The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
Unless you forget to take the second. Then you simply fall on your ass.
Tonight the Broncos started fast. Once the Chargers adjusted, however (putting more guys in the box), Denver's excellent adventure turned bogus.
And we didn't even get a cameo from Keanu Reeves. Damn, dude.
What started as a fake punt quickly turned into a nightmare of missed tackles, blown assignments, penalties, dropped passes, and desperate gadget calls. In other words, outside of a few good weeks, more of the same.
Last week the Broncos were the ones who had two weeks to prepare for their opponent. This week, it was the Chargers who had the additional time. Honestly, though, they didn't need it, so I hope they spent at least half of that time prepping for the Colts.
Time didn't beat the Broncos. As we've seen again and again, the Broncos beat themselves.
Get your mock drafts ready.
The most frustrating part of tonight's game (and the turning point) was watching Denver go up 7-0, only to stupidly succumb to a fake punt. It works in Pee-Wee league; it works in junior high and high school; heck, sometimes, it even works in college. But against the best players in the world?
I guess those players don't reside in Denver.
Before I imagine how bad this could have been if Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson played tonight, let's just get to The Positive, The Negative, and The Who-The-Heck Knows?
1) Can an opening drive be scripted any better? The Broncos were crisp out of the huddle, created great tempo, and mixed up the run and pass. The Broncos showed their 221 personnel package (2 RB, 2 TE,1 WR) on the drive, which is a package they rarely use. Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, and Chris Kuper once again did an excellent job. Of course, the defense quickly adjusted, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good thing to see.
2) Nice use of the play action by McDaniels early in the game, which included pulling Zane Beadles. For those folks that may not know, middle linebackers are often taught to key off of the guard. When Beadles pulled, they were certain they were seeing a run--until they weren't. Great calls by McDaniels to open up the middle of the field.
3) Do you think Knowshon Moreno is cognizant of not putting the ball on the ground? Got to love how he used two hands after facing contact tonight.
4) No DUI's this week!
5) The rumors of Champ Bailey's imminent decline have declined.
6) 35-14 is better than 59-14. Suckers!
7) Phil Rivers was a fat little kid.
8) Our quarterback didn't slice tendons in his thumb, throw his uniform into the stands, argue with his coach, and then bolt for his hybrid in the parking like--at least, I think he didn't.
9) 3rd down could have been worse, Broncos fans. They could have been 0 for 12. Instead, they were 1 for 12. Meanwhile, the Chargers were 7 for 14.
10) The defense can't get any older without signing Bill Romanowski. But I have a feeling Romo would have at least wrapped up tonight--after injecting himself with animal urine at halftime.
1) San Diego's special teams no longer looks like the dumbest special teams unit in the NFL. Denver now owns that award. The fake punt--though collegial--took all of the momentum the Broncos had accrued early in the game and chugged it like a Red Bull.
2) The Chargers' offense didn't show the Broncos anything they hadn't seen on film in the early part of the game. The Broncos simply didn't maintain their gap integrity. Oh, and they couldn't tackle your mother-in-law tonight--sedated.
3) A three-man rush and seven seconds in the pocket is enough for anyone to find an open receiver. As John Gruden stated correctly, a sugar rush with a zone drop is difficult for linebackers in this area of the field (goal-line).
4) We've said this before: Tim Tebow at the goal line is golden; at midfield, however, he's just a tempo killer.
5) Kyle Orton's under-thrown pass to Brandon Lloyd in the end zone was bad enough. Following it up with a pick one play later was like negative compounding interest. The pick appeared to be an option read, but still, there's no excuse for it. Both plays were momentum killers. But hey, what wasn't tonight?
6) Ryan McBean costing the Broncos with big penalties? We've read that chapter before. But did Kevin Vickerson have to read it also?
7) I could have done without Jon Gruden's ass kissing of Phil Rivers and AJ Smith.
8) Eric Decker may be wearing Eddie McCaffrey's jersey, but tonight he drifted like Eddie Haskell.
9) Britton Colquitt's line--9 punts for an average of 37.2 yards. Yeah, I'll pick on the punter. That's how mad I am!
10) As Ron Jaworski said to end the game, the Chargers could have made the game a lot worse. Thanks for not running up the score, Norv.
Who The Heck Knows?
1) Should Spencer Larsen lateral on kickoff returns in order to get some speed out there?
2) Was the Broncos' blowout win against the Chiefs an outlier? I'm not into magic 8-balls, but all signs are pointing to yes.
3) McDaniels must see something in Lance Ball, other than that he's not Correll Buckhalter. Do you see it, too?
4) Wink Martindale is not afraid to bring heat from the corners. He showed it (a ton) against the Chiefs; he showed it against the Chargers. You can't blame him with the lack of pass rush from the Broncos (outside of Justin Bannan on one play) tonight.
5) If the offensive line is healthy and the Broncos are where they want to be now on offense, why so many trick plays?
6) One image that sticks with me tonight is that of Brian Dawkins--trapped in space with a wide receiver--whiffing at air.
7) Mike Shanahan is 5-5 with a team that many would argue is worse than the Broncos. Would you argue the same?
8) I still don't understand why you don't give Tim Tebow game experience. Our practice squad must be one hell of a unit if Tebow is going to improve in this 24-month window he's supposedly got.
9) On Thanksgiving, can you have Norv Turner's neck flap with your stuffing?
10) McDaniels may still turn this whole thing around, but I don't have to feel good about it right now. How much turkey does it take to go numb?
As always, feel free to give us your thoughts on the game. What have we missed? Anything to add?