Wednesday, December 28, 2011
As a result, three players have recorded 17.0 or more sacks this season, as opposed to zero last year and one in 2009. Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller and defensive end Elvis Dumervil have combined for 21.0 sacks this season, with 9.5 of them coming from Dumervil over the past eight weeks.
On Sunday in Denver, two of the AFC's top rushers — Miller and Kansas City's Tamba Hali — will face off a month before playing as teammates in the NFL's Annual All-Star Game in January. If the Broncos win on Sunday, they'll clinch the AFC West and their first post-season appearance since the 2005 season.
The winner of Sunday's game may be the team that applies the most pressure on defense. During Denver's five game winning streak from Week 9 through Week 13, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was sacked six times. Over the past three weeks, Tebow has been sacked 13 times and Denver has gone 1-2.
When the Broncos started the year 1-4, quarterback Kyle Orton was sacked nine times. Over the past two weeks, Orton has been sacked just once and the Chiefs have gone 1-1, defeating the Green Bay Packers before losing to the Oakland Raiders a week later in overtime.
The Broncos and Chiefs — as well as every other team in the NFL — perform best when their quarterbacks are protected. When Denver and Kansas City met in Week 11, the game was somewhat of a run-fest. While the same may be true this week, the team that disrupts the opposing quarterback the most will come out on top if recent trends continue.
When the Broncos were defeated in Buffalo last week, it marked the first time in Tebow's career that he had lost back-to-back games as a Pro — he has never lost three consecutive games.
“At the end of the day it comes down to beating the man across from you and us executing well,” Defensive end Robert Ayers said on Wednesday. Ayers has recorded career highs in sacks this season (2.0), benefiting from Denver's disruptive pass rush.
Last season, the Broncos recorded a league-low 23 sacks. This season, under defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, Denver's defense has recorded the seventh most sacks (40), following Dumervil's return from injury and the arrival of Miller via last April's draft.
Forcing Orton to make mistakes and preventing Tebow from committing mistakes will be Denver's keys to victory on Sunday. A victory over the Chiefs or an Oakland loss will win the division for the Broncos.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011
“It’s always exciting when you have guys going to the Pro Bowl,” Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway told DenverBroncos.com on Tuesday. “They’re three guys that are very deserving.”
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
In six career games against the Broncos, Brady has a win-loss record of 1-5 (1-6 if you include the playoffs) and a stat sheet of 134-of-236 (56.8%) for 1,517 yards and ten touchdowns against five interceptions. Against the Broncos, Brady's 96.2 career passer rating drops to 81.5.
Needless to say, Brady has had little success against the Broncos in the past, and respects the team. On Sunday in Denver, Brady will face off against the Broncos again, and second-year quarterback Tim Tebow.
“They play for 60 minutes. They’ve obviously closed a lot of games and finished very well. We have a huge test. We’ll all be excited, and hopefully have a good week of preparation and be ready to go,” Brady said earlier in the week.
Brady only had praise for Tebow, “Everyone says he struggles throwing the ball. What I saw [Sunday] night, he had no problems throwing the ball,” Brady said. “He threw the ball extremely well when I was watching.”
History may be on their side (Denver owns a 25-16 all-time record against New England), but the Broncos are taking this week's game extremely seriously, with as much respect for Brady — if not more — than Brady has for the Broncos.
"(The Patriots) are a very potent offense," Fox said. "They're a very good football team, that's why they're 10-3. They've got world championships. They're well-coached. They have outstanding personnel. There's no doubt it will be a big test."
To try and slow down Brady and the Patriots potent offense, Denver will frequently blitz star linebacker Von Miller, who leads all rookies with 11.5 sacks this season.
“He’s really an impressive player. I haven’t seen anybody any better than him on film,” said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. “He does everything well. He plays the run well; he’s strong; he’s very explosive; he’s fast. He's as good as anybody we’ve faced all year.”The Patriots offense is averaging 30.5 points a game this season and the Broncos offense knows that they'll have to bring their A-game.
"We want to go down and score a touchdown or get a field goal and take pressure off our defense because they have been amazing," receiver Eric Decker said. "Field position is a big part of football."
On the defensive side of the ball, New England has not been as impressive. The Patriots have allowed the most yards through the air this season (308.7 a game) and will be featuring former Bronco defenders Gerard Warren, Niko Koutouvides and Nate Jones on Sunday.
