Reid Fischer's World of Rants

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Archive for November, 2010

Week 11 Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 20, 2010

Last Week: 4-9 (Yikes!)  Season: 70-74

Last week was terrible for yours truly.  The good news is that one of my four correct picks was my eliminator selection, which means I am still alive there.  Unfortunately, we’re 0-1 to begin things this week.  I’m not really sure what I was thinking picking Miami, because their offense looked lost and confused on Thursday night.  The Bears defense might actually be that good, but I still think they’re winning in spite of Jay Cutler, not because of him.  Now onto very rapid fire picks because the week totally snuck up on me.

– Bills over Bengals: Minor upset alert.  Look, both teams are terrible.  Call this a hunch more than anything.  Marvin Lewis will need a hug by the time this season is over.

– Patriots over Colts: To me this doesn’t have the luster of previous meetings.  I’m actually not so sure this is going to be close, especially since it’s outside in cold weather on grass.

– Jets over Texans: I still say the Jets are the league’s luckiest team, but this week they host the biggest underachievers in football.  I have officially given up on the Texans, for their record always falls well below their talent level.

– Ravens over Panthers: It’s really too bad I’ve already used Baltimore in the eliminator.  Brian St. Pierre under center against one of the league’s best defenses?  Oh boy.

– Jaguars over Browns: Strangely enough this might be one of the best games of the week.  I really like the way David Garrard is playing right now.  If he keeps it up Sunday the Jags can win this battle of surprises.

– Steelers over Raiders: This is not the gimmie it appeared to be a month ago for the Steel Curtain, but at home I think they will find a way to bounce back from last week’s embarrassment.

– Titans over Redskins: Because I would pick the Redskins to lose to any team after what I saw on Monday night.  That would include most of the top 10 teams in college.  I also think Chris Johnson could be in line for a huge day here.

– Chiefs over Cardinals: Kansas City is unbeaten at Arrowhead, and that’s more than enough against one of the league’s doormats.  I think the Chiefs are actually much better than what they showed last week.

– Cowboys over Lions: This is my eliminator selection this week and I’m frankly a little nervous about it, but Detroit never wins on the road and Dallas looked like a legitimate NFL team again last week under new coach Jason Garrett.

– Packers over Vikings: Brett Favre really has to be regretting his decision to come back.  I sense the Packers are about to make a major run and I still think they have an excellent chance to be the number one seed in the NFC playoffs.

– Falcons over Rams: Atlanta is quietly emerging as a Super Bowl contender.  If they truly are in that category, they shouldn’t slip up here, although St. Louis could potentially make this interesting.

– Saints over Seahawks: New Orleans has been very inconsistent this season, but this is part of a very friendly part of the schedule.  The only question here should be Saints’ margin of victory.

– 49ers over Buccaneers: Mini upset alert.  Tampa Bay has been playing well, but I think the 49ers might be starting to get into their groove, and don’t look now but they might still win the putrid NFC West despite a 1-5 start.

– Eagles over Giants: If Michael Vick keeps playing like he did last week, there aren’t many teams that will be able to slow down the Eagles much less beat them.  The Giants have the offense to keep up, but I like Philly on their home field.

– Chargers over Broncos: I picked against Denver last week and they won, so I’m hoping the trend continues.  However, to be honest, this is a tough matchup for the Broncos trying to slow down Philip Rivers.  I will be curious to see if last week’s emergence of the Broncos’ running game was a fluke.

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Where was THAT all season?!?

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 17, 2010

 

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

 

First I’m going to one more plea to Pat Bowlen: please dispense with the blue jerseys once and for all.  The Broncos belong in orange.  The biggest mistake the Broncos owner has made has nothing to do with coaching changes or player personnel.   It was switching to those blue jerseys in the late 90s.  Orange is the true Broncos color.  The fans want it.  It is time to make the switch back and correct the error.

Secondly, I was going to spend a significant amount of time bashing Chiefs coach Todd Haley for his refusal to shake the hand of Josh McDaniels after the game.  Since Haley has now apologized, I’m not going to waste a significant amount of time on that issue.  I do think it goes without saying that Haley was 100 percent wrong, regardless of anything he thought the Broncos might have done late in the game.  Besides after seeing the lead CU blew against Kansas, I’m willing to say that no lead is ever really truly safe anymore.

