To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
William Shakespeare - “Hamlet”
A Contending Early Autumn Wind
A new autumn’s dominant theme is changing the colors of the season from coast to coast. It’s absolutely caught up in the changing leaves and trees—it happens this time every year. The change in green color to this season’s theme: it’s white, surprising purple, a myriad of orange with amazing black, and even blue.
These colors appear to be for real in this early autumn theme, turning pretenders into contenders in the early stages of chasing the dream.
In the autumn wind there is the ringing breeze of forceful winds that are cousins of the new cold fronts that bring them. Within that same gust of the new coming are some of the traditions of the past.
Football teams and their rivalries carry out those recurring dreams of rising up to their constant rivals. In this the young 2009 NFL season, we have seen the leaves change colors and maintain the theme of newness and unexpected results.
We are finding out that there are some new up and comers—teams that are proving they are for real.
The New York Jets sported their old New York Titans jerseys against the Tennessee Titans—who donned their old Houston Oilers jerseys. In the end, the Titans of New York won the game behind rookie sensation Mark Sanchez.
In Minnesota that age-old staelwierthe (stalwart) himself, Brett Favre, in his new purple adornment, proved he could still get it done when it mattered most. The Minnesota Vikings are now a serious contender for the Super Bowl.
Carson Palmer and the Bengals proved they are tougher than most had given them credit for. They beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers with last second heroics and altered the outlook of their season. So add them to your list of contending teams.
Out west it was Raider Nation taking on the Denver Broncos. It beckoned a number of questions for the football minds who could see.
The Raiders local telecast was blacked out because the game was not a sellout. These are peculiar times indeed. The current economical situation has affirmed that, but if it’s Raider Nation—tell us all, why do they flee or fail to show?
Oakland—Raider Nation Has a Problem
Anytime you can beat a team at home it's a great thing. When it's your archrival, better yet.
There was apparently a spirited exchange prior to the on-field battle that sent along a needed message this fall. Regardless of the change at the helm for the Denver Broncos the Raiders are still the ultimate team rival, whether for good or ill.
So they call it Raider Nation? However, it has proven not to be. A once intense and great rivalry started to slip with fan apathy on an eminence front.
The devastated local economy coupled with obsolete NFL rules aimed to sell more tickets to home games is backfiring and weaning fans off NFL products in one of the league's most legendary markets.
An archive of NFL films has stated that the autumn wind is a pirate or even a Raider, like a legendary tale of yore.
No matter to the Broncos—who somewhere along the line decided they were only concerned with themselves. They knew the domination that they sought was in shutting down the pirate ship.
A little secret to pass along when it comes to beating down the Raiders: the Broncos know the old pirate fable that "dead men tell no tales."
In football terms this translated to the objective that was to make the Raiders one dimensional with a simple philosophy. Make Jamarcus Russell beat them. The response was just as simple—he couldn’t.
Meanwhile the Broncos offense racked up 215 yards on the ground courtesy of Correll Buckhalter and rookie Knowshon Moreno.
Moreover, Brandon Marshall brought his best against the Raiders and caught five passes for 67 yards and caught his first touchdown of the season. Marshall proved his issues off the field are behind him at least for now.
The defense was its now solid, usual self. It yielded only three points by racking up two interceptions and one key fumble recovery, and had three sacks on the day.
So it's now well known what happens when the pirate ship gets pillaged.
It’s a blackout in the black hole with the Broncos going home in first place atop the AFC West—a game ahead of the San Diego Chargers.
The Denver Broncos Are For Real
Call it a welcomed surprise or a hopeful premonition.
The Broncos have found a way to move their record to 3-0 on this young season. Regardless of the personal views and takes in the offseason—reaching this record the way they have could not have been easily predicted.
The Broncos deserve to be undefeated.
The Cincinnati Bengals also deserve to be undefeated with their last minute drive to seemingly ice the Broncos. Somehow the Broncos escaped week one with a deserved victory.
The following week the Bengals promptly beat Green Bay at Lambeau Field and came home only to upend the World Champion Steelers.
The Bengals are for real and deserve to be undefeated.
Strangely enough, so are the Broncos.
Denver’s dominating defense has set the tone in all three of its games. The Broncos are physical on offense and defense. A surprise for many, but the team on paper appeared to be heading in this direction during the offseason. It’s just a sight for sore eyes to see in action.
The Broncos have quelled the opposition to the tune of less than 215 yards per game, outdistancing the next closest defense by a full 30 yards.
They are the top rated defense in the NFL.
The most impressive stat is the one that matters most. The Broncos have yielded a total of 16 points over three games for an average of 5.3 points per game.
The Broncos rate fifth in the NFL in interceptions with a total of five. They also have 10 sacks, which ties them for first in the NFL with the Bengals and the Eagles. They have also recovered three fumbles.
Meanwhile, the offense is finding ways to protect the ball and control the battle of field position and time of possession.
Currently they only rank 14th, but they do have an average of nearly 21.0 points per game. The team is rated ninth in total yards with an average of 374.0 yards per game. They boast the fourth best ground attack in the NFL, which may be the mortar of their physical team approach to the game.
The special teams haven’t been incredibly special.
They have fumbled one opening kickoff return and missed three field goals due to wind. This aspect of the game should improve throughout the season.
The point here is that the Denver Broncos are not beating themselves—they are beating their opponents into submission.
Thus far, this team is proving they are for real—there really is no question.
Regarding This Week's Film Study Segment
Due to some technical problems last week's film study vs. Cleveland and this week's vs. Oakland will be combined for offense and defense.
Next up on the schedule for the Broncos is the Dallas Cowboys in Denver on Sunday afternoon.