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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.

Comments & Trackbacks
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Yes and no.
Yes, you dominated tonight.
I don’t agree the game was “more lopsided than the score.”
It’s not like you had bunches of scoring opportunities lost by dropped easy passes, or missed interceptions.  KC got quite a bit of yards, and from the numbers alone, Green outplayed Plummer.
You got one extra turnover: a recovered fumble.  You actually fumbled twice, but recovered both...so you dominated on fumble recoveries?
You got about 70 extra yards.  Most of those came on a reverse to Lelie (39 yards), and a bunch came while running to protect your lead.  We had a better 3rd down conversion percentage, and a stunning 4 of 4 success on 4th-down conversions.

Now, all that aside, it was a great win by the Broncos.  You were absolutely right in your assessment of Trevor Price.  He really looked unstoppable.  His gameline of 4 tackles doesn’t do justice for the number of drives he killed by forcing a KC O-line to hold to prevent a sack.  I’m not sure why he doesn’t play that way all the time.  Emotion?
And Denver game-planned it perfectly.  They seemed to know exactly what to do to keep the Chiefs off-balance.  Now, getting up 17-0 so early makes that easier...but it ain’t easy to get up 17-0.  That’s impressive, and says good things about Denver’s future this season.
Not to mention, the Bronco DBs played much better than I expected.  We even deliberately picked on the #2 corner, but he played an excellent game, and there didn’t seem to be much drop-off even when Champ Bailey went out with an injury.
You also shut down Dante Hall, who had caused you many problems.  Good job.
I think it does give Denver some confidence, and some things to build on for the rest of the games.  At the very least, it washes out the bad taste from the Miami loss.

The main differences in the game:
1) Turnover differential
2) Penalties
3) The Denver home crowd

That’s classic football.  Lots of good hits, lots of big plays.  KC got some pretty good stops at times...remember Wesley sprinting from the middle of the field to deny Anderson what looked like a sure TD?  And then Plummer scoring the very next play on a naked bootleg?  That’s great football.  I hate that we lost, but it was a pretty good game.  Lots to enjoy for anyone except a KC fan, and even we have some good things to see from it.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 12:04 AM

Green outplayed Plummer? Green had more yards, yes, but he had more yards (221 total) on 23-44 passing. Plummer only missed 5, ran for a first down or two, had only 70 fewer yards on 10 fewer completions, and they both threw for one TD. Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like Green outplayed Plummer to me.

And for the rushing game, Mike Johnson had more yards and averaged more yards per carry than Holmes and Johnson put together.

Third down efficiency was actually almost the same--with neither team being able to claim “good”. KC goes 4-15 and Denver goes 2-8, and all that proves is that Denver had fewer opportunities to convert on third down (largely because of bonehead KC penalties and a 6.4/play average). The Broncos only tried to convert 1 4th down play (and got a touchdown for their troubles), never needing to try again throughout the game.

So, yeah, that 4-4 on 4th down looks great until you consider that it all came from a desperate desire to get back in the game (didn’t work) and then a really desperate desire to find a way to score at least one touchdown before the end of the night (worked just fine).

The reason I say it was lopsided? Your team never seemed to have a chance to win and Denver seemed to be in control the entire time.  To me, that’s the difference: the Broncos never let KC really start right up until the end of the game.

I don’t think that the Broncos are that good (otherwise Miami and the first half of the Chargers game would have been very different) and I don’t think that KC is that bad. The Broncos came out strong, pushed them around, got control of the game early, and really seemed to rattle your team’s players. I mean, even that onside kick late in the game wasn’t even close to being a good attempt. I don’t expect the next meeting to look anything at all like this one.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 07:24 AM

Pet peeve: that Lelie play was an end-around, not a reverse (Madden called it wrong, Michaels got it right). Carry on.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 08:32 AM

Matt, you read Monday Morning QB, eh?

ZB,
It may not sound like it, but we’re in agreement.  I said, “looking at the numbers only”, which is debatable.
What I meant was: if you didn’t watch the game, didn’t read a recap, and just look at the numbers, who would you think had a better game?  Whose numbers would be more likely to be on ESPN’s “top performers”?  Green’s.

That doesn’t mean I think he outplayed Plummer on the field.  He didn’t.  Plummer was able to do just about anything he wanted.

