View Full Version : A Game Of Intangibles

Broncos Mtnman
11-16-2008, 08:55 PM
Webster defines the word "intangible" as an abstract quality or attribute. You could say that it is something that really can't be identified until you see it. Things like "heart" or "desire" can be considered intangibles.

On paper, there was little reason to think the Broncos would win today’s matchup against the surprising Atlanta Falcons. Injuries had decimated the team at several positions, including the key positions of running back, linebacker and cornerback.

So decimated were the Broncos at running back, they were forced to sign a player who they had traded away just last year to the Detroit Lions, a team who cut him this season. In fact, Tatum Bell wasn’t even in football when the Broncos brought him back to the team. He was working as a store manager at an Aurora cell phone store before getting the invitation to rejoin the struggling Broncos. The team would also promote P. J. Pope from the practice squad (who?) and use Peyton Hillis, the team’s starting fullback, as the starter at a position where Shanahan used to enjoy watching players with the names of Davis and Portis carry that task.

So decimated were the Broncos at linebacker, they were forced to play rookies at two of the three starting positions, giving the nod to the talented rookies Wesley Woodyard and Spencer Larson. Wait a minute, isn’t Larson one of the team’s fullbacks? This must be a mistake. Nope, the Broncos actually had to start one of their offensive players on defense, in addition to playing his regular spot as a fullback.

So decimated were the Broncos at cornerback, they had rookies Josh Bell and Jack Williams backing up Dre Bly and Karl Paymah, along with nickel package coverage.

But as it turned out, these rookies would be the intangibles (demonstrating great heart and desire) that the Broncos would need to bring a victory to the team. As you would expect, you will find these player’s names listed in the highs and lows of the game.

This week’s highs and lows:

HIGHS :2thumbs:

1 – Hillis, Pope and Bell. Sounds like the name of a law firm, doesn’t it? :lol: Well, these guys fought and struggled for a total of 113 yards on 21 carries (a very strong 5.38 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns. Hillis also snagged 3 passes for 26 yards. In a game where Atlanta had to know that Jay Cutler would have to carry the team again, the strong performances by these three (two rookies and a cell phone store manager) kept just enough pressure off of Jay to make the Falcons play a little more honest on defense.

2 – Spencer Larson. Larsen is the first NFL player to start on offense and defense since Dec. 14, 2003, when Baltimore's Orlando Brown started at offensive tackle and defensive tackle at Oakland. He was also on the kickoff team. He would finish second on the team with 6.5 tackles behind Jamie Winborn’s 8.5.

3 – Josh Bell and Jack Williams. They would tie for fourth on the team with 5 tackles each. While not anything that will make anybody’s play of the game, the tackles show that they were really in the game.

4 – Jay Cutler. Today’s game would be his 3rd fourth quarter come-from-behind victory of the season (remind you of anybody?). He would finish the day completing 19 of 27 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, he had ZERO interceptions for only the third time this season. For the record, the Broncos are 3-0 in those games.

5 – Dre Bly. For a guy who has taken a lot of heat for his play this season, he has done a decent job being the main guy ever since Champ Bailey’s injury. For the second game in a row, he caused a turnover that the Broncos would turn into a score. His interception of Matt Ryan late in the third quarter allowed the Broncos to extend their one point lead to four points as the period came to an end. He also had 4.5 tackles in the contest.

6 – Eddie Royal. A so-so performance at wide receiver (snagging 4 passes for 34 yards), but “Casino” would tally up 159 return yards on 5 returns. Royal gave the Broncos great field position throughout the whole game.

7 – Offensive line. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Broncos offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. They only yielded one sack in the game. For the season, they have only allowed Jay Cutler to go down 8 times in 10 games.

8 – Defensive unit. I know I have already mentioned some individual players, but ever since the bye week, the Broncos have been playing basically sound defense. Today, they held the league’s third best runner in the NFL to 81 yards on 25 carries (3.24 ypc) and two touchdowns. While the two touchdowns are a bit of a disappointment, this was an impressive performance, considering the fact that they did it using rookies and backups to plug the numerous holes that injuries have hit the Broncos this season. They also applied consistent pressure on Matt Ryan. One such pressure was a blitz that, even though it didn’t result in a sack, caused Ryan to throw an ill-advised pass that was picked off by Dre Bly.

By the way, for only the third time this season, they held the opposing team to 20 points or less. Their record in those games? 3-0.

9 – Mike Shanahan. It has been debated A LOT in Broncos Country how shaky Mike Shanahan’s performance has been in his selection of players via the draft and free agency. While that debate isn’t likely to end anytime soon, I think he showed that he just might know what he’s doing after seeing how the rookies took control of this game and won it. I think we’ve also witnessed for a second week in a row, the “mastermind” using creative gameplanning to get whatever advantage he can against the opposition.

10 – Red zone and goal-to-go offense. The Broncos have clearly solved a big problem from last season. In today’s game, they went three of four in the Red Zone (2 TDs and 1 FG) and 2 of 3 in goal-to-go (1 TD and 1 FG). The field goal was disappointing, considering they were on the one-yard-line, but I’m feeling much more comfortable that the team is likely to score once they reach that hallowed ground.

LOWS :2thumbsdown:

1 – Opponent’s time-of-possession. Partially due to an ineffective offense in the first half and some shoddy tackling in the second half, the Falcons had a TOP advantage of nearly eight minutes. At half time, that advantage was nearly 10 minutes. The Falcons would snap the ball on offense 15 more times than the Broncos due to this, and it could have easily been the reason the Broncos would lose today. This will probably improve once the running game settles on a starter and we get some of our injured defensive players back, but it’s still an area of concern.

2 – Jamie Winborn. I know there was some excitement in how the defense stepped up, but this guy was talking smack on EVERY SINGLE PLAY. There comes a time when smack is appropriate, and then there’s Winborn. I noticed the smack talk dropped off a bunch when Winborn failed to snag an easy interception that would have been a pick 6. Maybe he should channel more of his smack energy towards playing a complete game. It might be a small thing, but even though he led the team in tackles with 8 solo and 2 assists, his mouthy-ness spoiled that for me.

3. Matt Prater. I’m not concerned yet, but for the second week in a row, he missed his first field goal attempt in a game. In addition, he only reached the endzone on 2 of his 5 kickoffs, with neither of them going for a touchback. Considering he was kicking indoors, it was only a so-so performance for the Broncos kicker.

Yep, on paper, there was little reason to think this team would even survive today’s game, let alone come out of Atlanta with a victory. But, as they say, THAT’S WHY THEY PLAY THE GAME! We all know that NFL history is full of matchups where what happens on the field is entirely different than what should have happened, and it usually comes down to intangibles.

And that’s exactly how the Broncos did it today.

11-16-2008, 09:20 PM
Great write up. :salute:

11-17-2008, 11:38 AM
Fantastic read, thanks!

11-17-2008, 12:29 PM
I agree on Winborn. He tackled a guy on a key 3rd down after the guy got the first down, he jumped up jumping around pounding his chest....I screamed at the tv...You moron, he just got the 1st down. Shut up and do your job.

Medford Bronco
11-17-2008, 07:44 PM
Awesome job Mtn Man :beer: I hope you have some more enjoyable
write-ups the rest of the season. :salute: