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Sunday, October 02, 2005

NFL: Broncos at Jacksonville

It’s halftime, and the Broncos are leading the Jags 14-0 (and managed to miss a few field goals on the way). Even without Champ Bailey, who was injured in the Chiefs game, the defense has been dominating--brutally stifling the Jags offense through the first part of this game.

In fact, I’m starting to feel sorry for Byron Leftwich, who has taken a touch of abuse in the early going.

Luckily, the offense has been carrying their weight, too. They’ve moved the ball well, scored a few points, and given the defense the breather that they need in the muggy Florida heat. Anderson has carried the ball well and caught the ball well, Plummer has avoided turnovers and mistakes, and the passing game has been solid. In fact, to this point, the only bad part of the game for Broncos fans has been the kicking game, and the announcers have excused that as being a result of gusting, swirling winds in the stadium.

The Broncos, after losing to the Dolphins and trying to lose to the Chargers, continue to look like one of the better teams in the league.

Update: Of course, the second half has been a much different story. Not a good one for the Broncos fans…

Monday, September 26, 2005

Monday Night Football: Broncos v/ Chiefs in Review

Chiefs fans are wondering whether their team is really that vulnerable and Broncos fans are wondering how the team that could lose so ugly to the Dolphins. The Broncos won 30-10, but the game was even more lopsided than the score indicates.

The Broncos’ defense was overpowering throughout the night and Trevor Pryce, in particular, made the Chiefs’ offensive line look horrible. No matter where Pryce lined up, no matter who he lined up against, he was getting through and pressuring the quarterback. Even after Bailey left the game early in the second half, the Broncos maintained pressure and coverage--by the end of the game, the Chiefs just looked tired and frustrated.

On offense, the only real standout player was Rod Smith who was catching every ball that came his way--at least until he was knocked out of the game in the second half. Broncos fans are hoping that what looked like a KO and a concussion doesn’t end up being a serious injury--a hard helmet-to-helmet hit (not a dirty hit, just one of those things that happens in the flow of the game) left him sprawled out and unmoving for a few minutes.

But even without a lot of standout players, the Broncos’ offense moved the ball well, scored regularly, and had the Chiefs facing a 17-0 deficit by the end of the first quarter.

So, are the Broncos as good as they looked tonight? Will they be able to win on the road? How bad are the injuries to Bailey and Smith? A game like this feels great to watch--and then the reality sits in: what, precisely, did this game mean?

Whatever the answer, tonight the Broncos dominated tonight.

Monday Night Football: Broncos v/ Chiefs

So, yeah, that’s not a bad way for the Broncos to start the game.

So, I Have to Wonder…

...Who will be talking smack after the Monday Night Football game tonight? Will it be Zombyboy, the Denver Bronco lovin’ faux undead guy, or will it be Nathan, the Chiefs-lovin’ sinophile?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Monday Night Football: The Rolling Stones Edition

So, disquietude concerning neo-con oriented rock music aside, how sad was the Rolling Stones’ appearance on Monday Night Football. Not only are the Stones old, tired, and, if the reading of the TelePrompTer was any indicator, slipping slowly into senility, they look old, tired, and as if they were slowly slipping into senility. If that song is any indicator of the quality of the rest of the album, they haven’t managed to regain any relevance with this new release, either.

Anyway, they all reminded me unpleasantly of that old guy in the gym locker-room the other day. I shudder at the thought.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

San Diego at Denver: Early Returns

The Broncos aren’t looking as bad as they did last week against the Dolphins, but, then, that would be a hard feat to accomplish two weeks in a row. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be doing enough to beat the Chargers.

The offense had a few, early sustained drives, but the defense is looking as sad as they did at the end of the game last week. The defense simply isn’t stopping the Chargers on third (even in long situations) and rarely stopping them on second. So far, where I was happy to blame last week’s game mostly on the offense (minus Mike Anderson’s fumble on the two yard line), the defense needs to do something to help themselves this time around.

LT’s first touchdown, a 16 yard sweep off of a misdirection, was as ugly as it could get for the Broncos--no one even seemed to notice that he was alone and strolling into the endzone. His second touchdown looked easy (if not quite as easy).

So, as of this writing, the Broncs are down 14-3 and looking like last week may have left some ugly scars on their will to win.

Update: Of course, about as soon as I say that, the defense really starts to come alive.

Which is nice.

And the offense is sputtering.

Which is less nice.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday Night Football: The Stupid Player Edition (Updated)

A half hour before game time, Jeremiah Trotter and Kevin Mathis got into a physical confrontation and were ejected from the game. Again, they were ejected from the game before the game started.

Some of the ESPN commentators are arguing that Trotter, who apparently didn’t throw a punch, shouldn’t have been ejected from the game. That’s stupid: any player who is dumb enough to get into that kind of an altercation in front of a ref deserves to be tossed from the game. In fact, it’s better that the refs make a stand on a game like this--where the emotions are already getting the best of the players--and make sure that the players understand that fighting and provocation aren’t going to be accepted.

Both of them are idiots and both of them deserved the ejection.

Makes for an awfully funny pre-game show, though.

Update: I hope TO’s bad night continues, because he is looking pretty unremarkable. As much as I like McNabb, as much as I don’t really care who wins this game, I do harbor a growing grudge against Terrell Owens. I hope his season starts to look a little like this first quarter has looked for him: disappointing.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Denver Broncos v/ Miami Dolphins, II

The story of the game for the Denver Broncos:

1- A defense that was left hanging out to dry by the Broncos offense. By the third quarter, the defense had lost the will to tackle because they had been out on the field for far too long. The offense couldn’t put together sustained drives--for that matter, the offense had a hell of a time just coming up with first downs.

