Analysis of a touchdown

In the early minutes of the second quarter Sunday, the Broncos put on a drive that resulted in Tim Tebow’s first NFL touchdown. Appropriately, it was a rushing TD - making for the right corner, and making it easily thanks to two players who weren’t mentioned by the announcers. We love to have fun here at IAOFM, but some of that fun comes from finding the points, plays and players that didn’t get enough praise or recognition and making sure that problem is solved. That being the case, here’s a little bit of info on the Broncos’ first scoring drive.

The drive started in a more or less normal fashion. The Jets had scored first, and they kicked off to Denver. The kick went through the end zone, and it was Denver’s ball at their own 20.

The Plays:

1-10-DEN 20 (14:54) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass short right to J.Gaffney to DEN 36 for 16 yards (D.Revis). P3
Ironically, the color guy, who shall remain unnamed, complained on this play that the Jets were respecting the play action when, in his opinion, Denver didn’t have a running game. Actually, they did - several good runs came back on unrelated penalties, but Denver still managed 145 yards on the ground against the then-top-ranked run defense in the NFL. Actually, it looked like Jabar Gaffney sold the go route on that one and broke across the middle anyway, so the comment was specious.

1-10-DEN 36 (14:34) L.Maroney up the middle to DEN 37 for 1 yard (M.Devito).
Nothing to say there. Not a good push by the offensive line, either.

2-9-DEN 37 (13:57) K.Orton pass short middle to J.Gaffney to NYJ 47 for 16 yards (D.Revis). P4
Gaffney was a fly on Darrelle Revis’s back all day.

1-10-NYJ 47 (13:22) E.Royal left end to NYJ 34 for 13 yards (J.Leonhard). R5
It’s a joy to watch Eddie Royal on one of his rare runs. On this one, he left one defender grasping at air and eating turf, a perfect Mile High dinner.

1-10-NYJ 34 (12:41) (Shotgun) T.Tebow left tackle to NYJ 32 for 2 yards (B.Thomas).
Josh McDaniels made this work on Sunday. I have to give him credit - up until now, I haven’t seen it working well. To be honest, I’m still not sold, but I’m open to it.

2-8-NYJ 32 (12:05) K.Orton pass incomplete short right to B.Lloyd (A.Cromartie).
Give Antonio Cromartie credit - he really played well against Brandon Lloyd.

3-8-NYJ 32 (12:01) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass deep left to J.Gaffney to NYJ 5 for 27 yards (D.Revis). P6
Gaffney once more takes away Revis’ toys and kicks sand in his face. This time, Gaffney just reached out those long arms, brought it in right through Revis’ hands and contolled it as he landed on his back. What a catch!

1-5-NYJ 5 (11:18) (Shotgun) T.Tebow right end for 5 yards, TOUCHDOWN. R7
This is the play that everything else leads to. Tebow is in the gun. James Ihedigbo, 44 (It’s pronounced Ee-HEAD-i-bo (I looked the spelling of the name up twice) was the safety; the player who should have been responsible for bringing down Tebow as Ihedigbo launched forward from the S/OLB position, but a couple of factors didn’t work out for that. 

The first problem was a missile named Spencer Larsen. At the snap, the Arizona Arrow flew - parallel to the ground - right in front of Ihedigbo and into a second player, tripping up James somewhat and taking out the secondary target next to and behind him. Worse still, as Ihedigbo lunged forward, off balance but still possibly able to straighten and head off Tebow, a 305-lb. blue and (predominantly) orange whale named Russ Hochstein, number 61, pulled from his LG position, took off and also dove through the air. Worse still, Russ dove out and up, so that he landed in a modified belly flop, pounding Ihedigbo’s upper body and face directly into the turf before rolling over together with him. Tebow, at that point, had plenty of room to outrun the backups to the right, making it in easily near the front right pylon. Six points, and hopefully the first of many.

M.Prater extra point is GOOD, Center-L.Paxton, Holder-B.Colquitt.
What did you expect? It’s Prater.

What came next? An onside kick. Nate Jones gets credit for the recovery, but it was due to the Arizona Arrow, once more launching himself through the air parallel to the ground, and taking out #56, 242-lb LB Lance Laury that left the ball open for Jones, who had a better angle on it. Larsen took a few minutes to get his wind back, but in the space of seconds, he’d set up the touchdown and set up the recovery of the onside kick. There’s just something about that guy -  maybe it’s the fact that he never takes a play off or gives less than everything on any play. It could be…..

And Hochstein? Well, he probably does more good than ill, although he could work on that ratio. But there was something about watching him as if crashing through the waves: for that one moment, the great orange whale, making sure that Tebow got his first TD. You had to love it.

And that’s the story. It’s just one drive: it’s really just the story of a single play. But it’s also an example of going to a different player when one isn’t working out. It’s letting a WR run with the ball, eluding some of the defenders and gaining a 1st down. It’s going to Tebow up the middle, getting teams used to seeing that for when he needs to go right. It’s Gaffney, taking candy from Revis to set it all up at the 5. And it’s Tim Tebow’s first NFL touchdown, made possible by Spencer Larsen and Russ Hochstein, with a very special performance by Kyle Orton and Jabar Gaffney. I was honestly surprised that they didn’t go to Gaffney more, with Royal going up the slot if Revis handled Gaffney and Cromartie handled Lloyd. But the Jets aren’t the kind to leave things to chance, and Rex Ryan knows a lot more about defense than I do. Actually, one of the best parts of the day was seeing that Wink Martindale was the equal of his tutor. It was a great game, and a great day. Here’s to handling the Raiders.

Go Broncos!

Learn to laugh at yourself. You will be ceaselessly amused. - Sri Gary Olsen

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