Now, as far as the state of the Broncos, it is amazing to think that they are just two games out of first place in the AFC West despite their 3-6 record.  Well, maybe amazing isn’t the right word.  What’s a one word description for “most mediocre division in NFL history”.  Considering the Broncos have four games remaining against division opponents, the optimistic side of me is not ready to write them off just yet.  What we saw Sunday from the Broncos was exactly what we needed to see: a running game that actually gained more than one yard per carry.  The running game was so effective that Knowshon Moreno had a career high rushing day.  It’s no coincidence that this is the first game that featured a healthy offensive line.  The return of Ryan Harris at right tackle was especially critical.  If the Broncos can continue to run with that kind of effectiveness, it is easy to get really excited about the prospects of the offense as a whole.  The way Kyle Orton is throwing and the way Tim Tebow has proved effective around the goal line are all positives, but the running game remains the biggest key.

Defensively, the numbers are a little misleading.  Matt Cassel did have a career high passing day yes, but most of that came during garbage time when the Chiefs were throwing the football on every play.  The important numbers for the Broncos lie in their rushing defense, where Denver held the Chiefs to just 51 yards rushing on 22 carries.  Kansas City came into the game ranked number one in the NFL in rushing, while Denver’s defense ranked 31st.  The Broncos stepped up and held Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones to a combined 2.2 yards per carry.  Mario Haggan also registered three sacks, including one that resulted in a fumble return touchdown by Jason Hunter to give the Broncos an insurmountable 35-0 lead in the second quarter.

The bottom line for the Broncos is that the bye week really did them a lot of good.  They were somehow able to shore up their two biggest areas of weakness, running the football and stopping the run.  Granted, it’s only one game, and we may see the ugliness rear its head again next Monday night in San Diego, but at the very least it allows the Broncos to begin the second half of the season on the right foot.  Is this a Super Bowl contender?  Certainly not.  Are they a playoff team? Highly doubtful.  Only one 2-6 team has rebounded to make the playoffs in NFL history, and that was back in 1970. What I’m hoping is that the Broncos can continue to show improvement each week.  This win against a very good Kansas City team showed what the Broncos can be capable of.  Now, let’s see if they are able to keep it up.

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Week 10 Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 12, 2010

Last week: 7-6 Season: 67-64

I’m off to an 0-1 start this week.  I’m picking the Thursday night games on my Twitter account.  Last night the Falcons made a major statement by beating the Ravens 26-21 in the Georgia Dome.  While I am tempted to rip into the Ravens for their inexplicable use of prevent defense, I instead will give a tip of the cap to Matt Ryan for leading the winning drive for Atlanta in the final minute.  Atlanta proved that they belong in the Super Bowl discussion.  I still think the Ravens do too.  Now, on to the picks.  By the way I am still alive in the eliminator pool thanks to picking the Saints last week (and managing to avoid picking the Patriots as they fell flat on their faces in Cleveland).

– Bills over Lions: Because if the Bills don’t win this game they might very well be looking at 0-16.  They have played hard in recent weeks, and this looks to be a game they might finally be able to win, mainly because Matthew Stafford is once again out for the Lions, already his third injury in his first two seasons.  Detroit has shown they can now compete at home, but I’m still waiting for them to show something away from Ford Field.

– Titans over Dolphins: How will Randy Moss fare in his Titans debut?  Perhaps he’s the only one who truly knows, but the presence of a deep threat in the Titans’ offense can only help Chris Johnson.  Tennessee’s defense has been one of the league’s best against the run this season, and that’s not good news for a Miami team that has seen both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams struggle at times this season.  The Dolphins have still yet to win a home game this season despite outstanding play on the road.

– Browns over Jets: I would say upset alert here, but to be honest I’m not so sure this can really be considered that big of an upset.  I’ll say it again: I’m still not buying the Jets hype.  They were extremely lucky to win last week in Detroit, and likely would have lost had Matthew Stafford not gotten hurt in the fourth quarter.  I think Mark Sanchez is highly overrated and could do a much better job utilizing his weapons on offense.  I also think the Browns may the league’s hottest team, having bumped off the Saints and Patriots the last two games.  Last week I nearly called their win over New England but was too gun shy to pull the trigger.  Not this time.  Peyton Hillis is running well and Colt McCoy doesn’t look like a rookie.  I like the Browns to win this at home.

