This is a continuing segment in which I go back for a second viewing of every Denver Broncos game. While the first time I watch I am engrossed in the game, the second time around I really try to pinpoint patterns and momentum changes that could become important as the season goes on.
Going into the New York Giants game, I did not predict a Denver victory on the road. Now I am questioning more and more which games the Broncos will struggle winning. I outline some of those reasons below.
Broncos False Start and Stop
On the opening kickoff, that is the way Trindon Holliday always needs to fumble. No one was near him when he coughed up the ball. At the end of the year, he needs to be ahead on the turnover/touchdown ratio.
The first drive clicking early was really encouraging. The mixture of receivers for Peyton Manning is really hard to keep track of. In fantasy, people get mad at collective running backs, but the Broncos have more collective targets than anyone else. Adding Knowshon Moreno (or another running back) and Andre Caldwell to the passing game of Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas really deflates everyone’s fantasy numbers. We’re still looking for the rumored Holliday receiving package as well.
The Caldwell catch was very impressive to get the Broncos within the five yard line. Of course Montee Ball fumbled for the touchback. And the Giants gain all the momentum in this game early. I really didn’t think Ball would return to the game after this one.
Eli’s pass to Victor Cruz was impressive, but that was not Chris Harris’ fault. He had nice coverage against one of the most dynamic receivers in the league. Harris’ was caught off guard a few times, but he’s not Champ Bailey. Big plays are going to come from time to time. It didn’t hurt the Broncos too badly as the defense recovered quickly from the big opening play. Broncos regain momentum.
I was really creeped out by Phil Sims example of how to hold a football to highlight the Giants’ issues the previous week. There’s a rule in broadcasting that viewers don’t like when people look at the camera unless they’re talking to the audience. I didn’t like looking Sims in the eye. Thanks for that CBS.
The Manning brother’s storyline has been brought up twice since kickoff, with 7:41 remaining. On the Broncos next drive, Nantz brings up the Manning Bowl and we get a graphic. Then, after an unsuccessful drive, they go to the sideline reporter talking about the Manning’s. That’s four times.
On the Giants next play, Vickerson breaks through the line. One of the best storylines so far is the dynamic nature of the defensive line without Von Miller. You have to hope they don’t ease up when Miller comes back from his vacation. It’s possible that the defense, already beat up after six games, will not function on such a high level and let Miller do more of the work. For more on this, read Bill Simmons’ articles on the Patrick Ewing theory
CBS now had a graphic on which sports the two brothers were better at according to the other.
More of the Same For Broncos
I really expected this game to be high scoring, but Broncos are on their third drive with just over two minutes left in the first and they are without points. However, it still feels like the Broncos have more momentum, until Decker drops a quick pass. He just turns his head before he gets the ball. I really don’t have an explanation for Decker; other than he thinks he’s Demariyus.
On the next Giants drive Ayers is able to break through and take down Jacobs behind the line. The Broncos seem much better with their run defense early in the season. Not something we saw last year often.
Knowshon Moreno’s run to score the Broncos first touchdown was impressive. He had to fend off a guy from ahead and behind to make it to the end zone. He’s running more confidently than I’ve seen before. He has become the least dynamic running back with Willis McGahee gone, but he blocks, passes and finds the yards, which is what Manning needs.
Victor Cruz gets the first illegal touching penalty of the game. Let’s come up with other names for that penalty? Illegal exiting, illegal playmaking, something else… Okay, illegal touching is still pretty fun. It’s the kind of penalty a Mom would call to the back seat of a minivan when her children won’t stop poking each other.
On the Broncos next drive, Thomas catches a pass and runs for the first down before the penalty negates play. Thomas is constantly moving from side to side with his body when running. It’s part of his greatness as a receiver; defenses don’t know what to do with him.
Broncos go three and out again. Through the first 20 minutes of the game, there was no real offensive chemistry outside of the Broncos failed first drive. Not the game I was expecting; a low scoring affair early.
