Forgive me for saying this, but those new uniforms today gave a whole new meaning to 'Winning Ugly'. But, by the end of the game, somehow they were looking beautiful. Win the Broncos did, their first win in overtime, and it was dependent on two more Kyle Orton drives late in the game. What a great win for Josh McDaniels, his first over his former mentor and friend, Bill Belichick! What a wonderful, exciting ending for a storybook week. That's the Broncos 4th come-from-behind victory. It's the second where the Broncos were down by two scores, a situation that many assured us that Kyle Orton couldn't handle. It's 5-0, and that's all that really matters.
Ok, now can we talk about why Kyle Orton is a lot better than he's gotten credit for? It's about that time, my friends. Gosh, do you think that he throws better without the glove? This is not a stop-gap quarterback. He's just what the Broncos need. Take a long look, Broncos Country.
Knowshon Moreno said: "He is really confident in the huddle and wants to put points on the board and move the ball down the field which wasn't going to be easy. He is a leader on this team, and we are grateful to have him."
Said Eddie Royal: "It was a gutsy performance today for Kyle [Orton], he stuck in the pocket and made some great throws. He was the leader that we needed today." He's going to be that leader for quite a while. Bank on it.
The Broncos took 27 first downs (21 passing) and gave up only 18 total. Orton was 35 of 48, for 321 yards and 2 TDs and a 96.7 QB rating. Those who were hoping that Eddie Royal would break out had a great afternoon, unless you somehow object to 10 receptions for 90 yards. Brandon Marshall took advantage of the day to add 8 for 64, and 2 TDs. Jabar Gaffney had 6 receptions for 61 yards. The tight ends, who many claimed were being ignored, grabbed a total of 7 for 79 yards and Knowshon Moreno added 4 more for 36 yards. Orton finally threw a single INT and the Broncos still won in overtime. This isn't the Browns, the supposedly weak Bengals or even Dallas. This is the team that beat Baltimore last week and is coming on. But they don't have the one thing that it seems that they really need - the young man who's coaching on the Denver sidelines.
The defense started out looking more like 2008 than 2009. They missed tackles, assignments and were a moment late too often. Tom Brady deserves a lot of credit - this is the first game that I've seen him really stepping into his throws and when he does, he's nearly impossible to stop. But only nearly...he was held to 19 of 33, with 2 TDs and no INTs, a total of 215 yards. The Patriots were held under 100 yards rushing, though, and that in the end may have been the key to the game. but in the firs quarter, you had to wonder if the Broncos would be able to stop the Patriots juggernaut. The final answer was a rousing yes.
The Broncos came out with something new for the game - their version of the wildcat. Moreno is a skilled player and it was nice to see them coming out with some new wrinkles. Since Eddie Royal is also skilled at throwing the ball, down the road this could get even more interesting. The Pats were the first of the two clubs today (in the first quarter, second drive) to unveil the 3 TE set, which they call a Load formation. But, Brian Dawkins came in on a run-blitz and blew it up in the backfield the first time it was tried. It's true that Moreno had a fumble, but he generally had a very good game. We came out of this one with 2 TOs apiece.
One thing that stood out on the first Patriots drive was that the Pats are better at keeping to their assignments than anyone we've played up until now. It took the Broncos time to adjust to. They're a good, talented, deep, well coached squad. That makes the task of holding them to 1 TD and no FGs in the last three quarters especially impressive. The Pats are an excellent team. They played well and made few mistakes. And, we were better, which says a heck of a lot about the team from Josh McDaniels down to the lowliest coaching assistant.
It was the revival of The Drive. 98 yards, late in the game, to tie the score and to give the Broncos a chance to win it in overtime. There were two calls of non-pass interference at the end that might have written the ending differently, but Matt Prater recovered from an earlier miss and put the final nail in the coffin notching 2 of 3 FGs for the day but none this year has been bigger than his OT victory kick. It was an incredible finish to a great day of football. By the way, New England has a FG miss of their own at the end of the second half. It's part of the game.