Nonetheless, the Broncos know New England's defense will show up. "We don't spend a lot of time in stats," Fox said. "You look at results, and they're 10-3 as a football team. They've done a great job with takeaways (plus-9 in giveaways-takeaways). They're a very formidable opponent."
Denver is on a six-game win streak; New England is on a five-game win streak. One of those streaks will end on Sunday. If it's the Patriots' streak that ends, the Broncos will emerge as one of the top teams in the AFC playoff race.
Monday, December 12, 2011
So, following their 13-10 defeat, the Bears' stayed classy — or not.
"What Tebow did wasn't anything special," said defensive end Julius Peppers. Well, if leading five comeback wins in eight games is nothing special, then yes, Peppers hit the nail on the head.
Chicago's middle linebacker Brian Urlacher added, "He's a good running back." Well, 48 rushing yards isn't exactly "good running back" material, but he sure is a versatile running back. I could be wrong here, but I think Sunday was the first time in NFL history that a running back completed eighteen passes in the closing minutes of a game. We'll see if we can get that confirmed.
In response to Urlacher's comment, Tebow did stay classy. "Coming from a really good player, that means a lot," said Tebow following the game.
Friday, December 9, 2011
“We know what they’re doing," cornerback Darrelle Revis said in November. "And we feel comfortable in our game plan.” That week, Revis and the Jets lost to the Broncos by a score of 17-13 when Tebow lead the Broncos offense 95-yards for the game-winning score — on national television.
This week, the Chicago Bears are singing a similar tune.
"If we lost to Tebow, I would be freakin' pissed," said Bears linebacker Lance Briggs on Thursday before adding, "we’re going to have to stop that crap." Fellow linebacker Brian Urlacher noted that Tebow isn't as athletic as Michael Vick; Briggs added that Carolina's Cam Newton is much faster.
"It’s not a lot of adjusting for us,” said Urlacher. "Carolina ran a similar offense." In Week 4, the Bears defeated the 34-29 in overtime. Newton — the player that Chicago's defenders insist is much more explosive than Tebow — scored three touchdowns that day.
Several times this season, Tebow has tweeted a Bible reference prior to kickoff. This week, we suggest Proverbs 16:18.
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Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. (MT) and the game will be broadcast on FOX.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
At practice on Thursday, Miller (thumb), safety David Bruton (Achilles) and offensive lineman Ryan Clady (knee) were all limited. While receiver Eddie Royal (concussion) and running back Willis McGahee (knee) did not participate.
McGahee however says he will play. "It's good, I'm good," McGahee told the Denver Post. "Everything is good."
On Sunday, Denver will face off against the Chicago Bears at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. (MT) and the game will be broadcast on FOX.
Since second year player Tim Tebow was named the starting quarterback, the Broncos have gone 6-1 and are on a historic run. Over the past five weeks, Denver has entered the fourth quarter within three points of their opponents — only two other teams have ever had such a scenario, and the Broncos are the only team in NFL history to win five straight games in that manner.
On Sunday against the Bears, the Broncos will be looking to put themselves in the history books again, by beating Chicago for the first time since the 1996 season. Since Tebow took over, the average price of tickets to a game at Sports Authority Field have gone up 47%, as is illustrated below:
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The Broncos swept November going 4-0 in the month for the first time since the 2005 season — in which they made it all the way to the AFC Championship game. The Broncos are currently 1-0 in the month of December with three games remaining. A perfect December run would put the Broncos at 11-5 and lock up a playoff birth.
First things first though, the Broncos have to focus on the Bears this week before thinking about the playoffs. A win over the Bears would probably come in historic fashion, if it follows the trend in Denver this season.
In Tebow's first start against the Dolphins, the Broncos became the first team in NFL history to win a game after trailing by 15 points or more with less than three minutes to play. Since then, Tebow has seemingly broken or tied a quarterback record each and every Sunday.
Nobody knows what's in store for Sunday's game. Those at the game however have a good chance of witnessing history.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Successfully operating a run heavy, option oriented offense, quarterback Tim Tebow has taken criticism for only completing 45.5% of his passes. Some have questioned how far the Broncos rushing attack and formidable defense can take them, pointing out that all the "contenders" in the NFL have a talented throwing franchise quarterback.
Fox however, has won before using the same formula Denver has installed.
"It's a proven formula in this league," said Fox on Monday. "It just takes awhile to implement."
