Kyle Orton, Josh McDaniels and a newfound dominant defense have quieted all the talk of offseason disfunction in Denver with a 3-0 start.
Orton threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, the defense kept a second straight opponent out of the end zone and the Broncos overwhelmed the Oakland Raiders 23-3 Sunday. The performance to start the season is a far cry from the offseason. McDaniels caused an immediate stir when he was hired to replace the fired Mike Shanahan as coach in Denver last offseason. He alienated Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler before trading him to Chicago for Orton, then suspended Marshall in the preseason.
But once the season started, things couldn't have gone much better for the Broncos. They capitalized on a lucky bounce to win the opener at Cincinnati and followed that with convincing wins over Cleveland and Oakland (1-2).
The schedule gets considerably tougher starting next week against Dallas, but the Broncos have to be pleased with where they stand now.Rookie Knowshon Moreno ran for 90 yards and a score and Corell Buckhalter 108 yards on 14 carries for the Broncos. Matt Prater added three field goals as Denver won its AFC West opener for a 10th straight year.
Orton again played mistake-free football, going 13 for 23 for 157 yards. He has not thrown an interception in three games, quite a change from the flashier Cutler, who made more big plays last season but also more mistakes with 18 interceptions.The Broncos have committed just one offensive turnover all season, and even that didn't end up hurting them. Two plays after Buckhalter fumbled deep in Denver territory, Darren McFadden gave it right back to Denver with a fumble of his own. That recovery by Brian Dawkins was just one of many big plays from coordinator Mike Nolan's defense. The Broncos have allowed just 16 points all season, getting six sacks from Elvis Dumervil the past two weeks.
The Raiders offense looked inept for a second straight week and this time the defense couldn't keep Oakland in the game long enough for Jamarcus Russell to steal one at the end, as he did last week in Kansas City.
The Raiders were held to 137 yards, their second straight week with less than 200 yards of offense. This is just the third time since the start of the 1993 season that Oakland has put together back-to-back games like that, with the other two coming in 2006.
GO BRONCOS 3-0!