If you're interested, please notice that on the 1st TD catch to Marshall, Orton threw the ball perfectly before Marshall cut. Marshall beat Shawn Springs with a perfect move, but the pass was as close to perfect as you can ask on that kind of fade route. Congratulations to all concerned. On Marshall's second TD, he just is too big and strong to keep out of the EZ. You had to know that McDaniels had something very nice to say to him last week during the hug after his game-winning TD. Anyone want to bet that it was to the tune of "That's how you'll get that big fat contract!"? And Brandon, being Brandon, came out with a "Now, don't forget!" performance. I salute the man. That's why they wouldn't let him go. When he is playing at his best, he's one of the best, and no questions about it.
What is it with the team and tipped passes? Gaffney made a big, heads up play on another. Seems we have one a week. By the way, how much fun was it to see Tony Scheffler doing his Knowshon imitation and vaulting a defender?
Eddie Royal was everywhere. He was making catches with players hanging on him, uncalled PIs, getting open, holding on to the ball. Wonderful to see this - Orton had said all week that they hoped this would be the week that royal had his breakout. Nice to see.
Okay, Elvis Dumervil didn't get a sack today. So? Vonnie Holliday did manage to knock out the ball and get the fumble from Brady at !;30 to go in the 4th and Elvis recovered. Keep in mind - we got Vonnie Holliday and Le Kevin Smith for a 5th round draft pick. Anyone want to trade this guy? Nope, me neither.... by the way, DJ Williams is looking like a Pro Bowler this year. What's more unusual is that Jack Williams was seond on the team with 7 solo tackles. Talk about taking a step forward. Getting Smith seems to have given us two talented players - Alphonso and Jack Williams.
It hurt that the sack on Orton broke up a chance to win it in regulation, but that's the game. The O line did a great job up until them. It looked like to could have been on Clady, too - we'll see when the film gets broken down, but it looked like Clady tripped over a Pats player who was on the ground, letting his man go free. Fortunes of war...the fault may be on whoever let that man through, but it's all going to be in how they chart it.
If you liked the Moreno screen pass that went for 27 yards in the 7:48 range of the 4th quarter, your in luck . You read it here first that we'll be seeing a lot more of that play. Moreno also seems to have broken into New England territory in overtime by the use of our 3 TE set for his right/SS sweep. He got us inside the 30 on a 2 TE set on the weakside - wonderful use of him this game. He should have a game ball for this.
Well done: The Broncos only had 3 penalties for 20 yards, a big improvement. Their time of possession was 36:29 compared to 28:22 for New England. They won the battles that the team had to in order to pull out a tough victory against one of the best teams in the league. The young student has done what every student should do - he's surpassed the Master. It will be a bitter-sweet thinking for Bill Belichick.
By the way, the Oakland/Giants game was called on account of pain. Not rain - pain: It hurt too much to watch the danged thing: I've read that the folks in Oakland asked them to black out the road games as well. Can't blame them. (Yes, I'm kidding -- currently. Not by much. Stay turned.) There needs to be a mercy rule. Congratulations, though, to Kansas City, who took the Cowboys to OT before succumbing.
Josh McDaniels ended his post game press conference by saying that he's looking forward to going into San Diego next week. So am I. we have every ability to win this next one on the road. I'll talk about it a lot more on Wednesday with the Broncos Thoughts and Musings, but we have every reason to think seriously about 6-0. This team won't do that until the scoreboard in San Diego read 0:00, though.
A last note, this one from Vonnie Holliday:
"... this is the philosophy and attitude that we've adapted to. The guys in this locker-room believe; the coaches believe; guys believe in each other and are fighting. We got it done. It took, like Coach told us, it was going to be sixty minutes. Well, today it was sixty-eight minutes and change, but guys continued to play well, play hard, until the end and we got the victory."
Congratulations to them all.