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View Full Version : One of the most underrated drives of all time…



Uncle Buck
09-11-2007, 12:02 AM
Purists Bronco fans will of course recall “The Drive*,” which could have been the turning point in establishing Elway as, from just the Broncos’ QB, to one of a QB of future greatness.

*[From Wikipedia: The Drive refers to the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game played on January 11, 1987 between the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns. Broncos quarterback John Elway, in a span of 5 minutes and 2 seconds, led his team 98 yards to tie the game with 37 seconds left in regulation. Denver won the game in overtime with a field goal, 23-20.

The 98-yard drive ranks as pro football's prototype performance in the clutch. Elway and his team spanned almost all of the 100-yard football field. According to an article by Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, when Elway started the drive offensive linemen Keith Bishop said: "We got 'em right where we want 'em!"]

But this is not about that particular drive, which was even more noteworthy, owing to the obvious Super bowl contention. People remember more monumental things like that.

This is about an opening game drive, with a second-year QB at the helm, which will, in the annuls of time, will be easily forgotten, as it only led to a “squeaker” of a victory, against a mid-pack team, at the very beginning of the season.

Here's what is amazing about that final last-ditch drive on the part of the 2007 Denver Broncos opener—something which should be worthy of going down in history (but it won’t). Following, are the breakdown of the elements of this drive, in neither ascending nor descending order (feel free to place ‘em in their proper pecking order):

1. With under [fill in the blank, it was not many] minutes on the clock, Denver stops the Buffalo offense, with a score of 14-12, Buffalo. Denver gets the ball. it’s do or die.

2. From already less-than-ideal field position, Cutler butches a lateral pass, resulting in a huge loss of yards. The Ugly: Cutler botched the pass. The Bad: The play resulted in pushing us back another 15 yards. The Good: The play stopped the clock.

3. The following events are not in not any particular order, owing to the time of night and my subsequent inability to doing any actual research: Cutler, after completing a key pass to Marshall on 3rd down and short, runs on 4th to make the 1st down; drive continues as clock winds down, with another completion to Marshall; in between, there is another 4th down completion (either on the ground, or in the air, I don’t remember—which is a real hazard when you are typing without actually reading the actual play-by-play events as they went down, but I hope I can get by with this, cuz, I’m not calling the game here, just showing how amazing this drive was. So, please help me out here, in terms of factual corrections).

4. Last offensive play of the game—on third down—with the clock at (28?) seconds, another play is run in the drive. At this point, you could spike the ball and bring on the field goal unit. But, NO! Still dangerously out of safe range for a FG! So, The O-team makes a bold move and goes for the extra yards on 3rd, bringing the FG range down to 42 yards.

5. With the clock literally under 18 seconds, the last regular offensive line play achieves the necessary yardage gain, and then… “TORA-TORA,” baby!!

Item 5. was unbelievable. One of the men in the box calling the game was exclaiming, “I DON’T THINK THEY’RE GONNA MAKE IT!.” But then, “It’s up…. and it’s GOOOOD!!!!”

Totally Amazing!

In conclusion, I just had to type this drive out, as I think it should go down as one of the greatest of all time, all things considered. It won’t be remembered as among the highlights of NFL history, or course, because the game was nothing monumental, in terms a key game in either a championship playoff win or the SB itself. If, however, this particular drive were that sort of key game, I would have no doubt that this would have gone down in history.

In review, this is what I take out of this drive:

1. This is one of those rarities of the NFL. Given the time allotted for the drive cumulating in a winning score (a FG in this case), along with pretty poor starting field position, the odds were already narrow, given the opposing team's defense.

2. Given the early penalty at the beginning of the drive, this should have pretty much put the nail in the coffin.

3. The drive had to be continued with TWO 4th down attempts, both successful.

4. The QB had to play RB to complete at least one of these crucial conversions.

5. And, of course, the drive culminated in a last-ditch FG attempt—with NO time to reassemble under the usual stopping of the clock!

Put all of the above together, and you have an AMAZING drive, football fans—one which is worthy of going down into the annuls of all-time great drives!
What I take away from this is that the 2007 Broncos have shown something that I have not seen much over the past ten years. Not only a come-from behind win, but an amazing one at that. And, at the same time, from a pretty-much re-organized team, built from many new players. This drive shows me something that promises to be pretty special in the 2007 season: never giving up, and coming back from behind.

Please feel free to edit/correct loose stats from the above, as I’ve done my “play-by-play” strictly from memory. I was too busy to comment immediately after the fact, and do hate to get stats wrong (both in terms of particular plays order and time on the clock at the time of the plays).

That said, do we have a promising team here or what?

I’m stoked! :beer:

DenBronx
09-11-2007, 01:49 AM
my favorite part of this whole drive was that announcer "5sec....4sec...HE'S NOT GONNA MAKE IT!!" if your a bills fans that was heart wrenching....a broncos fan that was a fairytale ending.

this really crazy thing....is about 2 minutes into the 4th quarter i said to myself i bet the broncos barely come back and elam knocks down a game winning kick. i had this crazy vision of it happening down the middle with the clock running out....i know you guys might not believe me but its true....i had this really bizaar feeling after it happened and i was not only shocked that we won but that i had a vision of it before we won.

lex
09-11-2007, 01:53 AM
my favorite part of this whole drive was that announcer "5sec....4sec...HE'S NOT GONNA MAKE IT!!" if your a bills fans that was heart wrenching....a broncos fan that was a fairytale ending.

this really crazy thing....is about 2 minutes into the 4th quarter i said to myself i bet the broncos barely come back and elam knocks down a game winning kick. i had this crazy vision of it happening down the middle with the clock running out....i know you guys might not believe me but its true....i had this really bizaar feeling after it happened and i was not only shocked that we won but that i had a vision of it before we won.

Yeah, Gus Johnson really was in his element with that game. He oversells it sometimes but he is perfectly suited for endings like the one we saw on Sunday. He really helped make the moment.

SBboundBRONCOS
09-11-2007, 01:58 AM
i think that if denver does something special this year or jay becomes great then we wil see this drive agian but untill then it history . . . . sad but i think true

Uncle Buck
09-11-2007, 08:28 AM
I hadn't seen that WTM already had a great thread going on this great drive, since early yesterday afternoon--and complete with accurate play by play's! Obviously, Bronco fans will not soon forget this drive!

topscribe
09-11-2007, 10:20 AM
I think both your and WTM's threads can stand on their own. Both are good contributions. :beer:

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Watchthemiddle
09-11-2007, 04:27 PM
I think both your and WTM's threads can stand on their own. Both are good contributions. :beer:

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I agree and I love the fact that a few days later there is still a buzz about it.

Just think, 15, 16, 17 years from now when Cutler retires we can all recount how we saw his first "drive" of his own to win a game.

The Horses Mouth
09-11-2007, 07:02 PM
I agree and I love the fact that a few days later there is still a buzz about it.

Just think, 15, 16, 17 years from now when Cutler retires we can all recount how we saw his first "drive" of his own to win a game.

It was so pretty. I love the way cutler slings that football out there. He really has that gun slinger attitude. Very elway like. Not to compare them but i like that he is confident and takes it to the defense no matter what.

Elam was golden for hitting it so fast after being set!.

:salute:

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