It’s simple: keep Peyton Manning clean, the Broncos win.
It’s true when he’s healthy. It’s true when he’s feeling a little average. And it’s true when his ankle is as hurt as an Alex Smith checkdown.
The Broncos just restored order to the NFL with their 27-17 win, which could have been a lot more lopsided. The NFL simply can’t have teams like the Chiefs masquerading around like a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
- Kayvon Webster has arrived. Unfortunately, that makes Champ Bailey—and I can’t believe I’m writing this—largely irrelevant the rest of the way. (No, I’m not saying that Champ Bailey is literally irrelevant. Literalists, look up the word hyperbole.)
- You can’t say enough good things about all of the members of the Broncos offensive line: Manny Ramirez, Zane Beadles, and Louis Vasquez completely stoned the interior of the Chiefs defensive line, while Chris Clark and Orlando Franklin looked as fleet as ever. It doesn’t hurt that the Broncos were cleverly sticking to the run. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali never got comfortable figuring out what was coming.
- Eric Berry could be a combination of Deion Sanders and Champ Bailey and it wouldn’t matter; Julius Thomas is too big at the goal line. He could check Berry into the goal post if he wanted.
- Just as Ted and I were talking about the need for Demaryius Thomas to use his superior strength against pitifully small defensive backs, he goes all vertical—by using his hands to get separation. Eric Decker wasn't bad himself.
- Kansas City tried to bracket Wes Welker when they could, but as it often goes, the best laid plans—well they get waylaid.
- Good evening. What can you get for me? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ll take a Trevathan/Jammer combination platter.
- Led by the great David Bruton, the Broncos coverage unit was especially good in this game. And they needed it; In a close game that could turn on even a marginally good special teams play, it was critical the Broncos shut down Dexter McCluster. Props to Andre Caldwell and Virgil Green as well.
- Knowshon Moreno played the part of steamroller, while Montee Ball played scorecard. But it was their pass blocking that stole the show.
- Malik Jackson had his best game as a Bronco tonight. He won’t be confused with J.J. Watt tomorrow or next week, but he was a pass deflecting, gap shooting machine. For a guy I thought was going to be a little undersized in the NFL, I’m stoked that I was wrong.
- The same can be said for Shaun Phillips: he sacked, tackled, and pass racked (deflect doesn’t rhyme) all game long.
- Duke Ihenacho’s taunting penalty was as bad as it gets. There’s nothing more to say. Actually, let me take a shot—stupid is as stupid taunts. This game was easily Ihenacho’s worst of the season.
- Upon further review, the fumble thought to be Montee Ball's fault was actually caused by Manning’s high ball placement. FWIW, the official scorers agreed.
- Jamaal Charles is as good as it gets when it comes to the modern day running back. If you missed it, over his career, he’s averaging more yards per carry than the great Jim Brown. I’m just shocked that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie caught him. I’d pay good money to watch DRC and Trindon Holliday run against each other in a 100-meter dash.
- When was the last time you saw Peyton Manning burn a timeout because of a defensive scheme? The last time I remember, the Broncos were playing Troy Polamalu.
- I wonder if Wesley Woodyard was banged up out there. The eye test scored him: slower than usual.
- Holliday was bottled up again. How long can it last? My guess is not another game.
- For those wanting to rip Von Miller for losing his fast-twitch fibers, get real. He played injured most of the second half (looks like a back and a calf). Also, how do you think Shaun Phillips is getting singled up for all of those pressures and sacks?
- You may not have noticed, but the Broncos lost Rahim Moore in the second half to a leg injury.
- When you pile enough guys on Wes Welker, are you shocked that he might get a concussion?
- Enough already—I’m getting sick of all of the encroachment penalties by the Broncos defensive line. In fact, if you notice on all of the Chiefs’ scoring drives, there was one commonality: dumbass penalties.
The Who The Heck Knows
- From his couch tonight, even John Fox was laughing at Andy Reid’s decision to kick a field goal on fourth down from the one-yard line.
- Almost as fun as this Broncos win—watching the Chargers gain a million yards in their afternoon game and still come away losers.
- Where’s Waldo? Screw that noise. I saw Sylvester Williams wearing orange out there tonight!
- You know what I could give a F#$@! less about? Tiger Woods watching a Broncos game.
- What you know but won’t hear a lot about—Peyton Manning wasn’t even 70% tonight.
- Steven Johnson had one tackle tonight, and my god, it was a hammer. If I could tackle my boss half as hard at the next annual job review, I’d be in business (or in jail).
- As my good friend Doc Bear reminded me during the game, cutbacks are often a source of long runs in football. Regarding the Charles run, here’s what Doc wrote: “Just a point on the Charles run - Lou Tepper is one of the great LB coaches of all time. He noted in his Complete Linebacking that most long run plays come from cutbacks. He placed both shed and pursuit techniques over tackling as the most important abilities for a LB because of that.”
- Did Peyton Manning play well? Of course, but by his standards, it was a rather ho-hum night.
- Cris Collinsworth must smoke something harder than weed. How else do you explain his statement that the Chiefs defense played really well tonight? The Broncos rolled up 427 yards in offense, and that’s with a lot of milking of the clock.
- Don’t get too excited, Broncos fans. Tonight’s win was great, and it’s nice to have the first seed (at the moment), but the Broncos have a lot of work still ahead before the dust settles. I'm more worried about the Patriots than I am about the Chiefs.