Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: Year of the NFL Pass Rusher

Due to recent rule changes in the NFL designed to protect receivers and quarterbacks, the league has become a passing-friendly league, which has resulted in a pass rushing-friendly league as well. As more and more teams take to the air, opposing defenses are doing whatever it takes to get to the quarterback.

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

Bailey, Miller and Dumervil Selected to 2012 Pro Bowl

On Tuesday afternoon in Dove Valley, the Broncos were informed that three Denver defenders have been selected to the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl.

Cornerback Champ Bailey, rookie outside linebacker Von Miller and defensive end Elvis Dumervil will fly to Honolulu, Hawaii this January to participate in the game, marking Bailey's NFL-record eleventh selection, Dumervil's second and Miller's first of many more expected Pro Bowl seasons to come.

“It’s always exciting when you have guys going to the Pro Bowl,” Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway told on Tuesday. “They’re three guys that are very deserving.”

Running back Willis McGahee, left tackle Ryan Clady and safety Brian Dawkins were announced as first alternates. If a player at their respective position cannot play in the NFL's annual All-Star Game, McGahee, Clady and Dawkins will be the respective replacements.

Quarterback Tim Tebow, punter Britton Colquitt and kicker Matt Prater are second alternates. Among Denver's alternates, Tebow seems to have the best shot of making the Pro Bowl — as fellow AFC quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ben Reothlisberger may not play in the game due to possible Super Bowl appearances and injury concerns.

The 2012 Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium on Sunday, January 29th and will be broadcast on NBC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brady has Respect for Broncos' Tebow, Defense

Every NFL quarterback has a team that haunts him his entire career. For New England Patriots three-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback Tom Brady, the Denver Broncos may be that team.

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

Bears' linebackers Keep Talking Tebow

Heading into last week's game against the Broncos, the Chicago Bears' linebackers sounded pretty confident in their ability to contain quarterback Tim Tebow and Denver's offense. On Sunday, the Bears' defense squandered a ten-point fourth quarter lead and lost to the Tebow-led Broncos.

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

Bears' linebackers confident about defending Tebow

A few weeks ago, the New York Jets will talking smack about the Broncos option offense and quarterback Tim Tebow leading up to their Week 11 game in Denver. From the linebackers to the defensive backs, it seemed like everybody had something to say about Tebow.

“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.

200+ Tickets Still Available to Bears @ Broncos Game


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The Broncos will be looking for their sixth straight win and seventh win in eight weeks against the Bears, find great seats to the game here. The Broncos haven't beaten Chicago since the 1996 season, and look to change that this week.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. (MT) and the game will be broadcast on FOX.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Broncos' rookie LB Von Miller expects to play Sunday

Broncos' rookie linebacker Von Miller had to watch from the sidelines last week as Denver defeated Minnesota for the team's fifth straight win. This week, Miller hopes to be back on the field.

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.

Broncos Fans Can Be Part of History on Sunday

Tied with Oakland for the division lead in the AFC West, the Denver Broncos (7-5) look to extend their five-game winning streak when they return home to face the Chicago Bears (7-5) on Sunday, December 11th. Kickoff for the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is set for 2:05 p.m. (MST).

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:

There are still good deals available, despite the price jumps. Fans can be apart of history on Sunday by purchasing tickets through the NFL's TicketExchange. Our partners over at TiqIQ have an official NFL TicketExchange inventory that's all E-Tickets so you can be sure you can get a guaranteed great deal right up until game time. Check out their official inventory here.

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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