2- Injuries. Mike Anderson and Champ Bailey both went out early--and it didn’t stop there. A defense that was already wilting looked mortally wounded as the secondary was reduced to backups and rookies.

3- Dropped passes. Plummer’s passing wasn’t particularly sharp throughout the game, but there were far too many dropped passes in vital situations--moments where the ball was in a receiver’s hands and just fell to the ground. In fact, Shanahan’s Gumpian brain-dead moment came after a receiver dropped a ball in the end zone. If the receiver had caught the ball, it would have meant a Denver lead and Shanahan being saved from his own decision making.

4- Bad execution. The Broncos looked lethargic and weak all day. The Dolphins D played better than expected, but the Broncos’ offense made it easy for them.

5- Bad coaching. Enough said in that previous post.

Writing this with over ten minutes left in the game, the Broncos could still win. But they sure as hell wouldn’t have earned the win.

The story of the game, no matter the outcome, is that the Broncos were outplayed, unprepared, and simply bad on a day where they should have been right in the game.

Denver Broncos v/ Miami Dolphins

Mike Shanahan has completely lost his mind. With a 4th and goal from the two yard line, down 6-0, Shanahan has the team go for the touchdown. The running game isn’t clicking, the passing game is nearly non-existent, and, of course, the 4th down attempt fails.

Horrible decision to make midway through the second quarter.

Denver could still win this game because Dolphin is uneven, but this was Shanahan’s coaching at its absolute worst.

Update: Funny enough, on their next possession, Denver has to settle for a Jason Elam field goal--three points that would have tied the game up if Shanahan had made a better decision just a few minutes earlier.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Football Thoughts Heading Into the Season

1. Doesn’t John Lynch look like a caricature of a 40’s era version of Superman? I think it has something to do with the jaw.

2. Doesn’t Jake Plummer look like a caricature of a 70’s era stoner? I think it has something to do with the hair.

3. Everyone thinks that the Broncos’ defensive problems were related to bad pass coverage last year. I disagree: the problem was a weakened pass rush. Hopefully the return of Trevor Pryce will help the situation.

4. This should be Shanahan’s make or break year. It’s been a little too long that the Broncos have been visiting the playoffs without any happy results.

5. Which is a shame for him because it looks like the other teams in the AFC West got a little better a little faster than the Broncs. They could find themselves struggling in a competitive division.

6. How does the season work out for the Saints? They aren’t a team that I normally care about, but your heart just has to go out to them in the same way that it goes out to all the people who have had their lives disrupted by Katrina.

Sure, their salaries will make it easier for them in some ways, but they lost homes and photo albums and keepsakes and peace of mind just like everyone else. They have to figure out where to live and how to rebuild their worlds just live everyone else.

There’s nothing easy about that, even with the big paycheck.

7. The Broncos go 9-7 on the season. They aren’t a bad team, but you can count on some bad things happening: a key injury, a bad luck moment, or a few games where players just don’t show up. They’ll show enough promise to break fans’ hearts by the end of their season.

8. Which is still miles better than the Colorado Rockies have managed in years.

9. Is there a team in the league with more depth at running back than the Broncos? Anderson, Bell, and Dayne could be a killer trio this year.

10. I hope my pessimism is misplaced. I try to be honest about “my” team’s shortfalls, but I still bleed predominantly orange and blue. Go Broncos!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Lawrence Phillips: The Funny Side of Abject Failure

Lawrence Phillips, the stand-out running back from the University of Nebraska who never managed to make his talent overwhelm his constant off-field issues, continues to be precisely the person he was in college. That is, about as screwed up as you can be without having already ended up in prison for life.

So, get this: while wanted for domestic violence charges and while driving a car that had been reported stolen, Phillips ran over a few teenagers in a park after arguing with them about an informal football game.

Phillips joined a group of 16- and 17-year-olds in a pickup football game in Exposition Park on Sunday and got into an argument with some of the teens, said Los Angeles Police Officer Sandra Escalante. He left, but came back and drove a car onto the field, hitting three of the boys, she said.

The three teenagers were treated at a hospital; none of their injuries was considered life threatening, police said.

His failure in the NFL would have been sad if Phillips wasn’t so deserving of falling on his face. As far as three teenagers getting run over by a sad, ruined former football player can be funny, this is funny to me. Not necessarily as funny as Ricky Williams’ return to the game after an extended smoke break, but strangely entertaining to realize that Phillips’ criminal career has been far more consistent then his pro football career ever was.

Read the story.

A Little Bit of Funny

While discussing the Denver Broncos’ wide reciever battle between Jerry Rice, high draft pick Darius Watts, and a couple guys that no one has ever heard from, David Kreiger throws this in the mix:

• I refer you to precedent: The most prolific receiver in franchise history is Rod Smith, an undrafted free agent from Missouri Southern. Now, along comes an undrafted free agent from Central Missouri State in Devoe.

• I mean, how obvious does the Intelligent Designer have to be?

Heheh. Cute.

Monday, July 25, 2005

So, About Ricky Williams

It must be hard to be a Dolphins fan right now. Ricky Williams, a man who let down his teammates and fans in a big way, is back with the team.

Was it that he missed the game? That he renewed his love for football? Or was it that Williams realized, when the Dolphins started asking for the signing bonus back, that he might not actually be able to afford all the bags of weed that he was really looking forward to in his extended off season?

See, the tough part for the fans has to be the desire to tell the guy to take his doobie and go rot in hell--second chances after abandonment are always a little tough. The fact is, though, that after last year’s disastrous outing, you’d have to believe that the Dolphins will be a better team with Williams in the backfield. They need a good running back and Williams is talented (if unreliable).

To all those Dolphins fans out there: I feel for you. You can’t help but wonder just how long his newfound commitment might last.

Read the story.

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