|12-12-2005, 12:10 AM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
Gold, Lynch: Play of the game
Winning ugly sure beats losing
By Thomas George
Denver Post Staff Columnist
SoCals Link: http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_3300918
Scoreboard watching, safety John Lynch was saying after his team's tedious 12-10 victory over the Ravens, is never a good thing. Taking care of your own business is better, Lynch said.
Television watching, well, that must be different.
Because inside the Broncos' locker room, several players watched the finish of Kansas City-Dallas and Miami-San Diego. Outside, for the few thousand left in the stadium, the games were shown on jumbo split-screen.
The Broncos and their fans thought they had just completed one awful, ugly victory - until they saw Kansas City's and San Diego's awful, ugly losses.
It was another simple reminder that stench should never overpower victory.
Looking for a blowout, the Broncos found a bear in these birds from Baltimore who love belting the Broncos. They arrived 4-8 but saw blue and orange and turned into a competitive football team.
It was a 6-3 game early in the third quarter. Though the Broncos were leading, they were finding that the Ravens defense knew how to slam the Broncos running game and compact their offense. The Ravens revealed once again how much this Denver offense can struggle when the running game is boxed.
Denver took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove from its 25 to the Baltimore 35. On fourth-and-1, the Broncos failed. Ravens ball.
Three Ravens plays later, Chester Taylor ran at the Broncos in a belly weak attack - that is fullback coming through, action spilled from linebacker D.J. Williams toward Lynch. Linebacker Ian Gold was also near the action.
You go belly weak, you do not want to go at Lynch and Gold.
Both may have the stiffest guts on this defense.
So, Taylor runs it up in there and Lynch pops him and sticks his hand in there, just doing what he is supposed to do, Lynch said. The ball pops loose.
"And Ian looked like he was shot out of a cannon," Lynch said.
Gold recalled: "It was me and Kyle Boller that had a shot at the recovery. I was not going to let Kyle get to the ball before me. I wasn't having that."
In other words, in a dive for a loose ball, in a matter of ferocity and fight, a linebacker should always win that bout against a quarterback.
Gold got it.
Eight Denver plays later, Jake Plummer passed to Kyle Johnson for a touchdown and all of the points the Broncos would need to win.
That Lynch-Gold connection turned the game Denver's way and put some oomph into a team that was grinding, but often spinning. The other chief sequence of the game was Ron Dayne's fumble near midfield with 6:08 left and Boller's fumble while running (a fumble though he was untouched) on the very next play.
It was a horrific day for Boller, and anyone who saw it would have to consider that he was, simply, horrible.
"No, he's not horrible," Gold said. "He's young and he's got a lot to learn, but he'll be all right."
It is a lot easier to say that when he is not on your sideline.
But Lynch and Gold are for the Broncos, guys who last season passed each other on the way to familiar ground, Lynch from the Bucs to the Broncos and Gold from the Broncos to the Bucs. This season Gold returned home.
Lynch and Gold represent much of what is good about the Broncos and particularly about their defense. Both are steady players, dependable ones, unafraid of the battle and capable of stellar contribution. Both work as hard in practice as in games. Both understand the essence of football. Both are able to communicate it.
"We have been looking for our goal-line and red-zone defense to be this good and we got it today," Gold said.
"That and the turnovers," said Lynch, "was key. I've been part of some special defenses. If you can play goal-line and red-zone defense like that, your defense is doing what it needs to do most - prevent the points."
The Broncos' defense gathers for dinner each Thursday and Lynch said the group through that fellowship has drawn closer. In those dinners he has gained the chance to know Gold better. Lynch said that in Gold, he sees a player who goes about his work as if it matters, like Lynch does.
The Broncos are the beneficiaries.
Any play where Lynch and Gold connect, that is likely a good play for this defense, for this team.
Even in a game like this one, where plenty on the field crumbles, these are two players tough to crack.
|12-12-2005, 12:14 AM||#3|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004