After reading TJ’s synopsis of the Broncos/Jets contest, there isn’t that much that I have to offer that he hasn’t already commented on. There is also little to argue, since I find that most all he has to say can be effectively backed up by the play-by-play and by watching the contest again. That said, I’d like to offer a few thoughts that either didn’t come out or deserve to be given even greater support. Here are ten thoughts that I found worth considering after re-watching the game.
By the way, how many of you recall saying that what you really wanted this year, especially with all the injuries, was a team that went out and was competitive each week? Well, this one was a great example of watching what you wish for, because competitive was the name of this game. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but Denver was in it to the end. I was and am proud of this team, and I have a lot of faith in them, especially considering where they are coming from.
1. Great effort
It’s hard to put into words how a team is striving. Seriously, there are times when the TV or computer seems to radiate various energies coming off your team in waves. Denver just didn’t come out ready to put their full strength of effort and talent into the game in the first quarter. The number of opportunities - and TJ lists them well - that they didn’t take advantage of probably cost them the game. One can never tell - changing one thing changes many, and not all would have been in Denver’s favor - but other than the early going, Denver’s level of effort was remarkable. Let’s keep this in mind - the Jets were in the playoffs long enough to remove the Cincinnati Bengals, the San Diego Chargers and gave the Colts a decent game, although last year, no one but the Saints were stopping the Colts. The Jets have only lost a single game, and they are experienced, stable, deep and talented. Denver fought them to the last two minutes, and they deserve a lot of praise for what they accomplished, win or lose. Yes, I’m familiar with Vince Lombardi’s comments on losing - his and many others. The fact is, if you inherit a team that is as bad as the 2008 Broncos were (more on that later this week), pressing a team like the Jets that well is a very good thing.
2. Too many chances early, no points.
TJ covered it well - That could have been the game. Nothing more to say about that, really. They didn’t have the focus that they quickly showed starting in the 2nd quarter - but too late to win the game, at least as it turned out.
3. Great schemes
IAOFM members and staff called for the 4-3 and the Broncos had the same idea. Points to www.IAOFM.com, and a great job by 1,295 pounds of linemen. By the time that Kevin Vickerson strained his groin, Denver’s 4-3 had done a remarkable job of slowing and even stopping both Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. Champ Bailey made up for a less-than-optimal performance by Mario Haggan, who didn’t have his best game. Astute fans noted that it was only after Vickerson had to leave the game that the Jets’ offense managed to up their attack enough to score the final touchdown. Injuries are part of life, and every team has to overcome them, but I’m getting danged tired of writing that sentence. Sometimes, you feel like you’re getting hosed by the injury bug.
4. Sad to see Vickerson go out with a groin injury
And after he did, NY was able to do things that weren’t options when Vickerson was on the field. By the way, Jason Hunter also had a heck of a game. Those two made sure that the edges were set, handled backside pursuit witout being fooled on the bootlegs, and generally did things that I wouldn’t have expected. My biggest shock? Seeing Hunter handling coverage well - not on every play, but considering that he has always been a DE, and Green Bay dropped him after watching him briefly as they changed to a 3-4 defense. Perhaps OLB for a 4-3 is his optimal position - any way you slice it, these two players were money, all game long until Vickerson’s injury. Hunter continued to do all he could - congratulations to both of them.
5.Orton and Lloyd just weren’t on the same page - and
Revis Antonio Cromartie does deserve much of the credit.
Orton was putting balls exactly where he should on many plays, and the coverage was perfect on the part of the Jets. Until the final drive, Denver did some incredible things on defense as well, and Perrish Cox and Syd’Quan ‘Squid’ Thompson’s INT was a classic case of the advantages of a shorter CB - they’re a lot harder to notice in coverage. Frankly, the whole CB corps deserved a game ball. You don’t want to ‘If only’, but Orton to Lloyd could have been the game. You could see that Orton was looking for his primary guy, and that’s the trouble with having one. The ball might have been spread around with more success.
6. Giving up that face mask on 4th and 6 reminded me of the D.J. Williams whiff against Donovan McNabb last year.
No points were scored on the drive where D.J. missed, but the momentum changed palpably. In this case, unlike the other, there was a penalty and the Jets got a legitimate call. The touchdown won the game, and the Jets, sadly, deserved it. Denver still made it a heck of a game.
7. Tough loss
I’m not into moral victories, but I do recognize when our team is very close to a SB contender. When a team fights against one of the two AFC Championship teams to a standstill, the idea that this is the same team as last year is absurd. Denver is getting bigger, stronger, faster, deeper, and has shown me that they are serious about winning this year. I’m buying into it. I find it interesting that Alphonso Smith has taken to Detroit so easily, but if you look at Perrish Cox and Syd’Quan Thompson’s absorbtion into the team, it wasn’t all the Broncos, guys. Expect another cornerback in free agency or the draft, but Denver’s corps is getting deep and solid. More power to them.
8. Life isn’t perfect, neither are the Broncos - yet.
What stands in their way? I’ll talk about that in a two-parter this week.
9. This may have been the best-coached game we’ve seen from Josh McDaniels.
The 4-3, the vast number of schemes, the blitzes, the ability to stop the run and the hard-fought approach to a game that very few thought that they had a chance in was top drawer. Was there a downside? Sure - the mistakes and penalties that are the sign of a young team came out at exactly the wrong times. That’s what happens at times, and it is a coaching problem. Every time the team isn’t on the same page, someone hasn’t been coached well enough or learned what was coached well enough. You can’t deny the responsibillity of either the player or the coachesg. But when Rex Ryan spoke after the game, he was effusive about the Broncos’ scheme and its implementation. McDaniels and Complany deserve a big hand for this one.
10. Every home game should be Orange Sunday. No exceptions - except for breast cancer.
There’s always room for compassion. Other than that, Denver is the Orange City, and they should be out there showing it every single home game. By the way - Pittsburgh does the towels. Let’s leave that to them - there’s only one stadium with Terrible Towels. Why play copycat.? But wear an oversized T-shirt over your parka - I’ve done it, and the extra layer helped when the solar winds started to blast across the South Stands at Old Mile High. Just show your orange and support your team!