What We Learned About The Denver Broncos
Last night, the Denver Broncos defeated the Baltimore Ravens 49-27. The game started out very competitive, as Peyton Manning and the offense struggled to find their groove. The defense had a tough time putting pressure on Joe Flacco early on.
The 1st half reminded me of the Broncos of the early 2012 season. Slow starts. Dumb mistakes. Flukey plays. And then the Broncos put the entire NFL on notice in the 2nd half, as Peyton Manning put on a clinic, tossing 5 TDs. He ended the game by tying an NFL record that has stood for 44 years, tossing 7 TD passes.
Here’s what we learned about the 2013 Denver Broncos:
I think that Peyton Manning is going to have an unbelievable statistical season. He has a very good shot of breaking Tom Brady’s single season TD record of 50. In 2004, Peyton set the NFL record for TD passes, by passing Dan Marino’s record of 48 TDs. Peyton tossed 49. That record stood for 3 years, and then Brady broke it.
I think Peyton eclipses the 5,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. There are just too many weapons. If Defenses want to double his outside receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, then Peyton will find the inside guys, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. Welker and Thomas each scored 2 TDs last night. It was unreal. I can’t wait to see what Peyton accomplishes in 2013.
What have I been saying since day 1? I’ve been saying that when the chips go down and the games matter, it’ll be Moreno in with the first team. And last night proved me right. He can pass protect, he can rush, and he’s one of the best RBs in the NFL at catching passes out of the backfield.
However, when the Broncos tried to ice the game by running the ball and killing the clock, they gave the rock to Montee Ball. I think each week, Ball will have an increased role. But for now, Moreno is the man.
Wes Welker and Julius Thomas
It is going to be impossible to stop the Broncos’ passing attack. Wes Welker had a bit of an off night, muffing a punt in the 2nd quarter, which gave the Ravens the ball on the 1 yard line. But in the passing game, he and Manning had a full on mind meld going on. 9 receptions, 67 yards, 2 TD.
Julius Thomas exploded onto the NFL scene last night. And it’s been a long time coming. He made a HUGE difference for the Broncos’ Offense. He’s tough to cover. He’s too fast for Linebackers, and too big and physical for Corner Backs. 5 receptions, 110 yards, 2 TD.
Shaun Philips & Robert Ayers
The Broncos pass rush started off slow. Joe Flacco had plenty of time to throw in the 1st half and he took advantage of it, picking the Broncos apart. But when the Broncos’ Offense exploded in the 2nd Half and took a multiple TD lead, it gave the Defense the opportunity to pin their ears back and go after Flacco. Shaun Phillips came up huge with 2.5 sacks. Ayers clocked 1 sack.
The benefit of playing with a lead is going to pay dividends for the Broncos’ pass rush. Right now, John Elway looks like a genius for passing on the big dollar pass rushers like Freeney and Abraham, and going with Shaun Phillips.
DRC pitched a shut out last night. He had an unbelievable game. He shut down Torrey Smith. I shudder to think of the possibilities when Champ Bailey returns to the field. DRC & Champ on the outside and Harris (who had a very good game) on the inside, promises to be one of the best CB triumvirates in the NFL. DRC is fast, he’s long, he’s tough, and in Jack Del Rio’s system, he could have an ALL-PRO level year.
Ihenacho was flying all over the field last night. He empitomizes the word “explosive”. He has elite closing speed. And he just pops off the screen when you watch the Broncos play. It seemed like he had his nose in 80% of the Broncos’ tackles last night and the stats agree. He led the Broncos with 12 tackles. I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes when he really settles into his position on the first team.
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