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oubronco
12-22-2009, 06:53 AM
Streaky Broncos want to break one, start one vs. Eagles
By Jim Armstrong
The Denver Post
Posted: 12/22/2009 01:00:00 AM MST


Denver's 20-19 loss Sunday to Oakland at Invesco Field at Mile High didn't sit well with Broncos fan Lisa Skul of Arvada. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)Football is a game of streaks. And, in case you hadn't noticed, football at altitude is a game of severe streaks.

The 2009 Broncos have reeled off a six-game winning streak followed by a four-game losing streak, a two-game winning streak and a two-game losing streak. You want to see more streaking than that, you've got to go to Wimbledon.

But then, we've come to expect that kind of thing from the Broncos, whose recent history is to start fast and fade at the finish. Mike Shanahan's final five seasons produced two five-game winning streaks, three four-game winning streaks, a four-game losing streak and three three-game losing streaks. As things turned out, the last of those three-game streaks cost Shanahan his job.

Enter first-year coach Josh McDaniels, who was put in charge of fixing the streakiness but, sure enough, has ridden the same roller coaster, including a devastating 20-19 loss to Oakland at home Sunday. So what's the problem?

Sometimes the players haven't executed, and at other times, as McDaniels admitted Monday, the coaches haven't gotten the job done.

"It's not that they aren't playing hard," McDaniels said. "It's not that they aren't giving great effort. It's not that they're not trying to do everything we've asked them to do. . . . And they're not entirely to blame for any of this, either. This is a game where you've got to coach well in those situations and you've got to play well in those situations. It's got to kind of marry together."

Those situations.

As in first down, third down, the red zone and short yardage, the hottest of hot spots for an offense that struggles to score more than 20 points. The meltdown against the Raiders included the Broncos coming away with one touchdown in four trips to the red zone.

The loss left the Broncos at 8-6, dangling just above the fray in the race for the second AFC wild-card berth. Now comes a road trip to Philadelphia, where the

First-round pick Knowshon Moreno was held to 42 yards on 19 carries by the Raiders in the Broncos' 20-19 loss Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High. In the second half he had eight carries for no yards on first down. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post )Eagles, just to prove teams near sea level like to streak too, have won five in a row.

"We're not dead," McDan-iels said. "We're going to keep playing, and we've got to get better at some of these things, certainly. . . . We've got a lot to play for. We still have put ourselves in position to qualify (for the playoffs) and do the things we want to do. This is a very harsh league that, if you don't play well enough, you're going to be in a dogfight or you're going to find yourself on the losing end.

"We need to have a great week of preparation. This is one of the best teams in all of football. They have a great organization, they're playing extremely well and they're playing for a lot."

The Eagles (10-4) are a game behind Minnesota for the second-best record in the NFC, so they're trying to keep alive their hopes of a first-round playoff bye. If the Broncos are going to win, they'll have to shore up several sore spots that reared their heads Sunday.

"I'm not going to go into a play-by-play thing," McDan-iels said. "I think we had plenty of opportunities to win the game. They played better than we did in those situations, that's just the bottom line. And they coached better. So we've got to do better than that."

He didn't need to provide play by play. The Broncos' issues were obvious, starting, in no particular order, with their running game. To wit: Know-shon Moreno in the second half had eight carries for no yards on first down.

Then, of course, you had the red-zone struggles, along with the defense's inability to stop the Raiders' running game, which accounted for 241 yards 161 on seven carries. And, as has often been the case since their season-opening win streak, the Denver defenders couldn't get off the field on third down.

"Definitely, we have to get off the field," safety Brian Dawkins said. "Whatever it takes to make plays, we have to get off the field."

How ugly has it been on that front? Consider this: Denver opponents had 78 third-down situations in those first six games. In the eight games since, they've had 168.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, "We've just got to get it in the end zone," wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. "It's the same thing that's been wrong for us off and on all year. We have to execute and do a better job."

Said wide receiver Brandon Stokley: "Right now, it's kind of going right down the line. Everybody is making mistakes, and you can't have that. We've got to move on and learn from our mistakes. If you're looking in the rearview mirror and feeling sorry for yourself, you're going to have a tough day in Philadelphia."

Jim Armstrong: 303-954-1269 or jmarmstrong@denverpost.com



Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_14045599#ixzz0aQgDfrGs

Crushaholic
12-22-2009, 08:42 AM
We go from +7 in turnover margin to -1. That's a very telling stat. It seems like we're just going through the motions. That kind of play won't get a team anywhere close to the Super Bowl...

WE NEED TURNOVERS!!!!!