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.
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.
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.
Enjoy the games everyone, and Go Broncos!!!
Andre’ Goodman, Knowshon Moreno, Eric Olsen, Ryan Harris, Chris Clark, Richard Quinn and Eric Decker are inactive for today, while Tim Tebow is listed as the Broncos’ emergency QB.
Colts Inactives: WR Gonzalez, DB Sanders, King, LB Session, OL McClendon, Johnson, WR Garcon, DT Mathews
Here’s a number you’ve probably not heard mentioned leading up to today’s game against the Colts: 158.
That’s the number of times the Colts targeted tight end Dallas Clark in 2009.
To put that number in perspective, you’ll recall that the Broncos were often criticized last year for throwing to Brandon Marshall almost exclusively—154 times. Although Peyton Manning attempted 30 more passes than Kyle Orton last year, the number of passes thrown in the direction of Dallas Clark was immense.
Manning and Clark have already decided to attend the afterglow party as well in 2010. Clark has been targeted 20 times in 2 games, putting him on pace for a similar number of targets as last year.
If you haven’t heard, Peyton Manning likes Dallas Clark. He likes him quite a lot.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! I hope you’re all doing well and if you’re going to the game, you’ve gotta make just a bit more noise today when Peyton Manning has the ball. Bring some lozenges along if you need ‘em, because the Broncos need you. Denver will be without Ryan Harris and Knowshon Moreno, while the Colts will be missing starters WR Pierre Garcon, WR Anthony Gonzalez, S Bob Sanders and LB Clint Session, and backups DB Brandon King and LB Ramon Humber. Champ Bailey is being called a game-time decision but is expected to play.
This week I continue my quest to answer the one question that has eluded mankind for decades (or a least two weeks):
Are the NFL Experts smarter than a random number generator (RNG)?
To make things even more lively , I included my cat, Jesus Quintana, in on the picks, along with Doug Lee and myself (Doc Bear is too smart for this). The RNG is simply armed with the notion that, 57% of the time, the home team is a winner in the NFL. Quintana picks between two quarters as I drop them to the floor. Doug Lee uses his sharp mind.
I use Kahlua and a proprietary mathematical formula. If that doesn’t work, I just imagine what team Doc Bear would pick.
So how has the experiment gone after two weeks?
This year, the Broncos found themselves in an odd and difficult situation: they were unable to retain Brandon Stokley’s services. They found themselves with that most rare of cases by having not merely a sufficiency of talent at the wide receiver position, but an excess of riches. While cocaine may be God’s way of telling you that you’re making too much money, having to let go a player who was your best bet on third downs the year before - an area where Denver only managed to convert about 1/3 of their opportunities - is a far more mundane way of telling you two facts. The first is this - sooner or later, every player will fight the opponent who has yet to lose - Time. There was, of course, a second reason.
Good Morning, Broncos fans. As everyone knows by now, Knowshon Moreno will not play Sunday after injuring a hamstring in practice Thursday. Ryan Harris is out again, while Chris Kuper, Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman and Wesley Woodyard are listed as questionable. Laurence Maroney and Darcel McBath are listed as probable, and both can expect to see significant action tomorrow. Meanwhile, Perrish Cox and Eric Decker were fined by the league; Cox for an ill-conceived throat-slash gesture after his INT, Decker for a late hit on special teams.