The 3rd and final part of our look back at the Broncos-Ravens game features the Special Teams and rookies. Last season, the Broncos had one of the better Special Teams units. The only thing that’s changed from then until now, is a few new members on the coverage team. The key players remain. Guys like Britton Colquitt, Matt Prater, Aaron Brewer, Wesley Woodyard and Captain David Bruton.
During the preseason, we saw a an overwhelming amount of missed Tackles and blown coverages, pretty sloppy play. Some of that was due to rookies trying to make the team. It wasn’t a good representation of what we should see during the regular season.
So let’s pick apart what happened in Thursday night’s win over the Baltimore Ravens and see what the Special Teams did to affect the outcome of the game.
The kicking team was busier than usual with 7 Touchdowns from the Offense. Matt Prater was a perfect 7 for 7 on Extra Point conversions and 8 for 8 on Touchbacks when kicking off.
Britton Colquitt punted 7 times, with a gross average of 45.6 yards and a 40.9 yard net average. Colquitt’s longest punt was his first one, which went 59 yards for a Touchback. He pinned the Raven’s Inside the 20 yard line 5 times, forced Ladarius Webb to call for a Fair Catch 4 times and effectively limited Baltimore in the field position battle. Only 1 Tackle was needed and Steven Johnson made it on Ladarius Webb’s 13 yard Punt Return in the 4th Quarter. Aaron Brewer assisted on the play after Virgil Green’s Missed Tackle.
There were no kick returns in this contest due to the thin air at Mile High, but Wes Welker and Trindon Holliday saw some action in the Punt Return game. Welker had three chances, with mixed results. He muffed the first one, leaving the Raven’s a great scoring opportunity on the Broncos 1 yard line. Ray Rice scored on the following play. Welker’s other two chances came late in the game. He brought the first one back 27 yards, leaving the Broncos good field position at their own 44 yard line. The other went for a Fair Catch.
Trindon Holliday had 4 opportunities with pretty good results. On the first one, he was forced Out of Bounds after 5 yards as the Raven’s tried to pin him near the sideline with a directional kick. The second went for 3 yards, but the Broncos received an extra 15 yards on an Unnecessary Roughness penalty on Raven’s Linebacker Albert McClellan. Holliday’s final two returns went for 14 yards each, giving him a 9.0 yard average on the day. With Welker’s addition, the Broncos averaged a healthy 10.5 yards per Punt Return on the day.
The Game Ball on Special Teams could go to either kicker, but David Bruton made two excellent plays during Thursday’s game that made an impact. On the 3rd Broncos punt, he downed Colquitt’s offering at the 15 yard line after Baltimore’s rookie Brandon Trawick took out teammate Jacoby Jones who had called for a Fair Catch. Both Raven players were injured on the play. The other play that had an impact came on Baltimore’s 1st possession in the 2nd Half. As Raven’s punter Sam Koch tried to flip the field position from his own 14 yard line, David Bruton made a nice swim move between two blockers and blocked the punt. Paris Lenon recovered the ball at the Baltimore 10 yard line. Two plays later, Peyton Manning flipped a short pass to the left, hitting Wes Welker for a 5 yard Touchdown. That made the score 28-17 at that point and put the Broncos in the driver’s seat for the rest of the game.
1st round pick, DT Sylvester Williams was in for 18 total snaps. 8 run, 5 pass, 2 run block and 3 pass block. He had one Tackle in the game, a 1 yard loss on Ray Rice late in the game.
2nd round pick, RB Montee Ball played 18 total snaps Thursday. 8 run, 5 pass, 2 run block and 3 pass block. Montee finished with 24 yards on 8 carries (3.0 avg.) and a long of 9 yards.
3rd round pick, CB Kayvon Webster played 18 total snaps. 8 run, 5 pass, 2 run block and 3 pass block. Webster recorded his first Tackle of the season. Kayvon was thrown at twice during those snaps. He broke up one and allowed a 13 yard reception on the other, with no yards after the catch.
7th round pick, QB Zac Dysert was on the Inactive list for the game.
The Broncos were penalized 8 times for 61 yards. The first flag didn’t occur until the 9:35 mark of the 2nd Quarter when Duke Ihenacho was called for Defensive Holding. However the crowd helped get that 5 yards back on the next play, forcing Raven’s Tackle Kelechi Osemele into a False Start with the noise generated by the 3rd largest attendance at a Broncos Home game. The crowd induced 3 False Start penalties in this contest. The other penalties consisted of 3 False Starts (Clady, Vasquez and Welker), 1 Offensive Pass Interference (Decker), Offensive Holding (Moreno), Defensive Pass Interference (T.Carter) and the Face Mask by Rahim Moore. Rahim’s penalty helped the Raven’s continue a scoring drive, but otherwise, none of the Bronco penalties affected the game.
Obviously, there are things to work on before our beloved Orange and Blue warriors are hitting on all cylinders. But it is difficult to complain about hanging 49 points on the defending Super Bowl champs.
One week. One win. Time to look forward to the New York Giants and a Manning a Manning showdown. Until then…
– Kaptain Kirk