“Intensity, drive, fire, heart, desire”
Okay, did you really think we would go undefeated?
Did you really think that a team in transition could run the table with a schedule like ours?
More importantly, did you really expect the Denver Broncos to go into Baltimore, for an early game, and play well?
Speaking for myself, I would say no to the first. I did not think we had a shot in hell at going undefeated. There is not a team in this league that is going to do that this year. An undefeated season is an amazing feat, one accomplished by only two teams in the Super Bowl era. Let’s not cheapen it by assuming any team is going to have what it takes until they actually do it.
As to the second question, did I expect our boys to go into Baltimore, with an early start, and win? Early East Coast starts, especially in Baltimore, do not smack of historical goodness for the Broncos. But yeah, I expected the Broncos to win that game.
Denver is a better team overall than the Ravens.
Despite the rhetorical nonsense that spews from national sports shows, the Broncos have already proven that they are for real. With the conditioning, toughness and the ability to finish, that McDaniels has instilled in Denver, the Broncos have showed me enough through the first six games that I simply didn't think we would see the same old stuff with this game.
I mean, the displays of meekness we normally see in this match up were a mark of another regime, right?
Not this week.
One thing we keep saying, week after week, is that this is not a Shanahan team.
Normally that is in response to the rocket scientists who keep trying to dictate what this season is going to be like based on last year’s performance. But in the case of the Broncos at the Ravens: 2009, the indication was a not a good one, we were unprepared coming off a bye.
And that’s what this boils down to: preparation.
We were dominated in all phases yesterday because we were not prepared to play this game. You can blame a small amount of that on hubris, the rest you can place right on the shoulders of Coach McD and his staff.
They did a terrible job with game planning, and ultimately failed to make the in-game adjustments that have been the hallmark of the 2009 Denver Broncos.
I’m not going to go all bibbledy over one loss. I am a firm believer that sometimes you need a slap in the face to bring you off of a pedestal. Sunday was a reality check and, if this team is as good as we think they are, they will learn from it.
Sometimes getting your butt kicked is the best thing for you.
That does not mean I am letting them off the hook. We still should have been better prepared.
I don’t know about you, but I am getting fed up with the dink and dunk. Yes, I understand that it has been working, and I am not the type to dismiss a positive offensive style simply because it does not have the fantasy football explosiveness that so many seem to think is the ONLY mark of success these days. But dangnabit, there comes a time when you need to go for the jugular. Yesterday was one of those times.
I am not going to pile on Kyle Orton quite yet, as I do not blame him for yesterdays loss. I blame McDaniels for sticking with a game plan that Baltimore had clearly figured out from the first snap.
It was obvious that we were not going to be able to count on screens and three-yard quick outs to carry us. Baltimore was not only in the right place all day, they tackled very well and took away the one thing that has been an absolute must for us all year: yards after catch.
We did not adjust.
I am stymied here. The obvious way to attack the Ravens is aggressive passing. They have a demonstrated weakness for the big play and from what I have seen they have a tendency to panic a bit because of them.
The key to beating them is to spread the field, hit some big passes early and force them into playing the pass, then open up the run. Simplified, I know, but accurate.
We obviously had a game plan that was going to be pass heavy. Yet again we came out with the Dink and Dunk. You have to wonder what that means—does Josh simply believe that his system is flawless? Or is there something more sinister at play? Does he know what so many of us fear? That Kyle Orton is not capable of aggressive down field attacks?
I’m not sure I buy that yet, but I am starting to wonder if McD really trusts Kyle the way he claims he does. It’s unnerving to say the least.
And why did we not adjust to the pressure that the Ravens brought? I think teams are going to start keying on our faith in our offensive line. Yes, we have one of the best in the league, but sometimes even the best need help.
Moving Kyle around a bit, keeping the RB in to block, and out of the pattern once in a while, would be helpful when a defense decides that killing Kyle is the key to beating the Broncos.
And it just might be.
Orton does not handle pressure well. He looked spooked all day and I think more than a few of his passes were off because he was rattled. Then again, dropped passes, especially from Brandon “Don’t hurt me Ray Ray” Marshall does not help. It reminded me of the Bengals game.
Again, preparation and adjustments were lacking. We only got token pressure on Flacco and he picked us apart when he needed to. I am not sure why we did not blitz more because when we did get him out of his comfort zone he was average at best.
Overall, I am disappointed in certain aspects, but the defense was not terrible. They played a solid game for the most part, but were put in too many untenable positions by the offense.
You know, I thought we had a chance until the Special teams melted down again.
That’s all I have to say about that.
For the next seven days we will be treated to evaluation and over-evaluation of what that loss means.
The game will be dissected, bisected, eviscerated, boiled and broiled. Depending on one’s point of view the conclusions will either be that it was a bad day for the boys in orange and blue, or it was a game that exposed the “real” Denver Broncos. Some will shrug it off and move on; Others will gleefully ride the “exposure” as long as they can.
The simple truth here is that it was one game. Though I have to throw in one caveat, I do not know if I trust this offense. And contrary to the idea that winning games against Dallas, New England and San Diego are the defining moments of our 2009 season I think how they respond after this sole loss will dictate who they are.
We do not know enough about this team to predict what comes next, but in one week, in front of a national audience, we will find out.