– Colts over Bengals: This won’t even be a game.  Peyton Manning surely won’t allow the Colts to lose twice in a row, and especially won’t allow them to fall at home in a game where they are a clear favorite.  Despite the injuries around him, he continues to be able to move the offense down the field.  As for Cincy, Carson Palmer no longer looks like an elite quarterback, and the Bengals are so much of a soap opera that I don’t see them beating anyone right now, especially if Chad Ochocinco continues to not catch passes.

– Jaguars over Texans: Please do a favor, next season if I pick the Texans to do anything, please send me a nasty note telling me what an idiot I am.  I really thought that this would finally be the year Houston broke out and became a playoff team, especially when they won their first two games.  The more I watch them however, the more I realize their defense still isn’t very good, and despite all the weapons offensively they continue to woefully underachieve.  Meanwhile David Garrard has played out of his mind this year, and I sense a big breakout game for Maurice Jones-Drew this week.

– Chiefs over Broncos: As much as I want to give my Broncos the benefit of the doubt coming off the bye, I just can’t do it.  I really don’t like the look of this matchup, especially in the wake of leading tackler D.J. Williams getting a DUI last night.  The Chiefs run the ball better than any other team, and pretty soon they will run even better once they realize that Jamaal Charles is twice as effective as Thomas Jones.  The Broncos have been atrocious against the run in each of their past four losses, so from a matchup standpoint this just doesn’t bode well for Denver.  Besides, I have picked the Broncos to win each of their past three games and they have lost them all.  I hope that reversing my pick will also reverse Denver’s fortunes on the field.

– Giants over Cowboys: This should be a popular eliminator pick for anyone, except I have already used the G-men this year.  The Giants are playing as well as anyone in the NFC, thanks to a combination of effective running and passing to go with a defense that is more than doing the job.  The time is long past to take the Giants very seriously as a Super Bowl contender?  Dallas may well play harder for new coach Jason Garrett than they did for Wade Phillips, but it still doesn’t change the fact that Jon Kitna is under center.  That alone makes it impossible to back the Cowboys in a road game right now against anyone.

– Vikings over Bears: Minnesota is a bizarre situation considering that multiple players have anonymously stated that they want Brad Childress fired.  Brett Favre is undoubtedly regretting his decision to come back this season, and the defense still isn’t playing anywhere close to last year’s level.  Despite all that, they managed to get it together and pull off a come from behind win last week against Arizona.  I think regardless of what the players think of Childress, they will still be professionals and show up on Sundays.  For that reason, I pick them to win this game because I think they are much more talented than the Bears at virtually every position.  If the Vikings defense can’t sack and intercept Jay Cutler, than things may indeed be hopeless the rest of the season.

– Buccaneers over Panthers: This is my eliminator selection of the week.  Tampa Bay is rapidly starting to show they may not be a fluke after all.  They came very close to stunning the Falcons in Atlanta last week, and we just saw that same Falcons club prevail against Baltimore last night.  They are quietly running the ball with reasonable effectiveness and are also displaying good defense and special teams play.  My main reason this is the eliminator is because I think Carolina might well be the worst team in football, especially if DeAngelo Williams continues to be out of the lineup due to injury.  Jimmy Clausen is back under center, and the poor rookie still doesn’t seem to get it.  I really feel sorry for Steve Smith, who has to be frustrated that no one on the roster is remotely capable of getting him the ball.

– Cardinals over Seahawks: This is an extremely boring matchup.  Both teams will have poor quarterback play, a lackluster running game, and a subpar defense on display.  I pick to Arizona to win on a gut selection, but I really don’t know as both teams are bad.  Let’s just move on.

– Rams over 49ers: I know the 49ers got the monkey of their back and a got a win before the bye, but something still doesn’t seem right with Mike Singletary’s crew.  I’ll be curious to see if Troy Smith can keep up the surprising play he showed in London, and I’ll also be interested to see how the defense plays against a Rams offense that has been surprisingly effective as the season has progressed.  Sam Bradford has to be considered one of the best rookie prospects in the last five years, and the running game continues to hum along with Steven Jackson.  Call it a hunch, but I think St. Louis steals this one on the road.

– Steelers over Patriots: The Sunday night offering should be a dandy, with two of the best teams squaring off.  Both however are coming off losses in their most recent game, so one of them will have a losing streak by the end of the night.  I think these two teams are so similar on paper in virtually every aspect that it’s tough to isolate a factor that will be the difference in the game.  I think the Steelers run the ball slightly better than New England, and I also like the physicality of their defense.  I think since the game is at Heinz Field, that gives Pittsburgh a slight advantage, but this game may not be decided by much more than a field goal.

