Gut Reaction: Week 4 - Broncos at Packers

He pulls a knife.  You pull a gun.

Unless all you've got are plastic spoons.

He sends one of yours to the hospital.  You send one of his to the morgue.

Unless all you can do is help them to the end zone.

The Denver Broncos tried to play with the big boys of the NFL today.  What they got was the Packers' way.

Today's loss shows just how far the Broncos have to go before they solve any conflict through violence, coverage and tackling.

The final score matters little at this point.  All I can remember is the image of Aaron Rodgers showboating in the endzone with his title-belt celebration.

Let's get to the Positives, the Negatives, and the Who The Heck Knows?

The Positives

1. The Broncos' stop on 4th down on the first series of the game was spectacular, as was Brian Dawkins' weekly Lazarus impression against the run.  Unfortunately, it didn't apply to Dawkins in the passing game.

2. Trick plays?  Hell yeah.  Whatever it takes, bubba.  Whatever it takes.  

3. Clay Mathews may be a Viking warrior when it comes to rushing the passer, but Orlando Franklin pushed him around in the running game a few times today.  You heard it here first (or maybe tenth): Franklin moves to guard next year to replace Zane Beadles.

4. As we noted last week before everyone else found out--Von Miller is already the best 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL.  Miller notched two more sacks today and was the only player on the Broncos that could affect the game on defense.  He could have had at least two more sacks if not for Rodgers' elusiveness.

5. Brandon Lloyd said he wanted the ball, and he walked the walk.  Unfortunately, Lloyd can't play cornerback.  The scary part is that Lloyd probably still isn't 100%.

6. Eric Decker didn't say anything, but he still walked the walk anyway.  Unfortunately, Decker can't play safety.

7. If the Broncos weren't down by five million points today, they would have been able to run the ball.  Their 5.2 yards per carry was excellent.  

8. In the second quarter, the Broncos could have quit.  Instead, they fought back--at least for a little while.  Baby steps, right?

9. Elvis Dumervil didn't tear his Achilles, pull his groin, or become impaled.  A positive is a positive.

10. The Andrew Luck / Matt Barkley / Landry Jones Countdown just fell to 12 games.

The Negatives

1.  Mike Heimerdinger, gone way too soon.

2. Bringing Tim Tebow in on the second series isn't a negative, but running him right into the clutches of B.J. Raji was a bit anticlimatic.  The reason they didn't bring Tebow in again?  They were getting lapped by the 2nd quarter.

3. The Broncos struggled mightily today with their safety help in two-deep coverage.  On the first drive of the game, Rahim Moore crept up and let Greg Jennings behind him.  A drive later, Brian Dawkins gave a clinic on taking angles and guessing.  As a safety in two-deep coverage, you're taught to be deep enough to never have to take an angle in which you are behind the receiver (let alone side-to-side).  At the end of the first half, the Broncos played a rotational deep third with Rahim Moore trying to cover the middle.  Aaron Rodgers shredded them up the seam.  It was yet another example of how well Rodgers reads defenses.

4. Kyle Orton's gift to Charles Woodson was nothing short of charity.  I suddenly heard chants of, "We are the world, we are the children.  We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving."  I'm not going to blast Orton all day, though.  His team was boatraced from the beginning.  He made some good throws and he made some brutal throws.  In other words, he was his typical Kyle Orton self.  He's neither the disease nor the cure. He's just another guy in a league full of teams searching for more than average.

5. How little did the Packers respect the Broncos?  When you are practicing your onside kick in the first quarter and you're up by two scores, I'd say very little.  If this were college football, I'd say the Packers were trying to ensure they were getting all the first-place votes this week.  I can't say I blame them.  Right now the Broncos are 3-point dogs to LSU.

6. Brutal call on the Zane Beadles penalty.  However, to say that Beadles struggled against B.J. Raji today is a bit of an understatement.  Beadles has struggled in every game thus far, and objectively, I'd say he's in the bottom quarter of guards league wide.  It's probably too early to say he's a career backup.  I'd like to see him and Orlando Franklin switch positions.  Beadles may have the quickness and finesse needed at right tackle, while Franklin has the strength you need at guard.

7. If you haven't noticed, the Broncos keep losing the turnover battle.  While not predictive, it's sure as hell descriptive.

8. D.J. Williams had as many meaningless tackles as I've ever seen.  Were any of them behind the line of scrimmage?

9.  Oh yeah, Champ Bailey didn't play.  If that's not a negative, nothing is.  Speaking of Bailey, that must have been one hell of a pep talk John Fox gave him to get him to re-sign with the Broncos.  He's got to be rethinking that decision about now.

10. The Andrew Luck / Matt Barkley / Landry Jones Countdown just fell to 12 games.

Who The Heck Knows?

1. The first set of Tim Tebow billboards are up, but like horrible dialogue in a bad movie, they are too on the nose.  Couldn't they come up with something more creative with all that time?  Here's something they could have used, which I created between the 1st and 2nd quarters:

2. There was an idea floating around all week that the Packers would have an emotional letdown after a divisional game.  Also receiving equal billing was the notion that the Packers might look past the Broncos.  Sometimes we fans confuse college football with guys that get paid to play football for a living.

3. Kyle Orton has his own segment on 850 KOA's pregame show.  Today, he hinted that the Broncos were going to take some big shots with Brandon Lloyd and score on some four-play drives. Although Lloyd got some catches, those scoring drives failed to emerge.  In fact, most of them took a big nose dive.

4. Has there ever been a coach whose rise and fall has been as fast as Josh McDaniels?  A few years ago, he was at the top of everyone's wish list.  Right now, his team is struggling just to score a field goal.  Life has a way of humbling all of us, but McDaniels' slide from boy wonder has been faster than a locomotive.  Lucky for McDaniels, he cashed in while the iron was hot.  Also, Scott Pioli probably still returns Josh's phone calls.

5. The idea floated by several Browns players that Peyton Hillis could have played last week but didn't due to a lack of a contract extension was interesting, but not for the reason you might think.  I don't question that Hillis couldn't go.  I wonder why his teammates decided to raise the issue in the first place.  Perhaps not all of Hillis' teammates adore his All-American Redneck glorification.  Stay tuned.  I sense friction--Raiders style.

6. Tebowites of the world, unite!  Kyle Orton gave you another reason to celebrate late in the game with two additional interceptions!  Get those billboards ready!

7. Why didn't the Broncos give Tebow some playing time late in the game, you know, given that they are developing him for the future?  Perhaps that 32-point deficit was just a few scores away?

8. The Broncos' future quarterback isn't on the 2011 roster, that's why.  Brady Quinn isn't under contract next year, Kyle Orton hasn't signed an extension, and lost in all of the afterglow of John Elway's so-called tutoring of Tebow is the glossed-over fact that the Broncos were dangling Tebow for a trade just as much as they were Orton.  Everything else is just hot air, reality is hard to accept, and some folks--even in a recession--have money to spend on billboards.

9. Those interceptions the Broncos got in the 4th quarter?  If you like crumbs, take them.

10. Dan Reeves thinks Tim Tebow is the next Roger Staubach, according to Woody Paige.  So Reeves was wrong about Elway, but he's right about Tebow?


You want some more?  Huh? You want a little?  Do ya?  Email TJ Johnson: tjthedudejohnson@gmail.com. Or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  Or come get some sugar at It’s All Over, Fat Man! on Facebook and Twitter

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

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