They Wanted It And It Showed
Two incredibly hard-to-believe events transpired in Kansas City this past Sunday.
One - For only the second time since 1998 (the last Super Bowl season), the Broncos won a game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Two - With the win, the Broncos are tied for second in the division (only one game behind the Chargers) with a record of 4-5.
Yes Broncoland, there is a Santa Claus. No, I don't mean the big guy in the red suit. I mean the town in Indiana. And in keeping with the Christmas theme, just as a little town known as Bethlehem gave the world someone with the initials of JC, so the little town of Santa Claus did the same, giving the town of Denver it's own miracle worker.
Jay Cutler accomplished something that none of his immediate predecessors were able to accomplish. He WON his first start as a Bronco at the Big Red punch bowl known as Arrowhead Stadium. Now, is that a miracle or not?
John Elway, Brian Griese and Jake Plummer all failed to do what Jay was able to do in his first assignment at the helm of the Orange and Blue.
Sure he had help, but when you consider his leg injury (something that flared up in the game), and the way he battled through the pain to lead this team, you have to give ALOT of the credit for this win to Cutler.
For instance, only six of the starters on offense in Sunday's game were starting at their positions at the beginning of the season. Jay had to work with a backups at running back, offensive line and WR. Did they do a good job? Sure they did. But I don't think anyone would deny that a first year starter (practically a rookie) needs all the tools he can get to be a success, and Jay simply didn't have them for this game.
However, as I mentioned above, the little support he did have did a great job. Take a look at this week's 4 Downs (I'm doing the good stuff first)....
The Good Stuff
1st - Selvin Young. How does Shanny keep finding these guys? The undrafted rookie played better than the veteran he replaced. Against the tough Kansas City defense, Young became the 12th running back in the Shanahan era to rush for 100 yards or more in a single game.
2nd - The defense. They managed a total of four turnovers (3 INTs and 1 Fumble recovery). The fumble recovery resulted in a touchdown after Nate Webster returned it 17 yards. The interceptions went to Champ, Dre Bly and Karl Paymah. They managed 4 sacks, and in addition, the much maligned run defense gave up a total of 67 RUSHING YARDS.
3rd - Offensive line. This "patchwork" group of guys created those nice running lanes for Young, and they yielded a total of ONE sack.
4th - Special teams. Sure, they gave up a safety on a blocked punt in the second quarter, but the battle of field position clearly favored the Broncos in this game. In addition, Elam proved to be a warrior when he played through his own injury, managing to kick field goals of 44 and 50 yards. No small feat, considering his age, the injury and the muggy, windy conditions common to Kansas City.
Most Glaring Weaknesses
1st - Penalties. There were too many of them (12 total). Not only that, but near the end of the game, when they were trying to put the opponents away, the Broncos were flagged 6 times (2 were declined). While it didn't end up affecting the outcome, that was some pretty sloppy play.
2nd - Fumbles. The Broncos didn't turn the ball over, but there were two fumbles by the offense, both coming right after a big play. Clearly, if those fumbles had been recovered by the Chiefs, the outcome of the game could have been much different.
3rd - Third Downs. The Broncos converted 5 of 13. Not terrible, but every failed 3rd down usually means a field goal or punt. When you're a team that struggles to score points, and you're playing on the road, third down conversions needs to be better than 37%.
4th - The Safety position. How long will the Foxworth for Lynch experiement go on?
There was alot of talk this past week about how the team pulled together in order to start playing better. In the words of Dre Bly...
"Guys wanted it and it showed."
Will this serve to be the catalyst to turn this team around? Will they keep "wanting it" until they win the division? Will it show again when the Titans and their #4 rushing attack comes to town?
Only time will tell.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. - Albert Einstein
He is the most popular player we have traded. - Champ Bailey on Jay Cutler