– Eagles over Redskins: Talk about two teams moving in opposite directions.  The Eagles looked very impressive in their win over the Colts last week, and as long as Michael Vick continues to play like a legitimate MVP candidate they will be very tough to beat.  The presence of DeSean Jackson also really helps their offense.  The Redskins on the other hand are coming off a bad loss to the Lions, made even worse by Mike Shanahan’s boneheaded decision to insert Rex Grossman under center at the end of the game.  How anyone could think Rex Grossman is a better option than the ball boy, let alone Donovan McNabb, is beyond me.  Reports indicate that Shanahan may have caused a division in the locker room with that move.  If true, Redskins fans should start to expect more losses in the near future.

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Run the Ball!

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 9, 2010

Normally this time of year I tend to focus exclusively on the Broncos, but I’m going to deviate to the college game for a second.  Saturday I was witness to the worst collapse I have ever seen on a football field.  I was at Kivisto Field in Lawrence, Kansas, where the CU Buffs held a 45-17 lead over Kansas with 14;52 left in the fourth quarter.  Here is what transpired:

– A KU 13-yard touchdown capping a 9 play 66 yard drive to cut it to 45-24 with 11:05 left

– A KU onside kick recovery

– A KU 38-yard touchdown pass with 9:26 left, cutting the lead to 45-31.  Drive took just 1:46 in four plays

– A KU fumble return touchdown on a stupid reverse call by the Buffs.  Receiver Toney Clemons fumbled after a 14-yard loss on the trick play.  Now it’s 45-38 and we still have 7:12 to play.  For those not keeping track, that’s 21 KU points in less than seven minutes.  CU had called just one running play and four pass attempts on this drive.

– Two plays later, CU quarterback Cody Hawkins throws an interception.

– KU takes just five plays to march 37 yards for the tying touchdown. We’re now tied at 45 apiece with 4;30 still remaining

– CU goes three and out and punts.  Two of the three plays are passes, one resulting in a sack.

– KU then needs just five plays to go 63 yards for the go ahead touchdown.  The Jayhawks now lead 52-45 with 52 seconds remaining.  They have managed 35 points in the fourth quarter.

– CU launches a furious charge on their final drive, but sees a last ditch shot at the end zone fail.

To recap, the Buffs had a 28-point fourth quarter lead and managed to lose the game.  Certainly the defense played its part in this collapse, and there is no disputing they didn’t do their job in stopping the Kansas offense.  That said, the Buffs called a total of four running plays in the fourth quarter, one of which was the touchdown that put them up 45-17, and another that was the failed reverse resulting in the fumble return TD.  The Buffs’ collapse is simply stunning, and is reflective of boneheaded coaching and clock management.  I’ve never coached a game, yet I know how to properly run down the clock with the lead.  Even if the Buffs ran up the middle for no gain every single play, and went three and out and punted each time, they likely would have won the game by running down that clock and not giving Kansas chances to win.  Instead, they had multiple incomplete passes that stopped the clock, and the throwing also resulted in a costly turnover.  The trick play is worst of all, for there is no reason to take that kind of chance when you have a big lead.

This game should be a case study for coaches at all levels.  I see similar things in the NFL all the time.  Yesterday, the Lions tried a pass play on 3rd and 6 (with a backup QB no less) that proved incomplete in the final two minutes.  Had they run up the middle, even for no gain, they could have taken an additional 40 seconds off the clock before punting and almost certainly would have won the game.  Instead, the clock stopped on the incompletion.  The Jets ended up kicking the tying field goal as time expired.  It certainly stands to reason that had the Lions called a running play instead of the one they did, the Jets would not have had enough time to get in position for that tying field goal.

These are just a few examples, but too many coaches need to remember the basics of football.  A good running game can often lead to success, and is always mandatory at some point.  Especially when nursing a lead, coaches need to remember that running and keeping the clock moving is almost always the key to winning.  Of course coaches’ egos will continue to get in the way of smart thinking, but when holding onto a lead, clock management is extremely vital to success, especially if it’s done by RUNNING THE BALL!!

