It's elk season here in Colorado.
Today, the animals were safe, though. It was the Broncos who got gutted.
The Broncos knew the Patriots were going to run a no-hunddle offense. They'd seen it on film for four weeks.
The reality of playing against the no-huddle, though, was quite different.
The Patriots regularly snapped the ball with twenty-five seconds on the clock. That's not just a no-huddle offense. That's a video game. Sixty minutes later, the Broncos were gassed, John Fox was baffled, and the Broncos were wounded.
Like any wounded animal, the Broncos did put up a fight. But in the end, it's the Patriots who wore orange and came in for the kill.
When Peyton Manning joined the Broncos, this is the type of game fanatics had in mind.
The Broncos get an early lead.
They build on that lead running the ball.
Then, they let loose the angry hounds.
Who are the hounds?
The entire Broncos defense, which allowed the Raiders only one third-down conversion all game long.
And now Carson Palmer needs a rabies shot.
Reggie Bush just tweeted it best:
These refs gotta go I'm sorry
The Packers and Seahawks battled for several hours tonight only to watch the scab officials make two different calls on the last play of the game, which was a Hail Mary that was clearly intercepted by Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings. Unfortunately for the Packers, the scabs decided to give the reception (and the touchdown) to Golden Tate of the Seahawks. Worse, the call stood after the review (which never should have been reviewed to begin with, we should note). In short, the Packers got screwed.
Hey, at least it wasn't the Broncos that got jobbed.
I'd wager that this sort of thing might bring Roger Goodell to the negotiating table, but that would require the lapdog to quickly place a call to his masters, Kraft and Jones. Jones is too busy taking care of his gay cowboy situation.
The highlight of today's game came at halftime when the Broncos put Rod Smith into their Ring of Fame.
The rest of the Broncos were in the locker room. Otherwise, they would have been down twenty to start the third quarter.
Peyton Manning didn't throw three interceptions today, but he still needed to rally late for the Broncos to have any sort of chance.
This week, the defense put themselves in a hole, as Matt Schaub and the Texans took both a sledgehammer and a surgeon's scalpel to the Denver defense. Dropped passes on offense, mental errors (45 yards in personal fouls on one drive alone), and J.J. Watt took care of the rest.
The game was a lot less exciting than the final score (and the Broncos) would admit. The truth is this team is still in transition, still adjusting to themselves, and still trying to figure out their basic philosophy. Are they a no-huddle team? Are they a blitzing team?
Check back in a few weeks and we'll have a better idea. Perhaps the Broncos can play well on both sides of the ball for once. Thankfully, the AFC West will still be there for the taking.
Peyton Manning said the Broncos are a work in progress.
Perhaps we should have believed him.
In Week 1, we all caught a case of Coltsahanta Virus--the feeling of invicibility that results from having Peyton Manning under center. Unfortunately, it's a virus that hasn't been communicable since 2009.
It would be easy to blame this loss on a group of replacement referees that blew call after call after call--they actually referred to the Falcons as "red" at one point during a penalty. The faster the league replaces the replacements, the better.
Yet, this loss is mostly Manning's piece of work. You can't spin the loss any other way. Despite a flurry of activity late in the fourth quarter, Manning floated several passes, turned the ball over three times in the first quarter, and often checked into poor audibles.
Get back to work, Peyton. I believe you now.
Two roads diverged in a wood.
I took the one Tracy Porter traveled by.
And that made things completely awesome.
There was this other guy named Peyton Manning, of course.
He got his 400th (and 401st) career touchdown pass as a Denver Bronco. He also took a no-huddle chainsaw to the forest of Steelers defenders and cut his own path.
The deafening sound you heard wasn't the chainsaw, though. It was the sound of 76,823 maniacs screaming their team to victory.
We can move on to more important things--like destroying the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Before we do, though, let's take some time (just a little) to comment on tonight's game.
Thirty thoughts. No categories. Let's get freaky dirty.
The Broncos won't win all their games this year.
But they'll be in every game.
This afternoon, the Broncos showed their starters can dominate anyone. The 49ers--already crowned the kings of the NFC by the national media, as they kiss the ring of Jim Harbaugh--could barely move the ball against the Broncos' first-string defense. And Peyton Manning and Co.? They only shredded the 49ers starters like they were straight out of the Oakland Raiders' prison league.
It's the depth that scares the hell out of me.
The Broncos are only deep at a few positions. Unfortunately, I can't remember what they are right now. Let's just hope the the starters can make it through sixteen games and go about our business for now.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It was a great first half, it was a second half I can't remember.
Week 2 of the preseason is officially in the can. And what have we learned?
Depth could be an issue with the Broncos in 2012. Injuries have already taken their toll.
It seems it's the scoreboard's turn now.
They came. They saw. They didn't get injured.
There was also a little thing called Peyton Manning's return to football. Other than that, it was just another preseason game.
Excitement reigns in Broncos Country. The Broncos just destroyed the Chicago Bears in every aspect of the game; their rusty Hall of Fame quarterback is only going to get better; their defense already looks to be a huge upgrade.
Yet, preseason is preseason for good reason. It means little more than an opportunity for Xavier Omon to heat up message boards all across the nation--for at least a week.
Cautiously? More so.