Gut Reaction: Week 17 - Broncos 47, Raiders 14

There’s never a bad time to face the Oakland Raiders.

Looking for a win? Looking to get in (the playoffs)? Looking to send Mark Davis to the looney bin?

Play Oakland.

In every restroom wall from the Rockies to the horse pens of Oakland, it has been written, for a good time, and if you want to finish 12-4, call the Silver and Black.

Let’s not get too carried away, though. The Oakland Raiders aren’t in the playoffs. This Broncos team is beaten up, from quarterback to wide receiver to stable boy.

Let’s hope a one-week vacation, some chicken parmesan, and some rest get this team healthy and ready to make a serious run at the Super Bowl.

The Positives

  1. Congrats to Demaryius Thomas for breaking the Broncos’ single-season yardage record for a wide receiver. Still, it’s going to take a few Super Bowls before I like him as much as Rod Smith.
  2. The answer to that question you have in the back of your mind? C.J. Anderson, of course.
  3. The Broncos’ receivers were open so often on the deep cross, you’d think the Raiders would have learned to stop playing Cover 1. But another hallmark of any Raiders team is their bullheadedness, otherwise known as stupidity.
  4. Due to some amazing coverage by the Broncos secondary and some monster line play by Terrance Knighton and Malik Jackson, the Raiders were held without a first down for the first quarter, and only one for the half.
  5. Just in time for the playoffs—Aqib Talib and Chris Harris are both playing at a Pro Bowl level.
  6. Last week, Todd Davis looked like the rookie he is. A week later, the reps seemed to have made a huge difference. Davis isn’t Brandon Marshall, but he at least resembled an NFL linebacker.
  7. The good news? Omar Bolden had a great return to start the second half. The bad? The fattest kicker in the league forced him out of bounds. Seriously, Sebastian Janikowski has never seen a Taco Bell he didn’t want to inventory. Someone needs to fine Bolden.
  8. I guess the Raiders decided they were playing for draft picks when, near the end of the third quarter and down by 16, they neither attempted a 57-yard field goal nor went for it on fourth and four.
  9. Yes, Emmanuel Sanders deserves a Pro Bowl bid. He proved it again today, even with a bum hip.
  10. It took John Fox sixteen games, but he finally got a challenge right (no, I didn’t mean that literally).

The Negatives

  1. Eddie McCaffrey had it about right: the energy from both teams today made it feel like a preseason game. At half I started to nod off and considered streaming The Interview just to stay awake.
  2. Although the bizarre lateral that turned into a fumble kept Oakland in the game, it only made things interesting for an extra five minutes.
  3. Rahim Moore hasn’t played well for at least a month. The only difference today was he was playing the equivalent of Alcorn State.
  4. Okay—I give up. Since Wes Welker is unimportant to the offense anymore, it’s okay that he returns punts.
  5. Louis Vasquez is not a tackle, so why do the Broncos keep insisting that he is?
  6. If you weren’t paying close attention, you may not have noticed that Orlando Franklin went out with a concussion.
  7. I’d be shocked if Britton Colquitt is the Broncos’ punter next year.
  8. Yeah, the crowd came to life…in the middle the third quarter. Still, I find it hard to blame them. This game was about as exciting as spending Christmas with my mother-in-law.
  9. What a bush-league cheap shot that cost the Broncos David Bruton in the fourth quarter. Let’s hope Bruton is okay.
  10. Is Brandon McManus even useful at this point? I thought he was supposed to kick the ball out of the endzone—not once, but every time.

The Who The Heck Knows

  1. When Peyton Manning doesn’t have a clean pocket, it’s like a game of Duck Hunt.
  2. The rest of the AFC West will be sitting home during this year’s playoffs. That’s too bad. Nobody likes it when the gimp sleeps.
  3. A week off is exactly what the Broncos need to heal up. An insanely hot nurse wouldn’t be bad either, but let’s not push our luck.
  4. If you were looking for Jay Cutler to take his second chance by the throat and lead the Bears to victory, just close your eyes and imagine it happened. Then don’t watch any highlights for a week.
  5. Cool to see Eric Decker finish the year as a legitimate #1 wide receiver.
  6. I’m not sure why I care, but I took time to listen to the Seahawks-Rams game during the fourth quarter. Can you blame me? I tired of seeing Tony Sporano chewing his lip.
  7. One of the biggest questions for the playoffs will be the health of Julius Thomas. It’s not just the running game the Broncos will need if they visit New England for the AFC Championship. Thomas will be critical.
  8. Speaking of kickers, Connor Barth is cash money.
  9. I’m all for records, but do the Broncos really need their first-team offense on the field with seven minutes to go and up by three scores?
  10. Not sure about you, but I want to see a Denver-Cincinnati rematch in the playoffs. Andy Dalton is not coming into Denver and beating the Broncos.

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

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