If Myers doesn’t fall down on Giants drive inside Broncos territory and they score a touchdown. Instead Randle fumbles on the next play, but Ienacho makes a mistake with a bad hit on a receiver. Woodyard made a great play on the ball, but Broncos still able to limit the damage as New York can’t convert again on third down. The Broncos defense needs credit for that, as much as Eli’s failings in the game.
Man this game was boring in the first half. Not a lot of great plays on either end. The Broncos had a couple more drops and have to punt again. I get that in Denver we are spoiled by the theatrics of Peyton and company, still, this is not the kind of football that makes the game enjoyable
Manning-Manning mentioned in ad break, I think that’s six times in the first half. Then right after break, their stats are compared so far in the game.
Cruz awarded a 15-yard penalty for “acting” as the Chris Harris hold was not obvious. It sparks the Giants drive down the field. This is really the only time in the game that it felt like New York might break through.
Woodyard makes a nice tackle on one side of the field on Wilson and then goes to the other side of the field to break up a pass and stall the Giants drive. He’s becoming the heart of the defense.
We are now treated with a nice feature on Peyton and Eli through the years complete with pictures of each. I get that it’s cool that they are brothers and it’s a nice story, but the broadcast using it as a crutch is lazy journalism more than anything else. There is more to both of these teams than the brother’s rivalry. These are two premier franchises in the NFL.
We finally get some action with the Broncos two-minute drill. Manning is like a machine in his execution. I bet the drill is even fun to do against the defense in practice. His receivers are a different story. He doesn’t quite have Welker and Julius up to speed within the 30-yard line. Welker dropped two balls and they have to rely on a Prater field goal.
Eli’s first interception was really bad. There were three Broncos as Rogers-Cromartie made the reception. Poor Eli.
Right before the start of the second half I get football on my phone and the Mannings sharing a room last time they visited. We’re to ten mentions before a comparison of the two quarterbacks in the first half.
Trevathin Sack. Maybe the Giants offensive line is not helping Eli Manning out that much. Quarterbacks often don’t get the benefit of the doubt with a poor offensive line. I think that smart football people other than myself should really measure who has the best offensive line each week.
Welker just keeps the middle open so well on the touchdown. He has not been perfect yet with Manning, but he adds an element they did not have last year. Replacing Brandon Stokley with Welker is the difference between a shovel and bulldozer at times. Don’t want to get in the way of that.
The four penalty drive really could have changed the momentum. The flag sequence inside the five was incredible. Cromartie did not turn the receiver. Knighton was engaged with Jacobs, but didn’t do anything really. Knighton is huge by the way; he looks like he’s being blown up to focus on him at times.
Moreno made a great play to scoop up the fumble after Thomas may have fumbled. Manning ran up to the line to get the next play off. The Broncos, with Manning, is just smarter than any other team. He is always acutely aware of what’s going on the field.
A thought on Manning, perhaps he’s a better quarterback now because he has to be smarter than everyone else. He’s always been one of the best football minds in the game, but now he can’t rely on skill alone all the time. Not that it was a crutch before, but now he’s more about outsmarting the defense, which may be his biggest strength.
The Moreno running game cannot be understated in its importance in the coming weeks. With the injury to Ryan Clady for the season, this could really help buy Manning time if the defense is able to break through Clady’s replacement, Chris Clark. Hopefully Moreno can stay healthy. Julius Thomas may be taken out of the passing game if Clady cannot be replaced on the offensive line.
The Carter to Harris interception recovery was stuff of legend. I really like Hochman’s video reenactment at Dove Valley this week. Sometimes it’s about being the luckiest team too.
Holliday heads to the endzone. There is nothing more to say. Game over, except for the ensuing injury.
Every time Rahim Moore does something good I smile a bit. His interception was what he was trying to do in that fateful Baltimore game. He had a good hit on Nicks a little later, which should not have been a personal foul.
I didn’t remember that someone has actually fallen on Clady for the injury. I thought it was a spike or something. Clady handles pain better than anyone else. I’ve seen a lot of season ending injuries. No one was that calm. The lisfranc is named for Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin who performed an amputation on the injury during the Napoleonic wars. Thank you modern medicine, but once again we can blame the French for inventing such an injury.
The Broncos move on to Monday Night Football against Oakland.