The Daily Lard 9-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, welcome to Foxball, everyone. After falling to the Titans in Tennessee 17-14 (box score), Denver's 1-2 record consists of two three-point losses and a two-point victory. Once again, the Broncos' defense did enough to win, and a remarkable lack of discipline by the Titans (11 penalties for 80 yards and three huge first downs) kept Denver in a game where its offense was outclassed (231 net yards on 63 plays for a paltry 3.7-yard average).

Last week against the Bengals, Denver's offense produced two long scoring drives and two quick TDs but sputtered on eight possessions which each took four plays or fewer and consumed 2:13 or less of game clock. Yesterday was much of the same, as the team managed two TD drives but couldn't sustain its other eight possessions, which maxed out at 2:46 worth of game clock. Willis McGahee could gain only 52 yards on 22 attempts, while Kyle Orton's 39 passes garnered a measly 173 yards. That, my friends, is the epitome of inefficiency.

Now, there are plenty of reasons the Broncos lost yesterday: their sputtering offense, more big plays and some lucky bounces for the Titans, the absence of Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil, and a lack of big plays by Denver (only three went for more than 11 yards). But please don't hang this game on John Fox's decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal from inside the one; not only was it the right call, but touchdowns will apparently be rare for this team. They have to go for them when the offense (or defense, in this case) gets them in range. The moment Derrick Harvey recovered Matt Hasselbeck's fumble on the Tennessee 13, Denver was in four-down territory, and momentum was on their side with a golden opportunity to go up by double digits. So what did they do? Aside from the well-covered play where Orton threw it away on first-and-goal from the two, Denver ran it five times for nine yards. If you want to pin this loss on one thing, look not at Fox's laudably aggressive decision, but rather at the meek playcalling by Mike McCoy that preceded it.

Broncos


Highlights of the game from Broncos TV and NFLN, plus video of John Fox, Kyle Orton and several others speaking after the game.

Andrew Mason sums up the loss, examines some numbers from the game and of Orton's performance in late/close games, and shares some notes.

Woody thinks Fox made the right decision but McCoy called the wrong play, while Chris Kuper says he deserves the blame on it.

As Legwold points out, Denver accomplished its first goal on defense (stopping Chris Johnson) but gave up huge plays to Tennessee's tight ends.

Notes from the DP: Orton had four passes tipped at the line, and thankfully the team had no new injuries to report.

Klis thinks the silence in the Broncos' locker room after the game evidenced a high level of frustration.

Krieger visits with old friend Daniel Graham, who caught the game-winning TD pass for Tennessee.

Max Henson and Gray Caldwell summarize the loss for the official site.

Titans


The Titans believe Kenny Britt tore his MCL and may have also torn his ACL. Plus, some game notes from Jim Wyatt.

Meanwhile, WR Nate Washington stepped up in a big way following Britt's injury.

John Glennon on Tennessee's goal-line stand and David Climer on the Titans' depth coming through.

Drexel Perry recaps the win for Total Titans.

Trimmings


The Raiders physically dominated the Jets and came back from a 17-7 deficit on their way to a 34-24 victory as Darren McFadden racked up 171 rushing yards with two TDs.

San Diego got two TDs from Ryan Mathews but barely hung on to defeat Kansas City 20-17 as the Chiefs picked off and sacked Philip Rivers twice.

Buffalo mounted another furious comeback in taking down the Patriots 34-31 after trailing 21-0 early on.

Likewise, the Lions rallied from down 20-0 at halftime to defeat the Vikings 26-23 in OT; Minnesota has blown halftime leads of 10, 17 and 20 points so far this year to start 0-3 in horrifying fashion. Matt Bowen says Detroit still has some issues to fix.

The Saints outlasted the Texans 40-33 in a slugfest featuring 718 net passing yards and six TD passes from Drew Brees and Matt Schaub.

Eli Manning threw four TD passes and Michael Vick broke injured his right hand as the G-Men stunned the "Dream Team" Eagles 29-16. Vick is expected to be out 3-4 weeks due to the injury to his non-throwing hand. The Eagles have dodged a bullet as Vick's hand is apparently only bruised; he's reportedly day to day.

Green Bay got three TD passes from Aaron Rodgers as the Packers won 27-17 over the Bears in Chicago. Matt Bowen explains how they did it.

Tampa Bay held off a late rally from the Falcons to beat them 16-13. Brian Burke analyzes Atlanta's fourth-down dilemma: down six points with 4:11 and goal-to-go from the 15-yard line. It's not as easy or obvious a call as one might think...

Baltimore humiliated the Rams to the tune of 406 first-half yards and a 37-7 final score in St. Louis.

The Steelers narrowly escaped Indy with a 23-20 victory on a last-second FG by Shaun Suisham.

Cam Newton and the Panthers took down Blaine Gabbert and the Jags 16-10.

San Fran slipped by the Bengals 13-8 in a snoozer that featured just one TD.

Cleveland defeated Miami 17-16 on the strength of a late 80-yard drive by Colt McCoy and an INT of Chad Henne in the closing seconds. Meanwhile, Mike Freeman is hearing that the Dolphins' players are starting to turn on Tony Sparano.

Seattle notched their first win of the season as they beat the Cardinals 13-10 in the still atrocious NFC West.

The NFLPA is scrambling to cover their asses by asserting that no players should be suspended for their actions during the lockout, after it was reported the union had agreed to eight sacrificial lambs.

Scrapple


Pat Kirwan, Andy BenoitMatt Bowen, Nolan Nawrocki and Eric Edholm analyze the action from yesterday.

Mike Silver, Peter King, John Clayton, Don Banks, Jason Cole and Clark Judge each throw in their two cents.

Chris Brown reacts to Saturday's biggest college games.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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