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Monday, November 19, 2007

Broncos v/ Titans: The Ten Point Review

Tell me about those Broncos. Who are they?

  1. Let’s get right to the funniest play of the game. Mike Shanahan, when you live by the last second timeout, you die by the last second timeout. By “freezing” the kicker at the end of the first half, Shanahan gave the kicker a second chance at a missed 56 yarder. Rob Bironas ,the kicker, came out and knocked it through. Oops.
  2. After that butt kicking a few games ago, this Broncos team looks rejuvenated. They are playing with far more aggression and passion than they had through the first eight games and it’s really showing.
  3. But they aren’t that much better. Tonight a quarterback like Tom Brady would have eaten them alive. Champ Bailey wasn’t having a good night, there wasn’t much pressure on Vince Young, and the defense continues to give up far too many big plays and long third down conversions.
  4. And Sam Adams--who, to be fair, is actually starting to make his XXXXXXL presence felt--seems determined to give up at least one encroachment or lined up in the neutral zone infraction in each game.
  5. The offense seems to be finding the script, though. Even with all the replacement parts and young players, the offense is starting to score points and make big plays. Enough of each to overcome the defense’s unevenness (for now at least). All of the Broncos’ four touchdowns were 40 yards or more.
  6. Cutler had a really good night. His stats aren’t gaudy with just 200 yards on 16 completions with two touchdowns. But he only missed on 5 passes, he threw no interceptions and made no big mistakes, and, most importantly, converted a ton of third downs on the way to a respectable score. Add in his one scramble for 10 yards and a first down and you’ve got a game that is absolutely huge for a Broncos team that needed him to lead them to a victory.
  7. Vince Young and the Titans have the potential to be a good team. Young deserved to be the first quarterback taken in 2006 and he played very well tonight--his two interceptions came close to the end of the game when the Titans were desperate for big plays and had abandoned the running game. His receivers dropped a number of balls that could have kept them in the game.
  8. Yes, I do think that the Scaife pass was a completion at the end of the first half. Which doesn’t really change much.
  9. The starting running back, Travis Henry, didn’t play. The back-up running back, Selvin Young, is injured and out of the game. Andre Hall, the third string guy, comes in and scores on a long play for the Broncos. Mike Shanahan’s running back mystique continues to grow.
  10. It’s depressing to see Rod Smith in civvies on the sideline. A while back I wrote that it seemed like he might be coming close to the end of his great career and that story is really growing. I hope that I’m wrong, though; I hope he has one last season of greatness in him before he retires. He deserves one last victory lap.

All that aside, could the NFL see two really big record broken this season with the Patriots going unbeaten through the Super Bowl and the sad Miami Dolphins going winless through the end of the season. If you had asked about that at the beginning of the season, I would have said that there was no chance. I’m starting to think that it could happen.

The Patriots this year are devoted not just to winning games but to destroying opponents. They have been amazing and it’s hard to imagine any team beating them (barring injury, that is). Miami, by comparison, looks like they could lose nine of ten to the Raiders, who I thought would be the worst team in the league. Not a good season to be a Dolphins fan.

Whatever. The Broncos, even with all their mistakes and poor play, are back up to .500. They are tied with the Chargers and are leading the AFC West--for now at least. That is much less a comment on the Broncos than it is on the state of the AFC West in 2008.

Check out Darren Copeland’s view of the game.

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