Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Defense saves day again, and so does Marshall

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 5, 2009

MarshallI feel like in a lot of ways I could just cut and paste my recap the Oakland and incorporate it here to review the Broncos’ 17-10 win against the Cowboys.  For starters, the Broncos would not have won this game without another terrific performance by the defense.  I don’t care who they’ve played (frankly I’m not so sure Dallas is a playoff caliber team, but even the most skeptical of national pundits have to start giving Denver’s defense its due).  The Broncos are allowing a mere 6.5 points per game through their first four.  That’s less than a touchdown per game folks.  You’re going to win a lot of games if you keep doing that.  The Broncos once again won the turnover battle (2-1), managed to hold the Cowboys to just 74 yards rushing (this after Dallas came into the game ranked number one in rushing, having gone over 200 yards in each of their previous two games).  sacked Tony Romo five times (including two more from Elvis Dumervil, who now has a staggering 8 on the season).  and most importantly stepped up big in the final sequence of the game.  Dallas had first and goal at the 8 with less than a minute to play, and the Broncos managed to keep Dallas out of the end zone thanks to Champ Bailey, who knocked passes away in the end zone on third and fourth down.

There is no question that the entire defense has really outperformed all expectations set for them at the start of the season.  I remember back in April when virtually everyone was criticizing them left and right for not focusing on the front seven in the draft (for the record the one guy they did take, Robert Ayers, had a sack against the Cowboys).  The Broncos have answered all the questions about the front seven by doing an outstanding  job against the run and getting pressure on the quarterback.  The secondary has also been great, with Bailey having a nice bounce back season so far after a below par season a year ago.  The additions of Andre Goodman and Renaldo Hill have also been solid, and Brian Dawkins’ leadership has been the glue that has held the secondary and indeed the entire defense together so far.

While there is no question that the defense was the biggest reason the Broncos’ won the game against Dallas, the play of the game was courtesy of none other than Brandon Marshall, who up until last week had been virtually non existent from the Broncos’ offensive attack and was quickly building a reputation of selfishness for his behavior on and off the field.  With less than two minutes to go in the game, Marshall made an acrobatic catch on a high throw by Kyle Orton, outleaping Cowboys cornerback Terrence Newman to snag the ball.  Then, Marshall took off running and showed why he has the potential to be a truly elite receiver in the NFL.  With no fewer than five white Cowboys jerseys surrounding him, Marshall made several juke moves worthy of a video game, stayed on his feet through several changes in direction, and managed to race untouched into the end zone for what ultimately would be the winning touchdown.  This kind of play is the reason the Broncos kept putting up with Marshall in the offseason.  The Broncos know what kind of talent he is and what kind of receiver he can be.  If this is the Brandon Marshall the Broncos will get the rest of the season, this team could be in line for some very special things indeed.

Some other thoughts from Denver’s win over the Cowboys:

– The Broncos are now one of four teams to begin the year 4-0 (the Saints, Giants and Colts are the other three).  While this is no guarantee for future success (see the Bills last year, starting 4-0 and completely flaming out), it generally is a good harbinger of a playoff berth, provided the Broncos can keep up their current level of play against a schedule that is getting tougher by the week.

– I think many national folks and even Broncos fans have to now start giving Josh McDaniels the benefit of the doubt.  I was appalled at predictions of 4-12 and 3-13 for this team at the start of the season.  Clearly there is no way now that anyone with any credibility cab say that this team will win less than 8 games.

– The Broncos do need more production from their other receivers going forward the rest of the way.  Eddie Royal caught just two passes for 16 yards Sunday, while Jabar Gaffney caught just one pass for eight yards.  They did get three catches each from Tony Scheffler and Daniel Graham, but the leading receiver was actually Correll Buckhalter with five.  The Broncos will need more production from their receivers in the long run.

– Kyle Orton continues to quietly post decent numbers.  Sunday: 20-29 for 243 yards and two touchdowns, no turnovers.  Orton has still yet to turn it over in four games.  It’s really hard to argue against him right now, especially the Broncos keep winning with him under center.

– The number of penalties against both teams Sunday was definitely on the high side (10 against the Broncos, 7 against the Cowboys).  This is obviously something that needs to be cleaned up for both teams going forward.

– I think the Cowboys are a tough team to figure out.  They have a big, physical offensive line and can run the ball effectively.  However, Tony Romo showed the full range of his inconsistency on Sunday, making a great play on a 4th and 3 late to keep the Cowboys alive, but also missing several open receivers earlier in the game.  I did find it odd that Romo was not communicating with his receivers during the fourth quarter, instead opting to sit by himself on the sideline between series.

– I find it to be interesting irony that Mike Shanahan could be coaching the Cowboys in 2010.  I do think Dallas has a chance to compete for a playoff spot this season, but it also wouldn’t shock me if they finish 8-8.  If they miss the playoffs again, does Wade Phillips keep his job?  It will certainly make for interesting rumor going forward.

– Big game again for the Broncos on Sunday, as they host the Patriots.  McDaniels against Belichick. The Broncos revamped defense against Brady and Moss.   Throwback jerseys.  It sounds like a broken record, but it will be another opportunity for the Broncos to make a statement.

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One Response to “Defense saves day again, and so does Marshall”

  1. Doug Baker said

    Hey, that should be a real tough game next week against the Broncos! It should air here so I will be watching. Good luck! Well, not really…I hope the Broncos lose of course, but you know what I mean. 🙂

    I posted my comments about the games this week, so if you get a chance check it out. I got to see the Denver v Cowboys games. Nice write up.

    I’m really bummed with Eddie Royal, he’s on my fantasy football team and getting me basically nothing so far and I am thin at receiver. After next week, I hope he steps it up. I think he’s going to ride the proverbial pine on my team this week.

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