No huddle = no problem
It would be tempting to do a comparison of Peyton Manning's first game as a Bronco compared to Tim Tebow's first game with the J-E-T-S... Jets! Jets! Jets! But that wouldn't really be fair, considering that Manning is a starting QB who can actually throw a pass while Tebow is a backup QB who can't. So, I won't go there - oops, I guess I did...
So, let's just take a look at how Manning's command of every aspect of the game - along with his talent - made the difference in beating the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight.
For some strange reason, the Broncos used a classic huddle approach to the game (huddling up between plays) on the first three drives of the game. The results were a punt, a fumble, and a punt. Three drives - zero points.
However, on the fourth drive of the game - just after Pittsburgh had taken a 3-0 lead in the second quarter - the Broncos coaching staff remembered that Peyton Manning is a quarterback who really IS a field general and can take the plays sent in from the bench and modify them to match the defense. They also remembered that he can do that most effectively using the no-huddle approach to the game (no huddle between plays). And with Pittsburgh unable to substitute players on defense (another big benefit of the no-huddle), Manning drove the team to three TDs on the next three drives and a FG on the fourth.
Particularly impressive on each of the TD drives from the Manning-led Broncos, was the fact that the team needed a TD each of those drives to take the lead. I don't know about you, but it's a pretty exciting thing to watch a QB who can drive the team for six when you need it instead of settling for field goals or worse, punting.
Defense was also a bright spot tonight. While Pittsburgh didn't have Rashard Mendenhall to run the ball (it should be remembered that they didn't have him in the playoff game last year either, but Pittsburgh still ran for 156 yards on 23 carries for a 6.78 ypc and a touchdown), they held the Steelers to 75 net rushing yards on 26 carries for a 2.90 ypc and no touchdowns.
Of course, the pièce de résistance on defense was Tracy Porter's pick six (a return of 46 yards) that sealed the game just before the two minute warning. The Broncos had just gone up by six and the Steelers needed a TD and PAT to possibly win the game. Porter guaranteed that wouldn't happen. A few more defensive highlights came with three sacks of Big Ben on Pittsburgh's next drive, but the game was over by then.
Overall, not a bad beginning to the Peyton Manning era. The offense was sharp and defense was solid. With a little luck, special teams won't have to be the best part of this team this year.
The good stuff:
1. Peyton Manning: 19/26 - 253 yds - 2 TDs - 0 INTs - Rating 129.16
2. Offensive line: While they allowed 2 sacks against last season's #1 defense, the pass protection was solid
3. Run defense: 75 net yards - 2.90 ypc - 0 TDs
4. Demaryius Thomas: 5 receptions - 110 yards - TD
5. Pass defense: Five sacks and 1 INT (pick six)
The not-so-good stuff:
1. Third and long defense: Pittsburgh converted on 5 of 5 third-and-long situations (18, 13, 12, 11, 10)
2. McGahee fumble: For a guy who only fumbled 4 times last year, not a big deal. But it was in Denver territory and put early pressure on the defense
3. Knowshon Moreno: While he had a 7 yd run for a TD, he only had 6 yards on his 4 other runs
4. Coaching? Not a terrible game play-calling wise, but why did they wait until the 4th drive of the game to let Manning be Manning?
Offensive player-of-the-game: Peyton Manning for the reasons already mentioned
Defensive player-of-the-game: Tracy Porter's pick six gives him the edge, but honorable mention goes to Wesley Woodyard with 12 solo tackles and a sack
Last edited by Broncos Mtnman; 09-15-2012 at 12:40 AM.
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