Gut Reaction: Week 10 - Broncos @ Chargers

Pat Bowlen, welcome to the Three Hundred Club.

With the Broncos' 28-20 win this afternoon, Bowlen became the second fastest owner in NFL history to reach three hundred wins (Al Davis had to beat Bowlen at something).

The dude has seen a lot in his three decades as owner—John Elway, Peyton Manning, Super Bowls, and everything in between.

Three hundred wins has to rank right up there—until he gets to 301.

The Positives

  1. Julius Thomas showed great balance on his touchdown run, but let’s give some credit to Eric Decker as well. Without Decker staying with his block (just long enough), Thomas is pushed out of bounds for a 20-yard gain.
  2. That being said, Thomas is a matchup nightmare against anyone. Take Manti Te’o, for example. The Broncos can continue to exploit him on first and second down whenever they’d like in the future.
  3. In spurts, Robert Ayers uses his hands to create space as well as anyone you’ll see in the league.
  4. Demaryius Thomas’s route running isn’t just respectable anymore. It’s downright professional. With his ability to accelerate, the sky’s the limit. His only weakness, surprisingly, is his lack of physicality against press coverage. At his size, he should be destroying defensive backs at the line of scrimmage.
  5. What to know why Knowshon Moreno is so valuable to the Broncos? Even when they don’t run the ball, he’s slippery on a check-down pass. Moreno had eight receptions, seven of which came in the first half when the score was really in the balance.
  6. Someone told Mike McCoy that field goals can beat the Broncos, so he went for three points on fourth down. By halftime, the Chargers were down 21-6. Getting field goals against the Broncos is like making out on prom night—sure, you scored, but did you really score?
  7. Chris Harris is so technically sound when playing man coverage, it takes a perfect throw (or a stumble on his part) to beat him these days. Did you hear anything from Eddie Royal today outside of broken coverage? There’s a reason, and that reason is Chris Harris.
  8. The Chargers wanted to make their running game a focus today, but Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton held up just fine. You’ll never confuse Vickerson for a linebacker, but the big guy had five tackles in the first half alone. That’s unheard of for a defensive tackle, although you just heard it here.
  9. Peyton Manning is still on pace for five thousand yards passing, four hundred touchdown passes, and two dozen pizza commercials.
  10.  Von Miller is always the most athletic guy on any field. His sack of Philip Rivers was pure effort, but it sure as hell helped that he’s hauling more fast-twitch fibers than Jeff Legwold has [insert favorite Jeff Legwold reference here].

Honorable Mention: Shaun Phillips, Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie, Louis Vasquez, Manny Ramirez, David Bruton, Adam Gase (the call to get Thomas on a jailbreak screen, but out of the backfield).

The Negatives

  1. I guess I have to tell you the Broncos should be more aware of fake punts, but the truth is, they held up well. The Chargers only had two yards to go, after all.
  2. Wes Welker drops passes—a fact of life we all have to learn to live with.
  3. Danny Trevathan needs to be careful about getting sucked inside against zone-blocking schemes.
  4. I was hoping to keep Chris Clark off this list, but unfortunately, giving up even one big sack is a huge deal when you’re a left tackle. Clark is still playing well in my book; he just happens to be playing a high-profile position in which one bad play can wipe out all the good.
  5. The Chargers never gave Trindon Holliday any space in this game. Holliday is small to begin with, but he was hardly bigger than a hobbit in this game. It must be the HD.
  6. Demaryius Thomas should never release to the outside only to run a dig to the inside a few seconds later. It makes no sense, and therefore, I’ll chalk it up to some sort of option or adjustment gone wrong.
  7. Eric Decker helped in a lot of ways today, but catching the ball was not one of them.
  8. Britton Colquitt cost the Broncos forty or fifty yards of field position with some real stink bombs.
  9. For about half the year, Rahim Moore has played pretty average. We saw once again his major weakness on display in this game: poor pattern reading and biting hard on underneath routes.
  10. Montee Ball isn’t Barry Sanders. So why would he stop, reverse field, and go all metaphor?

The Who The Heck Knows

  1. Nothing goes better than camouflage and orange. Nothing.
  2. If you haven’t seen the play to end regulation in the Bengals-Ravens game, then you’re in for a treat. Too bad the Bengals couldn’t take advantage of the craziness. As a Broncos fan, though, I’m glad to see Cincy lose. And the Colts, too. It’s never too early to consider home-field advantage.
  3. Here’s a good way to make decisions easier on coaches: ask Phil Simms what he would do and go the other way.
  4. In his pre-game interview with 850 KOA, John Elway said that even amidst all the turmoil in Gary Kubiak’s life over the last week, Kubes took the time to text Elway to say he was okay.
  5. At some point this season, I expect Champ Bailey will become an integral part of this team. Until then, the Broncos will continue their march to 15-1 without him.
  6. We did not get to see how Jack Del Rio would handle fourth downs, but you’ve to appreciate the emotion Del Rio brought to the sidelines.
  7. Is it just me, or did Derek Wolfe get held on every single play today?
  8. Eddie McCaffrey has it right—the Broncos sputtered today when they went to their double tight end package. It takes either Welker or Decker off the field.
  9. Yes, in the rematch, Denver will take the Chargers to the woodshed. This game was just a warmup for the pass rush Rivers will see in Denver when he can’t hear himself think.
  10. Think John Fox watched the game or took it easy today on the couch catching up his Eric and Jessie episodes?

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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