|09-16-2007, 09:19 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Reality check: One game does not Super season make
By RICK JUSSEL The Daily Sentinel
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Lest you are too giddy about last Sundayís heart-stopping Denver Bronco win over the Buffalo Bills, the last-second field goal by Jason Elam being the final of the few nails driven into the Billsí coffin, you may want to check reality.
Yes, the Broncos are 1-0 and in a tie for first place with the San Diego Chargers.
Yes, the Broncos did have 470 yards total offense and hold the Bills below 200 total yards, 184 to be precise.
And, yes, the defense looked much improved over what was a sieve in preseason.
Still, there are a few little matters that may prove very important over the next month or so.
Matters like Ö
Ö The Indianapolis Colts, the defending Super Bowl champions who blew out a very good New Orleans Saints team 41-10 in its opener.
Ö The New England Patriots, who blew out its traditional rival, the New York Jets, 38-14 in its opener.
Ö The Pittsburgh Steelers, who bombed the Cleveland Browns 34-7 on Opening Day.
Ö And the afore-mentioned Chargers, who struggled to run the ball against the Chicago Bears, but totally slammed the door on Rex Grossman & Co., the defending NFC champions, to win 14-3.
Yes, all of those teams looked mighty impressive and, oh yes, those are among the teams the Broncos will have to beat to get near a Super Bowl berth.
The Broncos are not ready to do that yet.
Thatís not to say they canít get there, but as of right now, they are not close.
The game against Buffalo would support that statement.
True, second-year quarterback Jay Cutler threw for more than 300 yards.
True, new running back Travis Henry ran for 139 yards.
And true, the Broncos totally shut down the Bills, both in the air and on the ground.
But there were little nagging things that need to be corrected before the Broncos close ground on the AFC elite.
Cutler canít have those little brain cramps that occur when he is pressured. He canít keep pulling Jake Plummers and tossing the ball helter-skelter in any and all directions. Had running back Selvyn Young not knocked a backwards-pass out of bounds and picked up a penalty for illegal touching, Denver would have lost to Buffalo.
And Denver should have had more points on the board a couple of times when Cutler put the ball up for grabs in the end zone, one of those resulting in an interception, a couple others resulting in 3 points, not the desired 7.
Still, he did throw for 300 yards and did lead the team into field goal position in the final minute. And, oh yes, he looked at least a tad like another young quarterback who once specialized in leading the Broncos down the field in the final minutes.
And while Cutler was pulling off his imitation of that legend, Henry was looking more than a bit like Terrell Davis in chewing up yardage repeatedly on quick cuts and quicker cutbacks. He looks like the real deal.
Which heíll have to be again today against the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders come to town off a goofy 38-21 loss at home to the Detroit Lions, a game in which the Raiders actually led 21-20 with just more than 7 minutes left in the game.
Itís hard getting a good reading off of that game because the Raiders managed to accumulate 283 yards passing and 375 total yards ó super figures for them considering their recent offensive struggles ó but they gave up 392 yards to the Lions, a team that hasnít moved the ball well against anyone for years.
The Raiders got 313 yards passing from Josh McCown, who just barely earned the starting nod over Daunte Culpepper, but cracked a finger late in the contest, something that will probably keep him out of todayís contest.
Hence, a bit more confusion.
So, are the Raiders suddenly good offensively and bad defensively? Or were the Lions just one of those out-of-whack opponents that lend to confusion?
Iím thinking the Broncos, a huge 9 ¬Ĺ-point favorite in this one, will have more trouble moving the ball against the Raiders than did the Lions. After all, it is still the Raiders and they get geared up for the Broncos. Iím also thinking there is no way ó with either McCown or Culpepper at the controls ó that the Raiders get near the 400-yard mark on offense.
I make this one a bit of a defensive struggle. Iíll take my 1-0 record on picking with or against Denver (0-1 against the spread), and say the Broncos come out on top, 21-17. That will put the Broncos at 2-0 with Jacksonville due up next at New Mile High, a good start in the offing before things get real testy.
|09-16-2007, 10:30 AM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Topeka, KS
ummm...Earth calling Captain Obvious. This article is dumb. I don't think anyone's ready to call Denver dominant after the last-second win. This guy obviously ran out of story ideas...
|09-16-2007, 10:37 AM||#4|
Fan of the home team
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Durango, Colorado
Stir the pot Dragondawg! Stir!
Last edited by Odysseus; 09-16-2007 at 10:51 AM..