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Week 8 Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 5, 2010

Last Week: 9-4  Season: 60-57

Evidently last week’s quickie selections provided better results.  I nailed two major upsets (Jacksonville and Green Bay), and I’m still alive in my eliminator pool.  Let’s keep it rolling:

– Bills over Bears: Upset Alert.  This does give me pause because the Bills are stupidly moving their home game to Toronto, which means there could be more Bears fans in the seats.  The Bills are winless in Toronto home games, but they have played really hard the last two games and nearly pulled upsets.  I think they take advantage of Jay Cutler and sneak away with this one.

– Ravens over Dolphins: Miami’s streak of undefeated play on the road should come to an end here.  Baltimore has had a bye week to rest up, and I think their defense will want to rebound from the horrible effort against Buffalo.  I still think the Ravens are the best team in the NFL, and they will prove it on Sunday.

– Patriots over Browns: I almost went with the upset here but ultimately proved gun shy.  The Browns have played surprisingly well with Colt McCoy under center, and after they won in the Superdome two weeks ago I’m not going to put anything past them.  Still, Tom Brady doesn’t generally lose games he’s supposed to win.  I think this will be very close, but I think the Pats will take it.

– Lions over Jets: Major Upset Alert.  For whatever reason, the Lions are very tough to slow down at home.  Especially with Matthew Stafford back, the offense has plenty of weapons to score lots of points.  As for the Jets, I’m still not buying the hype (after all my dreadful Broncos would have beaten them if not for a questionable call), especially after they got shut out on their own field last week.  Call this one a hunch.

– Texans over Chargers: This should be a very entertaining game, and for me this was the toughest to pick.  The Chargers’ offense has looked a lot more like its old self recently, but I think this will be a desperate game for Houston.  The Texans must win home games like this if they aspire to be a playoff team.  I think this will be a shootout, and I like Andre Johnson to make a big play late.

– Colts over Eagles: This is also a very tough pick.  The Eagles will have a huge home crowd behind them, Michael Vick is back under center, DeSean Jackson should be back, so why am I picking Indy?  Peyton Manning.  I’ve just seen too many Colts road games where they struggle early, the home team has a real chance to beat them, and Manning pulls a rabbit out of his hat for the win.  I sense a similar such game unfolding on Sunday.

– Chiefs over Raiders: Who would have thought this would be an AFC West showdown?  I think both offenses will be able to move the ball well in this game, especially the Chiefs, who have seemed to find some harmony between Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.  Darren McFadden will also get his yards for the Raiders, but if Zach Miller is still hobbled it could really hurt their passing game.  I think Kansas City pulls this out on the road and starts to put their stamp on the division.

– Giants over Seahawks: The Giants have quietly put one of the NFC’s best records together.  Their running game is outstanding and their defense hasn’t broke yet.  The Seahawks are starting Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback.  This could get ugly in a hurry.  Even though they’re on the road, I’m taking the G-men in a blowout.

– Vikings over Cardinals: The Randy Moss saga proves just how messed up things are in Minnesota.  Even if Brett Favre manages to stay upright all year, the defense needs to shore up its gaping holes fast if they want to get back in the race.  Fortunately for them, they get a home game against one of the league’s struggling teams this week.  Minnesota may not be good right now, but Arizona is worse.

– Falcons over Buccaneers: Tampa Bay has to rank as one of the league’s biggest surprises at 5-2.  This game will tell us a lot about whether that record is a mirage or if we have a surprise playoff threat on our hands.  The Falcons have one of the league’s most dynamic offenses, and they’ll need to solve what has been one of the best defenses in this one.  I think Roddy White will have another big day and that will be enough to give Atlanta the win.

– Saints over Panthers: This is my eliminator selection for this week.  New Orleans looked like they were back last week, especially defensively, in an impressive win over the Steelers.  The schedule is shaping nicely for the defending champs, who get their bye following this one.  Carolina is frankly not very good, regardless of who is under center.  This week it will be Matt Moore who gets to struggle again.

– Packers over Cowboys: The Sunday night game looked good on paper before the season started.  Now it won’t be much more than a blowout win for the host Packers.  Dallas is in big trouble, partially because the offense is worse with Jon Kitna at quarterback, but mostly because the defense is embarrassingly bad.  That means that this week is a chance for Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay offense to have a rebound week and to get some confidence back.

