thread

Enjoy the games everyone, and Go Broncos!!!

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