Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, it's (still) morning at least. While Denver's 23-20 loss (box score) to the Raiders was not quite of the same magnitude of their previous three defeats to Oakland, in some ways it was worse. The narrative we've been told for the past eight months is that John Fox would bring offensive balance and discipline to Denver, but his debut showed none of either; it was instead hallmarked by penalties in bunches (ten of them, and those are just the ones Oakland accepted), turnovers (three), a blocked punt, several wasted timeouts, and a complete dud on offense - the team mustered only 13 offensive points as Eric Decker's lipstick-on-a-pig punt-return TD was the only thing that saved Denver from getting blown out. The Broncos' reputed new commitment to the run resulted in 13 carries for just 38 yards with a long of 13 by none other than Kyle Orton.
Speaking of Orton, if last night didn't epitomize his career in Denver, then what does? Fantasy owners will be happy with his 304 yards, but that empty number required a whopping 46 attempts to achieve and was accompanied by just one TD but two costly turnovers - a ghastly INT and a phantom fumble that called Jay Cutler and Ed Hochuli to mind on what could have been a TD pass to a wide open Daniel Fells. To make matters worse, Orton shuffled his feet into five sacks and could have been picked off on several more occasions. Three visits to the red zone and just the one touchdown, when Oakland was working with a 10-point lead and playing off coverage. In short, it looks like we'll be seeing Tim Tebow a bit sooner than Woody had predicted, or perhaps the Broncos really will be in the running to select Andrew Luck next April.
Here's where the tempering "but at least the defense comported itself reasonably well and it's only Week 1" or "in the end, Denver only lost by three points to a team that outscored them by 61 points in 2010" usually comes. But really, the game felt a lot worse than a loss by a FG - the penalties, the sloppy substitutions, the blown timeouts, the atrocious play by Orton. All that, with a battle-tested coach and a veteran QB. Can you imagine what the dialogue would be right now were Josh McDaniels still Denver's coach and these were the results? In case you were wondering, the McDaniels-led Broncos turned the ball over thrice in a single game just once last year - the home game versus Oakland.
Andrew Mason on the Broncos' injuries: Champ Bailey and Knowshon Moreno each suffered strained hamstrings, Brandon Lloyd strained a groin, and Elvis Dumervil's shoulder strain came during Friday's practice and hampered him last night.
Sharp stuff from Mark Kiszla, who says the QB controversy will be alive and well in Denver, and that Fox's debut as head coach won't buy him a lengthy honeymoon, if at all. Plus, Champ Bailey sounds like a man who is regretting re-signing with the team, and Kiszla wisely points out that today's NFL game is about passing the ball, as I was just telling my good friends Tom Brady and Cam Newton.
Krieger also suggests the honeymoon is already over, and that the nonexistent commitment to the running game presents something of a credibility problem.
Woody says it's all just more of the same, and that the promise of an improved running game was an empty one.
To add insult to injury, a personal foul penalty late in the second quarter by Kevin Vickerson helped set up the Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski to join Jason Elam alongside Tom Dempsey as kickers with 63-yard FGs.
Klis reminds us that Denver will maintain their position at #2 in the waiver claim order until Sep 26, the day after their Week 3 game at Tennessee.
Ed McCaffrey recalls breaking his leg in the 2001 season opener and waking up to the 9/11 attacks in a hospital bed.
The Broncos will present Shannon Sharpe with his HOF ring during a halftime ceremony at next Sunday's game.
Cincy's rookie QB Andy Dalton is apparently likely to play on Sunday despite a wrist injury that's being classified as a forearm contusion.
A few other Bengals were also injured Sunday but in better shape yesterday.
The quick-snap play Cincy used to score a key touchdown Sunday was ruled legal by the NFL.
LB Jon Beason is out for the year with a torn ACL after getting a big new contract from the Panthers this summer.
Steelers T Willie Colon is likely done as well after suffering a torn triceps muscle.
Some deranged Cowboys fan used a taser to attack several Jets fans at the Meadowlands on Sunday night.
Mike Freeman says the negotiations between the league and players over HGH testing is becoming contentious.
Matt Bowen thinks the hit by Stevie Johnson which ended Eric Berry's season was a clean one.
Andrew Brandt looks back at the timeline of Peyton Manning's new contract and his neck injury. Like everyone else, Greg Gabriel is perplexed that Indy wasn't better prepared for Peyton to miss significant time. In fact, Bill Polian just now admits it's time to find Manning's eventual replacement.
Chris Brown breaks down Cam Newton's first NFL touchdown pass over at Grantland.
Brian Burke's new writer Keith Goldner examines the Skins' final scoring drive from Sunday.
Ron Jaworski accidentally dropped some potty language while calling the Patriots/Dolphins last night.
Here's the unbleeped Jaws, plus Orton's inexcuseable fumble.