In 2003, Fox was a second-year head coach of the Carolina Panthers and took the team deep into the post season using the same philosophy he has installed in Denver. That season, the Panthers scored 20.3 points per game and rushed for 2,091 yards.
The Panthers quarterback, Jake Delhomme, completed 59.2% of his passes that season and turned the ball over 22 times yet still managed to lead the team to an 11-5 record due to a consistent rushing attack and reliable defense. The Panthers made it all the way to Super Bowl in 2003, only to lose 32-29 in overtime to the New England Patriots.
This season, since quarterback Tim Tebow was named the starter, the Broncos have scored 19.3 points per game and rushed for 1,248 yards. Tebow meanwhile has only completed 47.1% of his passes but has also only turned the ball over twice — twenty times less than Delhomme, albeit in fewer games; Tebow has done a great job of protecting the football this season.
In order to completely emulate the Panthers 2003 season, Denver would have to win out, by finishing 11-5 and winning their division. That seems unlikely, but the AFC West crown is not yet out of reach.
At 6-5, the Broncos are just one game behind the division leading 7-4 Raiders. Coming off an undefeated November run in which they defeated all three of their division rivals on the road in a four week stretch, the Broncos have built up confidence heading into December.
The remaining five teams Denver will have to play include the Vikings (away), Bears (home), Patriots (home), Bills (away) and Chiefs (home). If the Broncos can win four of their remaining five and the Raiders lose at least one game in the same time period, Denver could be headed to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005 season.
Foxball has won the Broncos five of their last six games. Only time will tell how much farther it can carry them.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Broncos obliged, and placed Orton on waivers. The Bears, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs all placed waiver claims on Orton. The Chiefs were awarded Orton because they had the worst record of the three teams that placed a claim.
Orton struggled early in the season, throwing eight touchdown passes and seven interceptions while going 1-4 through Denver's first five games. Against the San Diego Chargers in Week Five, Orton was benched at halftime in favor of second year quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tebow rallied the Broncos to a narrow 24-29 defeat and has kept the starting job. Since the loss to the Chargers, Tebow and the Broncos have gone 4-1; San Diego has gone 0-5. The Broncos play San Diego again this week, on the road.
The Chiefs found themselves in need of a quarterback after starter Matt Cassel broke his hand, an injury sustained when his hand was wedged between his chest and the helmet of Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller on November 13th. On Tuesday, the same day Denver waived Kyle Orton, the Kansas City placed Cassel on injured reserve.
Orton will return to Denver on January 1st when the Chiefs play the Broncos in Week 17. The game could have playoff implications, as both the Chiefs and Broncos are in the thick of the AFC West race.
Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn are now the only two active quarterbacks on Denver's roster. Undrafted rookie Adam Weber is also on the practice squad, and may be activated by the club.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
We asked fans on our Facebook page who they thought was the Broncos Most Valuable Player through the first eight games and the vote was almost unanimous. Broncos veteran running back Willis McGahee received nearly 64% of the votes. Receiver Eric Decker and rookie linebacker Von Miller came in second with approximately 13% each.
Here's a quick look at each of the players nominated:
Oakland Raiders defense on Sunday for 163 yards on the ground Sunday and scored two touchdowns in the process. Heading into this week's game in Kansas City, McGahee has rushed 123 times for 623 yards (5.1 average) and scored four touchdowns on offense this season.
Those were the nominations, here are the results in the voting:
"He gives the offensive side of the ball a ground game that none of the other RB's on the roster can seem to supply in his absence," said Broncos fan Paul Hesketh. The stats verify Hesketh's comments, as third year running back Knowshon Moreno has only been able to produce outputs of 22 and 69 yards in two games McGahee has missed this season.
"McGahee's currently 9th in the league in rushing yards, and I think if he can stay healthy might even crack the top five when the regular season is over," noted Hesketh. McGahee is on pace for 1,246 yards this season, which would make him the first Broncos running back to rush for 1,000 yards or more in a single season since Tatum Bell did it in 2006.
"No one saw this kind of performance coming," added Edgar Luna, a member of the U.S. Army. Though many fans may not have foreseen Willis' productive season, McGahee did. Before signing with the club in the offseason, McGahee told his agent that he saw Denver as a place where he could re-emerge as a starting running back again. Seven starts and over 600 yards later, McGahee is making fans "glad Denver got him!"
Stephanie Krizman commented that with the addition of McGahee, the Broncos running game is making a comeback, and Jose' Archuleta added that McGahee has been the most consistent player on offense each week.
