No Von Miller? No Champ Bailey?
No big deal.
We’ve been telling readers for weeks now that as Peyton Manning goes, so do the Broncos. We gesticulated the notion that with Wes Welker, the Broncos were going to score more, not fewer points. What we didn’t tell you was that Peyton Manning would be on pace for 112 touchdowns.
Okay, I’m getting a little carried away now, but you get the drift. Bring me a team that puts up 30 points a week, and we can have a discussion about the Broncos losing a game. Otherwise, John Fox is keeping his foot on the gas this time.
Following a lightning delay and a rusty first quarter, the Broncos eventually kicked off the 2013 NFL season Thursday night with a bang, as Peyton Manning threw SEVEN (!!!!!!!) touchdown passes in a cathartic 49-27 win over the visiting Ravens (Box Score, Gamebook).
After the teams exchanged punts, the Ravens drove 80 yards in 10 plays to open the scoring with a two-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Vonta Leach, the fullback who had been cut and re-signed over the offseason.
In an effort to strengthen our game coverage this season, we're experimenting with the concept of liveblogging tonight's final preseason game. If it goes well, and/or if it sucks tonight and we think we can improve on it next time, we'll look at doing so each week during the season.
Ted will be the primary commentator, but if another IAOFM guy thinks of something brilliant in-game, and it can't wait for Gut Reactions or Doug's postgame summary, we may give it to you in the moment, with proper attribution. Your feedback in the comments section is appreciated.
Following yet another coverage debacle by Denver's special teams - an 81-yard punt return by Tavon Austin - St. Louis opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Jared Cook.
Peyton Manning & Co. responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive, capped off by a six-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas (video) on fourth down (!). Yes, Denver went for it on fourth down near the goal line for the third straight week. It's only preseason, but perhaps John Fox is finally comfortable with having one of the GOATS at QB? We can only hope.
Not much went right for the Broncos on Saturday night in Seattle, as their own poor play (four turnovers, nine penalties), a better performance by the Seahawks, and some spotty work from the officiating crew culminated in a 40-10 blowout loss.
To make matters worse, Derek Wolfe suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit early on, was immobilized, and taken from the field via ambulance, with what was diagnosed as a cervical spine injury. Thankfully, the second-year lineman reportedly has movement in all of his extremities and no broken bones, and he will fly with the team back to Denver.
Wes Welker (ankle sprain), Champ Bailey (foot), Stewart Bradley (wrist), and Louis Vasquez (knee) also left the game with injuries.
The Broncos opened the 2013 preseason with a 10-6 win in San Francisco, aided by a sloppy Niners offense that turned the ball over four times.
Denver scored on a fumble forced by Nate Irving and returned nine yards by Shaun Phillips, plus a 46-yard field goal by Matt Prater.
San Francisco's points came via two thirtysomething-yard field goals by Phil Dawson.