Sometimes, that's all that it comes down to. Kyle Orton had an incredible day - unfortunately, it was on this past Friday and it was practice. Today, he missed open receivers, 7 off them in the first half, and with a few better throws, the game never should have come down to the 4th quarter. It did, though, and Orton missed on only two passes in the 4th quarter and threw 2 TDs. Each week, it seems that it's the 3rd and 4th quarters when the Broncos are really tough to stop and today was one more in that pattern. Following their usual pattern, there came the adjustments as the game went on that Josh McDaniels has been know for since his first coaching job. Mike Nolan did everything he had to do on defense, too. In the end, it was the kind of all-team effort that is beginning to mark the kind of Broncos squad that has well earned its 4-0 record.
Welcome to 3-0, Denver! The team that destroyed the raiders on the road will still not get as much respect until they beat a few of the teams in the upcoming stretch. I'm not worried about that happening. We have had a series of things in our favor over the other squads that we've taken been able to use. Those advantages have involved personnel matchups, coaching matchups, scheme, attitude and execution. In today's effort, I'm going to start with the biggest among them.
"They booed Russell off the field when he was intercepted on the Raiders' second drive of the game, a play where Darrius Heyward-Bey slipped and fell on his route. They booed again on the Raiders' next drive, when Russell overthrew Heyward-Bey for another interception.
They booed every time after that when Russell took the field or threw an incomplete pass. It got so bad, left tackle Mario Henderson at one point clapped for Russell and patted his helmet while the crowd chanted, "JaMarcus sucks."
What did Russell say of it all? That both interceptions should have been ruled defensive pass interference, and that other than that, "I think I did all right. ... I try to play with no regrets."
He completed two passes to a wide receiver, both on the same second-quarter drive to Louis Murphy. Eight passes were check down screens to the running backs, and two went to tight end Zach Miller."
It was boys against men.
There was a lot to digest, as I watched the game again tonight. There was the problem of scoring in the red zone, the fact that the 3-TE set that has worked so well wasn't in evidence near the goal line and that the defense looks like it's played together for years. But in the final analysis, that was really the thing that stood out to me. Boys against men. It wasn't just the inability of JaMarcus Russell to find a receiver. It wasn't even his lack of accuracy in the second half. It wasn't the lousy raiders running game, the one that looked so concerning at first, the way we ran up the gut so easily or the way that our D shut them down. You can (and a lot of us will) complain that the Broncos should have scored 35, but even so - this wasn't really a game. It was more of a schoolyard whipping, a beatdown, an hour-long embarrassment that apparently left the Raiders' faithful - both of the ones who are left - complaining about the referees' calls. They didn't have anything else to do. They couldn't keep saying the same things over again. Their outcries were at first furious, then plaintive, and finally just bored. By the time Kyle Orton took that final knee, there was nothing left to say. The Broncos had dominated this game in nearly every possible phase.
When it comes to making strange draft choices, Al Davis is perhaps the league's headmaster. When it comes to personnel decisions, he's often seen as a head case. The decision to draft JaMarcus Russell as the #1 pick in the 2007 draft was, at best, fraught with peril. In retrospect, the decline of the decision was easy to spot and hard to support. But it's the way that Russell has personally taken responsibility for the trashing of his own career that is really worth a second look. JaMarcus Russell is the poster child for how to not be successful in the NFL. On that basis alone, it's worthwhile to tell his story.
Many Broncos fans noted that #30, David Bruton, was escorting Eddie Royal into the end zone on both TD run-backs against the SD Chargers. As most folks expected, Bruton has quickly made a name and a place for himself on the Denver Broncos special teams.
"Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men." Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 4 B.C.E.-65 C.E.
The Denver Broncos are off to as fast a start as anyone could have predicted. The new management has done a remarkable job in finding players that fit the scheme, looking for leadership qualities as well as playing skill and suitability, drafting the exact players they needed and instilling both scheme and attitude to win games right away. This weekend will bring about a contest that Broncos fans everywhere look forward to - going into the Black Hole to fight the Raiders in an old grudge match that's one of the great rivalries in the NFL. It's a great weekend for football!
Sunday's game was a coming out party of sorts for Elvis Dumervil. the 5'11", 248 lb outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos. "Doom" was an undersized defensive end for the past two seasons. While his production at that position was nothing to ignore, Dumervil wasn't able to fend off the tackles, shed the blocks and bring down the bball carrier in the running game. He was a sack master, but tended to be a one-trick pony. He has incredibly long arns, though, and Josh McDaniels and Mike Nolan decided to win the game by changing the rules. Doom was going to become an outside linebacker, dropping into coverage as needed, sealing the edge agsinst rushers and always, to his delight, getting a chance to chase down quarterbacks.
20 points to ponder...
1. They didn't do enough with the front 7
2. They've got too many running backs
3. Orton can't play this game
4. The offense will have to keep us in the games.
5. We can't score without Brandon Marshall
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -- Teddy Roosevelt at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
Those who watched Brian Dawkins exhorting the Denver Broncos on the sideline before the game got a brief glimpse into one of the best reasons that the Broncos defense on Sunday looked anything but similar to the group of lost travelers that inhabited Broncos uniforms during the last 5 games of 2008. Dawkins screamed, cajoled, entreated and demanded from them their own best efforts. He waved his arms, and slapped his hands against his own helmet in a berserker's rage. They would take the game into their own hands. Nothing else would do, no other outcome was acceptable and in his mind it was clear that he would never, ever, under any circumstances permit the team to give up. The irony of the day was rich. By never giving up, the rote formality of a second receiver following the play in case of a tipped ball was the difference between winning and losing. Sometimes, a refusal to surrender can create victory, regardless of circumstances.