"I haven't seen a smooth running back like McGahee in a long time here in Denver," said Nik Persons. "He has great balance and patience, and even at 30 years old, still has that speed that NFL running backs need." The Raiders defense can certainly attest to that.
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Monday, November 7, 2011
Knowing that Tebow's legs are more of a threat to opposing defenses than his arm, the Broncos used the play several times successfully in Miami against the Dolphins in week seven before the Detroit Lions contained the play last week in Denver. Against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, the Broncos offense executed the play to perfection and ran for 298 yards on the ground.
The play is a simple one and is run by high schools and colleges across the country on a regular basis. In the screenshot below, you'll notice that the offensive linemen block down and the quarterback rides the hand off. The key to the play is the quarterback's ability to read the outside linebacker.
If the outside linebacker bites on the run and crashes down, the quarterback keeps the ball and runs (see below).
The Broncos ran the play several times early in the game and each time Tebow gave it to running back Willis McGahee and the play resulted in minimal gains. When Tebow pulled the ball and ran for the first time, the result was a 30+ yard gain.
After the outside linebackers realized that Tebow was a threat to run on the play, they started playing their outside contain responsibilities better, which opened running lanes for McGahee.
The Broncos ran the play seventeen times in all, with McGahee rushing for 125 yards off of twelve carries in the read option, including his 60 and 23-yard touchdown runs. Tebow kept the ball three times for 68 yards and reserve back Lance Ball saw two carries for three yards.
Denver is now 3-5 and just one game behind in the AFC West. The Broncos will travel to Kansas City (4-4) to take on the Chiefs next week and will play the Chargers (4-4) in San Diego three weeks from today. If the Broncos play as well against the Chiefs and Chargers as they did in Oakland on Sunday, they could find themselves back in the AFC West race very quickly.
Adjusting the offense to fit their players' skill sets played a huge role in the Broncos success on Sunday. It will be interesting to see what the team has planned for future games and how defense are able to defend the read option run down the road.
Field images were courtesy of Getty Images; screenshots courtesy of the NFL/CBS Sports.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Off the field, the former Kentucky Wildcat is one of the more active players in the community. In 2010, Woodyard was the Broncos recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year honor, an award that recognizes players that personify leadership on and off the field and who have demonstrated significant impact through community service.
Since his rookie season in the NFL (2008), Woodyard has been a role model in the community, from supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and the NFL's Play 60 movement to participating in the team's annual Shop With A Bronco holiday program for children.
Most recently, Woodyard has founded 16Ways, a foundation which supports at-risk youth and their families with the goal of helping youth achieve the highest academic and social success. On Tuesday, November 1st, Wesley Woodyard will host an MVP dinner to benefit the 16Ways Foundation at Sullivan's Steakhouse in Denver.
Woodyard will be joined by several teammates (who are still to be announced) at the dinner and is inviting everyone in the Denver area to join them for a five star, four course meal and silent auction benefiting the 16Ways Foundation.
The dinner will be held at 7-10 p.m. (the doors will open at 6:30 p.m.) and space is limited. Tickets to the event, which are inclusive of tax, gratuity and Valet, are $250 a person, with all of the proceeds going to Woodyard's foundation.
Sullivan's Steakhouse is located at 1745 Wazee Street, Denver Colorado, 80202.
For more information on the event, email 16Ways@mvpdinners.com or visit the event's website. For reservations call (424)-256-2022. Woodyard and his teammates will be attending to benefit the youth, will you?
Game day images of Woodyard were provided courtesy of Paul Cloud Photography.
“I think (being) 1-4 has a lot to do with it," said Fox on Tuesday following practice. "We haven’t gotten it done as a football team—it’s not one guy. It’s not all Kyle Orton’s fault, but we do have to make adjustments and we do have to change. We have to do something to win football games.”
Active for twelve career games, Tebow has thrown for 733 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions, while rushing for 264 rushing yards and seven touchdowns (which the second-most rushing touchdowns by an active quarterback since 2010).
“I’m just very honored to get this opportunity," said Tebow on Tuesday. "I’m very excited. I’m just blessed to be a Denver Bronco, and to go out there and play for this organization is truly a privilege.”
The Broncos decision couldn't have come at a better time for Tebow, who will have extra time to prepare for the Dolphins during the bye and have two receivers back from injury. Second year wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who has been explosive when healthy, is expected to be back and slot receiver Eddie Royal is also hopeful to be back from a groin injury.