But the reason I don’t think the game was even more lopsided than the score is that the Broncos never let up.  They never stopped passing the ball and using misdirection plays and going after Green...and were still only able to add 13 points in the last 3 quarters.
Now, those 13 points were enough to win the game even without the first quarter, so it’s still a clear domination.
But once KC got down by 17 points, it never got out of hand like it has the past few years.  No 45-17 score (like we scored in KC last year), or no 200+ yards and 5 TDs like Clinton Portis put on us 2 years ago.  Every time you could score, you did, and 30 points is nothing to sneeze at...but it’s not like Green threw 3 INTs, or like anyone on the Broncos offense had a career day.
Which should not diminish a good, solid domination.  And I’m not trying to.
But I can’t see where the Broncos should have had more points.  I don’t agree that this game was more lopsided than the Denver loss to Miami, or the KC defeat of the Jets.  I think it was less.
Let me make sure this horse is truly good and dead by beating it one more time:
When you have a 20-point gap, there is usually an amazingly lopsided statistic, if not several: TOP, or passing yards, or turnovers.  The Broncos had a good rushing edge, but half your rushing yards came on 3 plays, and only Mike Anderson’s came on a significant scoring drive early (the other 2 in the 2nd half --Lelie’s and Bell’s--didn’t really impact the game).
In all respects, Denver’s numbers don’t look dominating, but the score was.  Where did the points come from?
From good solid, play.  Making scoring drives count.  Not getting penalties or turning the ball over.
Denver played a solid game.  A mistake-free game.
Maybe it’s a terminology problem.  When someone says, “The game was even more lopsided than the score,” to me that means that points were left on the field, that the score could have been worse.  Denver was able to do what they wanted and KC wasn’t...but I don’t see where either team left points on the field.  I don’t see where KC could have made it any closer, but I don’t see where Denver could have made it any worse.

Bottom line: if Pryce continues to play like that, the Broncos have apparently resolved the early-season problems and will make a push for the Superbowl.  It looks like they got out-game-planned in the first game by making the mistake of underestimating the Dolphins.  That likely won’t happen again.  The way the Broncos played, it didn’t just look like Shanahan being up for the Chiefs, it looked like your the 2nd half against the Chargers is the real Broncos, not the 1st 6 quarters of the season.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 09:00 AM

I love TMQ. Sorry about being so pedantic, sometimes I can’t help myself.

If I just read that box score, I would think Plummer had a better game. 70% completion for 8.4 yards a pass versus 50% and 5.1? It’s pretty clear, without reading a summary, that Green was on the losing team that had to throw to try to catch up.

I think the real story was Plummer being Plummer. I’d have to look at some stats to be sure, but it seemed like they called a lot more play action roll-outs than in the previous games. I get the idea that he wanted to try to be a pocket passer this year, and it took till the third game for him to give that up.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 09:58 AM

I agree.  Plummer played Plummer’s game.  Whose fault was the first 6 quarters?  Kubiak? Shanahan?

But these last 6 quarters, the Broncos looked good.  AFC Championship Game-level good.

Worries: How bad is Champ Bailey’s hamstring?  Road games.  Running game is definitely down from last year…
But these are all minor concerns, no team is without some questions.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 11:33 AM

I’d blame the first six quarters on Plummer. Sure, Kubiak and Shanahan are calling the plays, but Plummer is their star quarterback with 2nd-year 6th round pick as his backup. If he’d insisted they call Plummer style plays, they probably would have.

This seems to happen to scrambling quarterbacks a lot. At some point in their career they get tired of either getting tackled or getting criticized for not being the prototype NFL QB. Yet very few actually manage to turn that corner. Donovan McNabb is the only one I can think of off-hand.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 12:00 PM

I, for one, am very happy that Jake used up a good deal of bad quarters early in the season....

on Sep 28 2005 @ 08:23 AM

Lord, I hope that’s true.

The man has moments of brilliance--it’s a shame that they’re balanced so regularly by moments of complete brainlessness.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 08:29 AM

It was an impressive game. I’m back up to 8 and 8 for the Broncos with no post season. Anyone want to bet against me?

on Sep 29 2005 @ 06:30 PM

Not me. Like I said to someone at some time earlier this year: the Broncos will probably play well enough to break fans’ hearts whenever they screw up hard enough to keep them out of contention. They’re a great team--except when they aren’t.

on Sep 29 2005 @ 07:19 PM
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