Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

WOW!

Posted by mizzou1028 on September 15, 2008

I still can’t believe that game.  The fact that the Broncos own a 2-0 record and just beat the defending division champs is the tip of the iceberg.  Where to begin?  Is the story the big numbers put up by the offense?  Even at that, is the focus on a career passing day for Jay Cutler, a franchise record for receptions in a game by Brandon Marshall, or the clutch play of Eddie Royal?  Is it the clutch drive at the end of game, culminating in a wild two point conversion to take the lead?  Is the story the officiating crew of Ed Hochuli giving the Broncos a huge break in the game’s final 90 seconds?  The answer is probably some combination of the above, all winding together to result in one of the most exciting finishes in Broncos history. 

Mike Shanahan certainly showed a lot of gusto going for the two point conversion and the win, and on the top of that running the exact same playused to score the touchdown.  It’s extremely rare that a coach will elect to roll the dice with a two point play as opposed to kicking the extra point and playing for overtime.  This is the kind of out of the box thinking that made Shanahan a great coach in the first place.  He is telling his team with that decision that he is going for it this year.  He is telling them that he believes this offense can get the job done.  He has confidence that his team can get three tough yards and convert the two point play with the game on the line.  This could very well end up paying more dividends than just a two point conversion to win a game.  This could have a positive impact on the entire season, giving the offense confidence that they can get the job done, even in adverse circumstances. 

The Broncos’ offense through two games is averaging 40 points a game, which is obviously phenomenal.   Even in the Super Bowl championship years, the offense never consistently lit it up to quite that degree.  This might actually be the first year of the Mike Shanahan era where the running game isn’t the primary focus of the offense.  If the first two games are any indication, the Broncos are really opening it up this year.  Jay Cutler seems extremely confident in his third year, completing 70 percent of his passes through two games for 650 yards, 6 touchdowns and only 1 pick.  Brandon Marshall shattered the team’s single game reception record yesterday with 18 grabs against the Chargers.  Eddie Royal is looking a star through two games in the other wide receiver spot.  Tony Scheffler is evoking memories of Shannon Sharpe at the tight end position.  It is clear that passing seems to be the Broncos’ primary mode of attack this year.  They did get good hard running yesterday from Andre Hall and Selvin Young, and I still think Ryan Torian will be in the picture somewhere when he returns from injury, but this could be the first Mike Shanahan team not to be focused primarily on running the ball.  Regardless, this is one of the best offenses in football in the early going.

The defense and special teams on the other hand has some serious issues.  Darren Sproles alone carved the Broncos up yesterday for a 102 yard kickoff return touchdown and a 66-yard touchdown reception.  Granted, Sproles is a heck of a player, and on both of those plays he had more than enough speed to blow by everyone.  That aside, giving up big plays were the Broncos’ biggest Achilles heel last season, and early on it seems like it could be rearing its ugly head again.  In some ways it’s hard to get a good read on the Broncos performance when you see they held LaDainian Tomlinson to 26 yards on 10 carries.  A closer look though reveals that Tomlinson played with a bum toe, and Sproles rushed for 7.6 yards a carry in addition to his two big scoring plays.  The Broncos also gave up a 48-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers and watched their defense give up scores on FIVE consecutive possessions.  If the Broncos want to be an elite team in the league, they need to shore that up in a hurry.  Even next week’s game against the Saints poses a big challenge with threats like Reggie Bush, so the defense will definitely need to get better.

A quick thought on the Jay Cutler fumble that was ruled incomplete in the waning moments: yes, it did look a fumble to me.  That being said, Ed Hochuli did the only thing he could do given the rules.  Since the whistle had blown, he couldn’t give the ball to San Diego.  The Chargers probably should be upset about the ruling, but they still had an opportunity to stop the Broncos on fourth down, and on the two point conversion.  Even after that, they still had time for a quick drive to get in field goal range.  The Broncos should not apologize for winning this game, and if the Chargers believe they were wronged, they should have sucked it up and made a stop.  Since they didn’t do that, the Broncos have nothing to apologize about.

The bottom line is the Broncos are 2-0, and are in sole possession of first place in the AFC West.  Thing is, they were in the exact same position a year ago, so nothing is assured yet by any means.  The Giants started 0-2 last year and won the Super Bowl, so everything should be taken with a grain of salt.  I do think this year definitely has a more positive vibe overall for the Broncos than last year, and it certainly looks like they will definitely be playing into January this season if their current play keeps up.

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One Response to “WOW!”

  1. Angie said

    I think the other story this morning should be the Broncos’ red zone defense. This is something they really struggled with the last couple years and, while the Chargers did score on five consecutive possessions, the defense held them to field goals on at least two of those which certainly did make a difference in the end!

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