Gut Reaction: Week 16 - Broncos @ Texans

In an era of passing gunslingers and greatness, nothing is supposed to surprise us any longer.

Records are broken to be made to be broken--again and again. But let's consider what Peyton Manning has just done.

51 touchdowns and counting--in a Broncos uniform, no less.

Even if he doesn't throw another touchdown all year (which he will), that's over three touchdowns a game, for sixteen games. It's breakable, but you'd better bring your rabbit's foot, a lunchbox, and an army of Pro Bowl receivers.

What's left unbroken?  The Broncos hold on the overall number one seed.

The Positives

  1. I like what I saw out of Jack Del Rio today on the first two series of the game—press man coverage. The Broncos played much more of it last year (having Champ Bailey healthy gives you that luxury), and it fits their personnel so much better than zone. Additionally, if you’re already giving up three touchdowns a game on defense, why not go out swinging and be aggressive?
  2. Speaking of aggressive, I like the call by John Fox to go for it on their second series. The only thing preventing them from not getting the first down was the fact that Julius Thomas decided to step backwards instead of get to the marker.
  3. The route Demaryius Thomas ran on his touchdown shouldn’t be that easy, but when you’re that fast and that big, you tend to leverage the defensive back badly with your first move.
  4. Lost in the Manning touchdown record was Knowshon Moreno’s 1,000 yards for the year.
  5. Malik Jackson and Sly Williams were double trouble on the inside. Sly’s spin move inside was harder than it looked. Without much room to maneuver, to execute it properly, you’ve got to do it quickly.
  6. Peyton Manning, welcome to the record books. Of course, we saw that coming. What we didn’t see coming was just how much heart Eric Decker really has. I wasn’t sure if the Broncos should give Decker a sizeable amount of cash in the offseason, but I’m leaning towards trying at this point. I’ve never seen Decker fight as hard as he has in the last six games.
  7. Mike Adams’s interception made me remember why the Broncos need as many veterans as they can get at this point in the season. Veterans are sneaky. They anticipate. They create turnovers in big games. Or I could be wishfully thinking. You decide.
  8. We’ll say it again: Chris Harris is as technically sound as any cornerback in the league. Imagine if the guy had Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s talent?
  9. The one thing all of us agreed upon was the horrific clock management the Texans displayed to end the first half. If Wade Phillips ever gets another shot at coaching again, we’ll all be shocked.
  10. Champ Bailey made it through an entire game smiling and without injury. We’ll take it.

The Negatives

  1. I’m not completely sure this is a negative, but I would have gone for it on fourth down on the Broncos' first drive of the game. It wasn’t the right move to kick, but it beats getting your hand caught in a combine.
  2. I’ve never seen Von Miller fall down like he’d been shot. After seeing the replay, I understand why. Let’s hope the knee injury isn’t serious. My guess is that it is, however.
  3. Just when you think the Broncos' coverage unit has figured things out, they go and allow a game-changing return.
  4. Imagine the Broncos offense if they didn’t commit a Raiders-batch of penalties each game.
  5. Yes, we were just as surprised as everyone else when the Broncos didn’t score to start the second half.
  6. Mike Adams’s busted coverage to begin the second half was pretty egregious, so I have to list it here. Another example of why the Broncos’ use of the zone shouldn’t dominate their defensive game plan. In addition to his interception, Adams had seven tackles and two passes defended.
  7. I was a little surprised the Broncos didn’t do more with their knowledge of Joe Mays’s limitations in pass coverage. Had they, Julius Thomas would have destroyed the Texans all game on passing downs.
  8. To continue on this last point, the Broncos also seemed to largely abandon the running game for the entire third quarter. Without the threat of the run, is it little wonder the Broncos went three and out three straight times?
  9. J.J. Watt gave Orlando Franklin problems. Of course, that’s what he does. He’s J.J. Watt.
  10. I’m worried about going to the postseason with Paris Lenon and Wesley Woodyard. Combined, the two of them had four tackles. That’s just not enough from the middle linebacker spot. Luckily for the Broncos, Danny Trevathan has crushed it the way he has.

The Who The Heck Knows

  1. Think about the number of injuries the Broncos have overcome this year. Now, imagine if they didn’t have Peyton Manning. Next man up? No, not really. It’s always about the quarterback and nothing more.
  2. The guys on 104.3 The Fan brought up a great point this morning. Last year at this time, Jack Del Rio and John Fox were calling Tony Carter one of the best cover corners they had ever seen. Just what the hell has changed in one season?
  3. The personal foul call on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a good example of why helmet-to-helmet hits should always be reviewed in the booth.
  4. Before one gets too excited about this win, let’s remember that the Broncos just beat the Texans, who happen to really, really suck.
  5. Great line from Eddie Mac on the radio today: “This is the last Ro-DAY-o for Matt Schaub.”
  6. With the emergence of Manny Ramirez as a top-five center, is the release of J.D. Walton at all surprising?
  7. Can Derek Wolfe gain back the thirty pounds he’s lost before the playoffs? Absolutely. Two words: ice cream.
  8. Julius Thomas may be a lot of things over the course of his career, but one thing he’ll also be is the answer to a trivia question.
  9. If you didn’t notice, the Chiefs' loss today gives the Broncos the AFC West for the third consecutive year.
  10. If you didn’t notice, it didn’t matter one damn bit last year.

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

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