The image that I enjoyed most tonight was one you probably didn’t even notice.
Adam Gase on the sidelines, looking like a football nerd, intensity washed over his face, calling plays as fast as his brain could think and his mouth could move.
On the other end, a football cyborg named Peyton Manning: half man, half machine, calculating the defense’s moves three or four steps ahead, changing the play with the mere flick of a hand.
The results are almost unfair. There isn’t a team in the NFL right now that can stop the Broncos, let alone a JV team like the Raiders.
Injuries do not matter. Suspensions do not matter. All that matters is the indestructible, light-speed machine that is the Broncos’ offense under Peyton Manning and Adam Gase.
- Eric Decker had one hell of a game, and that’s the bottom line. Call him what you want—gritty, tough over the middle, quintessentially McCaffrey—he’s getting the job done. And we haven’t even mentioned his blocking at all, which is as good as it gets in the NFL.
- For whatever reason, the Raiders decided to blitz Peyton Manning on his first touchdown pass. I guess you can’t blame them. You’re going to give up a touchdown either way, but at least blitzing makes you feel like you’ve left some testosterone out on the field. By the way, Manning was throwing lasers tonight, and I think his completion percentage exceeded the percentage of multi-syllabic words attempted by Ray Lewis in the pre-game show.
- Outside of a few speed rushes, Chris Clark did a decent job in his first start. Of course, Manning got rid of the ball so fast, it hardly mattered.
- Terrance Knighton and Kevin Vickerson are a whole lot of beef up front. So far this season, they are not just clogging the middle, but stacking offensive linemen.
- Which brings us to Nate Irving. Irving had five tackles in the first quarter alone. He can go north and south as well as Joe Mays, but he also adds the ability to go east and west.
- Matt Prater hasn’t made this list all year, so it was awesome to see him revert back to his Tebow-just-wins form of two years ago, where he made anything inside of 70 yards. In other news, Doug Lee tells me that Prater is still overpaid.
- Can’t complain about any of the running backs this game, outside of the late fumble by Montee Ball. The Broncos' version of Cerberus (I threw that in special for the Raiders fans) didn’t exactly bark at the moon, but they were competent. Yes, even Ronnie Hillman, who was actually more than competent.
- I can’t believe I’ve gone this far and haven’t mentioned Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas. They just keep on truckin’.
- Orlando Franklin had yet another great game blocking.
- Don’t underestimate how much Wesley Woodyard's and Danny Trevathan’s speed has meant to the Broncos this year. It gives Jack Del Rio a lot of scheme flexibility.
- Darren McFadden throws better than Tim Tebow.
- The Broncos didn’t close this game out the way they should have. It was sloppy, undisciplined, and the Broncos are lucky it was the Raiders they were playing. Too many penalties, and too many mistakes, as Manning might say.
- As my buddy Ted Bartlett pointed out to me during the game, the Broncos probably played too much zone tonight. You can see why they did it—namely, they were facing an inexperienced pocket passer prone to mistakes. Still, I think the Broncos really go when they are playing their game. And their game is man coverage.
- Two fumbles by Peyton Manning has to go here.
- It won’t matter in a game against a team like Al Davis’s Minions, but wasting timeouts like the Broncos did near the end of the first half isn’t recommended on advanced levels.
- The Raiders' first touchdown was the first time I’ve seen Run DRC beaten badly all year; it was bound to happen. Let’s be glad it was against a team that had absolutely no shot in the game.
- Knowshon Moreno dropped an early pass, and since I have to find something to fill this list with negatives, I’ll put that here.
- I have to hand it to Terrelle Pryor. He’s a bit of a weapon out of the pocket; further, the guy competed harder than I ever expected. If I were the Raiders, I’d be careful how often I run him into Wesley Woodyard, but still, I came away more impressed with Pryor than any other Raider.
- Luckily, Montee Ball’s fumble mattered as much as that pencil-thin mustache you think you’re rocking to work this week.
- I love statistical padding as much as the next guy, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Brock Osweiler get a few snaps—you know, for the future.
The Who The Heck Knows
- So last week, I heard some callers on talk radio suggest the Broncos keep Champ Bailey on the bench when he returns. While it’s a ridiculous notion, I certainly understand the gut reaction—the Broncos’ young secondary can hold their own against anyone, even without Bailey.
- Charles Woodson, you chose wrong, bro.
- So Al Davis thought Terrelle Pryor was going to be a star. The problem? Al Davis said that about everyone.
- Did I hear Peyton Manning get as excited as a teenager when talking about watching games on TV and stealing plays from them? That’s how zoned in the Broncos’ quarterback is—he loves football like your kids love Xbox.
- I almost chortled when I heard Alfred Williams say on the radio before the game that the Raiders would run for 150 yards tonight. Additionally, Big Al predicted the Broncos wouldn’t put pressure on Terrelle Pryor. That’s okay, Big Al. That’s why God invented mornings. You can start all over tomorrow, big guy.
- This Wes Welker commercial ran during the game, and I thought it was funny as hell.
- If you saw the shot of Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, and Anthony Muñoz during the second quarter, you saw Vasquez rocking one hell of a beard.
- I don’t mind that the Chiefs are 3-0. The Broncos need someone to motivate them as they continue crushing teams. If it takes a run by the Chiefs to make it interesting, so be it. Still, I think the Chiefs fade—and soon.
- Call me crazy, but Manny Ramirez is the long-term answer at center.
- I’ve not given Malik Jackson enough love in these reactions. My apologies, Malik. You do so much with so few snaps.
Give us your lists, Broncos fans!