Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

How’s that For Openers?!?

Posted by mizzou1028 on September 9, 2008

Wow.  That’s all I have to say after watching the Broncos absolutely trash the Oakland Raiders last night to cap off week one.  I certainly didn’t expect a 41-14 blowout win.  Sure, I am always an optimist about my team and always can come up with a reason why they will win, but I sure didn’t expect complete domination to that degree.  Only on one other occasion in their history have the Broncos scored more points in an opener (I still remember that day vividly. I was sitting in the south stands as a sixth grader when the Broncos trounced the Bengals at Mile High.)  Sure, they were playing the Raiders, who true to their tradition kept shooting themselves in the foot, but it is impossible to not be optimistic and excited as a Broncos fan after their effort last night.  Taking into account everything that happened around the league in week one, I am more convinced than before that the Broncos will return to the playoffs.  If they can can score 41 points without Brandon Marshall, imagine when he’s back next week. 

Eddie Royal’s performance last night was phenomenal: nine catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, all while going against one of the league’s premier corners in D’Angelo Hall, who received a $66 million contract from the Raiders in the offseason.  The Broncos certainly look like they have a steal in the draft in Royal, who when paired with Brandon Marshall should be even more explosive.  Throw in Tony Scheffler, who came up with a huge 72 yard catch last night, and Darrell Jackson, who caught a 48 yard touchdown pass, and Jay Cutler certainly doesn’t have a shortage of targets.  The running game should benefit from the weapons in the passing game, and the offensive line seems in better shape than last year.  It is a testament to rookie left tackle Ryan Clady that you didn’t hear his name called at all last night.  That means Clady did his job, not allowing a sack and not getting called for a penalty all night. 

Defensively the Broncos weren’t spectacular, but they got the job done.  The Raiders gashed them on the ground in two games last year to the tune of 185 yards per game.  Last night they rushed for 150, which is a slight improvement, but the Raiders still ran for over five yards a carry.  The Broncos will have to shore that up, and will get a good test next week with LaDainian Tomlinson.  The Broncos certainly took advantage of the opportunities presented to them by the Raiders’ ineptitude offensively, and that’s part of what a defense needs to do.  They did get good pressure on JaMarcus Russell a number of times, which is something they weren’t able to do last year.  As the season goes on though, the Broncos will need to make sure they can consistently stop the run and put pressure on the QB.  Last night the run wasn’t much of a factor for the Raiders because the Broncos jumped out to an early lead, but the Broncos will need to stop the run in order to win close games. 

The Broncos have a huge game next week with San Diego coming into Mile High.  The Broncos are the only team in the AFC West with a win in week one.  Just one week into the season, the Broncos find themselves in a conference where the defending champion Patriots have lost their MVP quarterback for the year, the perennial powerhouse Colts looked confused in a week one loss, the chic pick Jaguars got stunned in their first game, and the favorites in their own division, the Chargers, lost on the last play in their first game.  The AFC is wide open for the taking, and the Broncos find themselves in the thick of it with a number of other teams.  This should definitely be a wild ride in the NFL this year.

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