– Steelers over Bengals: This is a rivalry that has been really one sided most of the time.  Cincinnati managed to break through with a win last year, but this year’s Bengals don’t have a lot going for them.  Terrell Owens is putting up monster numbers, but he’s the only one.  I think the odds of Pittsburgh losing two games in a row are less than none, so I pick them for that reason alone.  The fact that it’s against their big rival could make this a blowout and horrible fourth quarter ratings for ESPN.

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Bad Football in London

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 1, 2010

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

I know I’m in the minority on this, but I think the NFL London game is just a really bad idea.  I think it’s absolutely unfair to team giving up the home game, and I just think it’s a real distraction for both teams.  Road trips in the NFL are hard enough without adding several thousand miles to them, not to mention jet lag.  If the NFL wants to play preseason games overseas, fine, no problem, but I think it’s too much to ask teams to fly to England in the middle of October to play a regular season game, even if they do get the bye week after to recover.  Of course it’s inevitable the games will continue. Every game over there has gotten huge crowds, and Roger Goodell is strongly considering playing more than one game a season in England.  What I can’t believe is that the league would be foolish enough to put a franchise in London.  The travel just wouldn’t make any sense for anyone.  The bottom line is the league needs to do a better job taking care of its fans at home, particularly with a lockout looming and frequent non-sellouts around the league.

I do think the 49ers handled the situation much better than the Broncos.  San Francisco flew out immediately after their loss to Carolina.  They had a full week to acclimate and get adjusted.  The Broncos waited until Thursday afternoon to leave Denver, asking players to sleep on the plane Thursday night, and not arriving in London until Friday morning.  I’ve never traveled overseas, but everyone I’ve talked to who has says you need to several days to get used to the new surroundings.  I had one person tell me the third day is always the worst.  The Broncos’ third day in England was game day.

Perhaps the fatigue of travel was one reason the entire first half was frankly a display of bad, boring football by both teams.  The 49ers’ offense looked lost most of the half with Troy Smith under center, and wasn’t helped when star tight end Vernon Davis left the game due to injury.  The Broncos offense was even worse, settling for a punt in each of their five first half possessions.  I’m sure NFL didn’t have a 3-0 halftime score in mind when they picked this matchup to export to London.

Now that we got that out of the way, I want to make it clear I am by no means using this as an excuse for the Broncos’ loss.  For starters, the Broncos had two touchdowns wiped out by penalty.  The first one was a chop block called on Knowshon Moreno that ruined a perfect flea flicker touchdown to Jabar Gaffney.  The second was a block in the back that nullified an Eddie Royal punt return TD.  I can’t honestly say that I have an issue with either call, although Moreno didn’t have any intent whatsoever to chop block.  Unfortunately, intent isn’t part of the rule, and the officials did call it correctly.  This is a reflection of something that has plagued the Broncos all year: bad mistakes at critical moments in games.  The Gaffney TD would have given Denver a 14-3 lead.  Instead, they ended up settling for a field goal.  San Francisco went on to score a touchdown and tie the game on the ensuing drive, completely seizing any momentum that the Broncos would have had.

The Broncos also shot themselves in the foot on other occasions.  A Kyle Orton fumble in the fourth quarter led to a short field for the 49ers and what proved to be the winning touchdown.  A missed extra point by Matt Prater didn’t help matters when the Broncos were trying to mount their comeback in the fourth quarter.  Once again the Broncos were unable to get their running game going.  Moreno led the way with just 40 yards on 11 carries.  The Broncos ran the ball only 17 times compared to 40 pass attempts.  That kind of ratio is never a good idea for success.  The 49ers on the other hand continued to hand off to Frank Gore, and it paid off for 118 yards and a touchdown.  Orton ended up throwing for 369 yards for the Broncos, but in the end the lack of a running game proved to be fatal again.

The Broncos are now 2-6 at the bye week, the worst they’ve been at the halfway point since the dreadful 1999 season, which happened to be the first year post-Elway.  The Broncos ended that year 6-10, but they will really have to pick up the pace to even hit that mark this season.  During the bye week the top priority has to be figuring out the running game.  I’m not going to put all the blame on the backs, for the offensive line has been mediocre at best all year as well.  Without a running game, it really doesn’t matter what kind of passing numbers Kyle Orton puts up.  The defense has actually been ok most of the season, the Raiders game notwithstanding.  Josh McDaniels’ job is safe for now, but that could depend on whether or not the Broncos are a much better team in the second half of the season than they were in the first.

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