Joining Royal and Thomas as Denver's four main receivers will be Pro Bowler Brandon Lloyd and second year star Eric Decker, who is having a career year.
“One thing you can’t take away from him is that heart, that emotion," said Decker. "That’s something he carries on his sleeve and brings every day to work. He’s a guy that won’t be outworked and that rubs off on people. It might not be the most conventional way but he finds a way to get it done.”
Decker is not the only one that has noticed Tebow's overachieving style of play.
“He’s going to do whatever it takes. He’s going to work harder than anybody else and he’s going to make sure he does what needs to be done to be successful,” said linebacker Joe Mays.
Tebow's throwing motion and passing game in general have been under heavy scrutiny, but if he is able to wins games, his teammates and coaches will be satisfied.
“Some people may call him unorthodox, but at the end of the day he gets the job done. When his number is called he’s always looking to go out there and perform and make plays.”
There are certain rules about what players can and cannot do during a bye week, but thanks to modern technology, Tebow will be able to study up on the Dolphins defense for the next two weeks.
“That’s a great thing about iPads. You can put all the film on there now. So, it’s good.”
Images used in this article were provided courtesy of Paul Cloud Photography.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The move came after weeks of fans chanting for Tebow and continued mediocre play from starting quarterback Kyle Orton. On Sunday, Orton seemed out of rhythm from the start, leading several 3-and-out drives and throwing an interception.
The defense had been on the field for much of the first half but was still able to hold the Chargers high powered offense to field goal attempts on three drives which could have resulted in twenty-one points. In the second half, Tebow was aided by the defense which stepped up, allowing just two more field goals and forcing two turnovers.
On his first few series, Tebow struggled, throwing several passes at the feet of open receivers. Once he started playing his game however, Tebow warmed up and the offense rallied behind him. Tebow finished the game 4-of-10 for 79 passing yards with six carries for 38 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing).
Tebow benefitted from the outstanding play of running back Willis McGahee, who finished the game with 125 yards off of 16 carries. Fellow running back Knowshon Moreno also made Tebow look good taking a screen pass 28 yards for a score. The offensive line also did a nice job of giving Tebow relatively good protection.
The Broncos were just one two-point conversation away from tying the game at 26 late in the fourth quarter. Star receiver Brandon Lloyd, who hauled in an incredible sideline catch earlier in the scoring drive, couldn't hold on to Tebow's two point conversation attempt and the Broncos ultimately fell to the Chargers by a score of 29-24 (following another Chargers field goal).
Although it was a loss, the game gave hope to Broncos fans across the country. For a change, Broncos fans actually had exciting football to watch and felt like the team had a chance to win down to the last second.
The Broncos have a Bye week next followed by a Week Seven match in Miami against the Dolphins. Speculation is that the Broncos will keep Tebow the starter moving forward. Coach Fox hasn't made any official announcement as of now, but we expect one to be coming soon.
For up-to-the-minute updates on the quarterback situation, follow Broncos Zone on Facebook.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Denver has played four good football teams this season. Through the first four weeks of play, the Broncos opponents have gone 11-5.
Against the Oakland Raiders in week one, Broncos fans were disgusted to see quarterback Kyle Orton sacked five times and Oakland's Darren McFadden run all over Denver's defense. The game however was no fluke for the Raiders -- who are 2-2 after falling to the New England Patriots on Sunday -- as Oakland's defensive line has played dominantly this year, recording eleven sacks (compared to their opponents two) and McFadden is leading the NFL in rushing.
When the Broncos faced off against the Cincinnati Bengals in week two, Denver got their sole win of the season against a rebuilding Bengals team. Though many fans feel Denver should have blown the Bengals away, Cincinnati is an improving team and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has been playing extremely well. On Sunday, the Dalton-led Bengals upset the undefeated Buffalo Bills.
When the Broncos traveled to Tennessee to take on the Titans in week three, Denver simply couldn't win the game in the end. The Titans however, are standing at 3-1 atop their division behind quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who is well on his way to having a career season. It's not as if the Broncos lost to a bottom of the barrel team in week three.
On Sunday, the Broncos ran into a Green Bay Packers team that was simply the better football team. Denver was over matched from the get go and they were never expected to pull off a victory on the road in Green Bay. With that said, the Broncos, despite having four of their drives end in turnovers, scored 23 points against the Packers high-ranked defense. Had the Broncos scored 23 points against the Raiders, that game would have gone into overtime. Had the Broncos scored 23 points against the Bengals, they still would have won. The story stays the same against the Titans, Denver would have won if they had scored 23 points.
