Broncos vs. Bengals: 5 Things We Learned from Denver's 24-22 Victory
At times it appears that the Broncos were going to be able to take over the game despite their injury-riddled lineup, but Andy Dalton and the Bengals were stubborn and refused to go away, displaying an impressive passing attack with rookie AJ Green.
In the end, the Broncos defense did just enough in the fourth quarter to shut the door on the Bengals, and a timely sack helped stunt the potential game-winning drive Dalton was orchestrating.
In a season where victories are going to be hard to come by, there is no such thing as a "sloppy win." Broncos fans should take them however they can, and be hopeful that a healthy Broncos team can achieve even more than they did today.
Tim Tebow Does Not Make a Good Decoy
Well, that may not be entirely true. In fact, if the Broncos actually attempted to even throw the ball in Tebow's direction they might find that it causes a very nervous reaction from the defense.
In fairness, Tebow was pressed into action due to injury and necessity, but it wouldn't have been hard to create a bubble screen and ask Tebow to step back and catch the ball, and then see what happens even if it wasn't part of the original game plan.
If the Broncos feel like they can find a way to not add fuel to the "Tebow as the starting quarterback" fire by getting him into the offense a little, it might be worth their while.
Without Champ, the Broncos Cannot Cover
This should not be a huge surprise, but when the Broncos are forced to play without Champ Bailey, they are not very good in coverage.
The Broncos simply lack depth and experience in the defensive backfield beyond Bailey and Brian Dawkins, and truthfully, Dawkins is not starting because of the coverage liability anyway.
With Champ in the game the Broncos can safely eliminate one side of the field in coverage and funnel extra help elsewhere.
Without Champ, even a rookie like Andy Dalton can find room to operate in the Denver defensive backfield.
Willis McGahee Is the No. 1 Running Back
The truth is out now: Willis McGahee is a much better option to carry the load in the backfield than Knowshon Moreno.
It would seem unlikely that the offensive line got drastically better between Week 1 and Week 2. Yet, to be fair, the defensive line of the Bengals is not as stout as the Raiders were last week.
Regardless, it is clear that McGahee is much more comfortable and productive between the tackles than Moreno at this point, and should be the No. 1 running back for the Broncos.
Andy Dalton and AJ Green Could Be for Real
Obviously, Denver is not regarded as a good measuring stick to measure one's offense, but Dalton acquitted himself rather well in Week 2.
Quality of the opponent aside, Dalton and Green are showing the signs of a blossoming partnership in Cincinnati.
Dalton appeared to be a fairly cool customer in the pocket and was only slightly rattled by the occasional pressure that Denver was able to muster. Green and the Bengal receivers were able to maneuver freely in the Denver defense and Dalton did a nice job of finding them.
Von Miller Is a Leader
With no Bailey and no Elvis Dumervil in the lineup and the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Von Miller took his first steps toward becoming the new leader of the Denver defense.
Miller began to flash and responded with a sack and an attitude that the rest of the defense fed off of. His stats may not reflect his full impact, but he was around the ball and used his speed to impose Denver's defensive will on Cincinnati at times.
In general, the whole defense bent but did not break without its stars Sunday, and that may be as good a sign as anything.