Leaving on a Jets Plane: Why the Denver Broncos Let New York Escape With a Win
This was the game the Denver Broncos coulda, shoulda, woulda won. It was Orange Sunday, it was the chance to show the world that they were better than they looked in Baltimore, the chance to get to .500.
Guess what? They choked on the chance to do all of those things.
Was it the coaching? The leadership? The players being too immature to understand what mistakes really mean?
Or was it just the reality setting in that this is just not a top tier football team right now?
Let's look at the scene of the crime, OK?
NY Jets: Are They As Good As Their Record?
Maybe yes, maybe no. But, they sure do have a seriously large rabbit's foot hiding in Rex Ryan's size XXXXL windbreaker.
This team (the Jets) was outhustled, outcoached, out home-teamed, but still slunk away with a W.
Did they deserve it? Maybe, but I would say the Broncos did more to give this one away than the Jets did to win this game.
With Denver's starting S (Brian Dawkins) and CB (Andre' Goodman) both out, Denver's rookies stepped up and played well.
The D had the first 2 INTs against Jets QB Mark Sanchez this season and almost had two more.
The Jets are a very good team, but they were lucky to get a W on Sunday.
Denver Broncos: Are They As Bad As Their Record?
Well, yes and no.
They played maybe their best complete game on Sunday. But, they still lost. At home. On Orange Sunday. With a better running game (Notice I didn't say a GOOD running game).
But in critical situations, they made mistakes. Some of these were player errors, some were refereeing errors and some were coaching errors.
But in the end, it is the coaches—the head coach in particular—who must take the heat.
Mistakes and poor play-calling make for game-losing situations and need to be corrected if this team is to win more than 8 games, let alone make the playoffs.
Where Did That Denver Defense Come From?
With all the injuries to the LB corps and the secondary, I was not expecting this kind of effort or results from the D. They played smart, with intensity and, with a little more luck, would have had even more turnovers.
They held the Jets to just 129 yards rushing, 30 yards below their season average. They intercepted QB Mark Sanchez twice and should have had another one or two.
They held Sanchez under 200 yards passing (198) and one TD.
They held them to 24 points, two under their season average.
They beat the spread by 2.5 points.
But, they still lost.
Where Did That Denver Offense Go?
Yes, there were a few bright spots, such as the continuing development of rookie WR Demaryius Thomas, shown here catching a picture perfect TD from QB Kyle Orton. But, the Jets tough defense did slow down the Denver passing machine, holding them to 209 yards and one TD. This is over 100 yards below their season average.
And the team actually out-rushed the Jets 145 to 129. But more importantly, they did it with 7 different players. That can be looked at as a good thing when spreading the ball around in a passing game, but tends to show a bit of desperation when you have that many people rushing the football.
But then, it is almost triple the yard average for the season, so any improvement is a good one. I think it reflects getting Moreno back as well as a bit of stability on the offensive line.
If this can continue, it will take some pressure off Orton and make his great play fakes even more effective.
Tim Tebow Played and Contributed
In only his second game as a contributor, Tim Tebow did what most people were expecting him to do, come in and run the ball inside the redzone.
He rushed 6 times for 23 yards and a TD. This is a 3.9 average, but most importantly, he was able to run one in for his first NFL TD.
Although McDaniels still doesn't feel he was ready to throw the ball in a close game, he is gaining NFL experience, and with the schedule easing up, I see him being used more outside of the redzone and maybe even being given a few passing plays as well.
Mistakes, Penalties and Bad Decisions: Still The Anchor Dragging On This Team
When your team averages more than six penalties a game, drops the ball in the most inopportune times and your coach makes some strange play calling, it is hard to win a game against one of the better teams in the NFL.
Denver had the Jets held to a 4th–and–6 on the Bronco 48. Denver S Renaldo Hill and Jets WR Santonio Holmes tangled at the goal line, the ball was incomplete and the Orange Sunday crowd went ballistic, thinking Denver had held with less than a minute and a half to go.
But field judge Gary Cavaletto threw his yellow hankie and called Hill for pass interference. Was it a good call? Yes, as he grabbed the face mask. But, there was pushing and shoving by both players prior to that that could have been called offensive pass interference. Not being a homer here, just citing another area where mistakes can kill.
Another killer play was the bad snap by rookie C JD Walton that cost the Broncos any chance to score when they were moving down the field. Yes, he is a rookie and yes, we don't have anyone else to play C, but the bad snap and the myriad of penalties he has had so far this year are game-changing.
Walton will get better and may become a better-than-average C in the NFL. But right now, he and others getting penalties and dropping the ball on the ground are taking away chances to win football games.
Sunday Is a New Day: The Orange and Blue Will Leave The Raiders Black and Blue
Yes, I know, neither of these players pictured will be suited up on Sunday. But, my prediction is that whoever is playing QB for the Oakland Raiders will be in for a long and bloody day.
I see the Denver D stepping up again and taking away both the pass and the run due to the weak O-line on the Raiders side of the ball—two to three sacks and at least one INT.
Denver's offense will shred the Oakland D for two through the air and one on the ground and Prater will have a good day as well.
Denver 30 - Oakland 10.