Granted, everything mentioned above doesn't change the fact that the Broncos are 1-3, but the season is not yet lost. Broncos fans have been spoiled with two World Championships, six Super Bowls appearances, eight AFC Title Games, ten AFC West Titles, seventeen Playoff Berths and twenty-four winning seasons. We can't abandon our team when the going gets tough, the Broncos are going through a rebuilding process, and there is hope for the future.
The Broncos defense will have cornerback Champ Bailey back from injury next week, along with defensive end Elvis Dumervil and linebacker D.J. Williams, who each missed at least two of the team's first three games. Joining the veterans on Denver's defense is rookie linebacker Von Miller, who has looked about as impressive as any rookie defender to come around in a long, long time.
Over the past three games, Miller has consecutively recorded at least one sack and has totaled four through the first four games, which is the most ever recorded by a Broncos rookie through the first four games of a season. Thus far, Miller has recorded sixteen tackles, four sacks, two passes defended and two forced fumbles. Each and every week Miller has improved; he is going to be the cornerstone of this defense for years to come.
On the offensive side of the ball, there are several more young players that have shown great potential. Receiver Eric Decker has been on fire, scoring five touchdowns through the first four weeks of play, which is the first time a Broncos non-running back has done so since Steve Watson in the 1981 season. Thus far, Decker has caught 20 passes for 270 yards and four receiving touchdowns. Decker looks to provide a solid receiving option for the Broncos for many years to come.
The season is still young, Denver still has twelve games left to play. Up next is a home game against the San Diego Chargers. Let's see how the Broncos fair against a division rival this week before giving up on the entire season. Starting 1-4 would be a rough start, but a 2-3 start would not be unacceptable from a rebuilding team that has had a hard schedule.
On a different note, the Broncos announced on Monday that the NFL has approved the team's request to wear its orange jerseys as the primary home jerseys beginning in 2012.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The game will be broadcast by CBS's Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, and will be aired across most of the country. The game is not thought of as a must-watch (the Broncos are 14-point underdogs), but America is certainly interested in following the reigning Super Bowl Champions.
Just over a decade ago, the Broncos were 14-point underdogs against the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.
A lot of things have changed in Denver and Green Bay since then, but at least one aspect of Sunday's game will be similar to the 1998 Super Bowl: Green Bay's potent passing attack.
The Packers' Aaron Rodgers comes into Sunday's game having thrown for 917 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception this season. Green Bay's offense has been next to unstoppable.
Fortunately for the Broncos, their defense has been playing much better than it has in previous seasons, and the Packers defense is susceptible -- especially against the pass. The Packers defense has allowed 359.3 passing yards per game, giving them a second to last ranking in the NFL in that category.
That's the good news for Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, who's played inconsistently in recent games. Orton has reliable targets in veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd and rising star Eric Decker. On paper, Orton seems primed to have a solid performance.
The bad news for Orton is Green Bay's outside linebacker Clay Matthews. The Broncos offensive line has been struggling this season, allowing 8 sacks and 13 quarterback hits, while Matthews has recorded 12 tackles and a sack. Denver's offensive line will have their hands full on Sunday. Expect the offense to get at least two players on Matthews every time his rushes the passer.
Teams have "double teamed" Matthews this season and limited his effectiveness, much like Denver's opponents have keyed on Broncos rookie outside linebacker Von Miller. Despite drawing a lot of attention from offensive lines, Miller is one of just two players in the league (Baltimore's Terrell Suggs) to have recorded at least 10 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in September.
The Broncos are hopeful that Miller will be joined by fellow pass rusher Elvis Dumervil this week, who is recovering from a shoulder injury and hasn't played since being limited against the Raiders on opening weekend. When healthy, Dumervil is one of the most effective edge rushers in the NFL. If he is able to play on Sunday and pressure Rodgers, the Broncos defense would benefit tremendously.
Another starting defensive player that is battling an injury is cornerback Champ Bailey (hamstring), who could end up being one of the most important players on Sunday for Denver. Without Bailey, the Broncos secondary has struggled against the pass the previous two weeks and blown coverage has accrued more than once.
If the Broncos are going to slow down the Packers pass-happy offense, they'll have to play close to mistake free. Having perennial Pro Bowler Champ Bailey in the secondary would be a huge boost for the defensive unit.
If the Broncos are able to upset the Packers on Sunday, it would mark their 400th franchise victory and bump their all time record against defending Super Bowl champions to 16-10.
If you live in the Wisconsin area, you may want to check out tickets to the game on our TiqIQ widget. The average price of tickets to the game is $274, with prices starting at $174. View more tickets and prices by clicking here.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Faced with a wide receiver dilemma, coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy turned to... Co-No. 2 quarterback Tim Tebow.
Per ESPN's Chris Mortenson, Tebow had asked earlier in the week to practice with the scout team offense as wide receiver instead of just stand around. Fox said Tebow hadn't practiced the position at all during the week but that the coaches had told him to be ready in case of injuries.
Tebow was ready and got the call in the first quarter. The Broncos used the former Florida Heisman Trophy winner as the third receiver, basically a decoy to the defense. Denver ran on most plays Tebow was on the field (and yes, he blocked well) and threw several times, but never in Tebow's direction.
Kudos go out to Tebow for being willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field (we were wondering why he was wearing two gloves when he usually doesn't even wear one) and a shout out to Fox and McCoy for finding a way to get him involved in the offense. It will be interesting to see if Tebow's role in the offense expands down the stretch.
Starting quarterback Kyle Orton may have also at least quieted the calls for his head, as the veteran quarterback went 15-of-25 for 195 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were thrown to second year receiver Eric Decker. After two games, Decker now had 8 catches for 166 yards and two receiving touchdowns to compliment his 5 punt returns that went for 125 yards and another score.
Joining Orton and Decker as the main offensive weapons Sunday was running back Willis McGahee, who added a physical punch that Denver's rushing attack has been missing for years. McGahee rushed 28 times for 101 yards and one touchdown, marking the first time a Broncos running back has rushed for 100 yards or more in a game since Knowshon Moreno did it last November.
The offensive line and fullback Spencer Larsen did an excellent job of paving rushing lanes for McGahee, after a dismal week-one effort against the Raiders when McGahee averaged less than one yard per rush. Larsen added one rush for four yards and three catches for twenty-three yards while the offense line helped produce 326 yards of total offense.
While the offense looked improved, Denver's defense won the game. The Broncos defense twice stopped Cincinnati's offense late in the fourth quarter, helping the Broncos hold on to a two-point lead. Special teams captain Wesley Woodyard started at linebacker in the place of D.J. Williams (elbow) and led the team with thirteen tackles.
Rookie linebacker Von Miller recorded three tackles and his first career sack, while defensive back Jonathan Wilhite and defensive end Robert Ayers forced a key sack and quarterback hurry respectively to keep the Bengals offense out of field goal range late in the game.
The 24-22 victory marks John Fox's (1-1) first career win with the Broncos, which is more impressive when you consider the fact that the team was without cornerback Champ Bailey, defensive end Elvis Dumervil, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, running back Knowshon Moreno, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, defensive tackle Marcus Thomas and linebacker D.J. Williams due to respective injuries.
The Broncos are in good standing in the AFC West after the Oakland Raiders (1-1) fell to the Buffalo Bills 38-35, the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) fell to the Detroit Lions 48-3 and the San Diego Chargers (1-1) fell to the New England Patriots 35-21 in Week Two.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Veteran running back Willis McGahee will get the start, with back-up Lance Ball seeing carries as well. Johnson figures to be in the mix, but not heavily. Last week Moreno saw twice as many carries as McGahee, expect similar numbers Sunday between McGahee and Ball (who had no rushes Sunday but did add one catch that went for nine yards and a score).
Meanwhile, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (groin) was back at practice Friday and will probably be ready to go Sunday. Lloyd's injury appears to be the least serious on the injury report and if the team was not confident that he would be ready to go, they probably would have activated Eron Riley from the practice squad.
Defensive end Elvis Dumervil has a lingering shoulder injury and is listed as questionable as well. Cornerback Champ Bailey (hamstring) is also listed as questionable and is unlikely to play.
In the place of Bailey and Dumervil, expect cornerback Cassius Vaughn and defensive end Jason Hunter to start against the Bengals. Hunter saw a lot of playing time last week against Oakland filling in for the injured Dumervil and Vaughn is also no stranger to playing time. Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite could also factor into the secondary mix.
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We certainly haven't forgotten what happened the last time these two teams faced off. Here's hoping for another exciting game that ends with the Broncos getting a "W".