“This is still the NFL. Nobody’s a cakewalk in this league.”~Champ Bailey
The Denver Broncos beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 35-19 on Sunday and the Chiefs defeated Oakland 24-7. Both teams lead the AFC West at 6-0 and this is only the 2nd time since the divisional structure was implemented in 1933 that two teams in the same division started 6-0. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, then members of the NFL’s Western Division, each started 10-0. Since 1990 (when the 12-team playoff format was adopted), 27 of the 29 (93.1%) previous teams to start 6-0 made the playoffs.
Peyton Manning passed for 295 yards and two Touchdowns in the Broncos’ win and now has 22 TD passes this season, the most through the first six games in NFL history. The Broncos have scored 265 points, the most by a team through the first six games of a season in NFL history.
So let’s review how our men in Orange did on Sunday.
While Peyton manning had a subpar (for him) performance. He threw 2 TD passes (one each to Wes Welker and Julius Thomas). He also lost a pair of Fumbles on bad exchanges from center and threw his 2nd Interception of the season, which linebacker Paul Posluszny returned 59 yards for a Touchdown to pull the Jaguars within 14-12 before the half.
Knowshon Moreno was definitely a Man on Fire. 3 rushing Touchdowns and 42 hard yards on 15 carries. He also made 7 catches on 10 Targets, for 62 yards, including one that went 28 yards. The Jaguars played Cover 2 all game, which allows for the dink and dunk short passes and forces the opposing QB’s to be patient. The effective way to fight the Cover 2 is to get a good running game going. Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball provided an assist in adding 35 yards on 7 carries and breaking off decent gains (11, 15 yards) in timely spots during the game.
Demaryius Thomas caught 3 balls for 78 yards, including a 42 yarder, on 5 Targets. Wes Welker made six grabs on 8 Targets for 63 yards, including a 20 yard Touchdown in the opening stanza. Julius Thomas caught the other TD with his 4 receptions for 22 yards. Eric Decker had a 5 catch, 50 yard day on 7 Targets. Most notably, rookie Montee Ball dropped his only 2 targets.
GAME BALL OFFENSE: Knowshon Moreno
The Denver Defense held the Jaguars to a 5-14 (35.7%) on 3rd downs and 0-3 on 4th Down conversions. Jacksonville was 1-3 in the Red Zone and had 71 yards rushing. Total. The Broncos got some pressure on Chad Henne, with Malik Jackson single-handedly providing 2 Sacks in 3 plays. Malik had 3 Tackles For Loss, 2 Hits on Henne, 1 Hurry and one Pass breakup to go along with 7 Tackles. Chris Harris led the team with 11 Tackles and 1 QB Hit. It’s never a good thing when your Slot Cornerback is making that many Tackles. The Broncos ran a lot of Zone coverage and Wesley Woodyard’s absence in the middle was notably present. Jaguars QB Chad Henne was 6/9 for 139 yards and a 149.3 Rating over the middle. Another notable was rookie Cornerback Kayvon Webster, who had 4 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Pass Breakup and his first career Interception in 13 Total snaps. Now that is making the most of your opportunity. Linebacker Danny Trevathan also had a pick to halt the last Jacksonville drive and seal the game, but he wasn’t very effective otherwise in coverage, including a missed Tackle.
The Defensive Line hurried Chad Henne 12 times and the trio of Malik Jackson, Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton were stout against the run. The Broncos are getting good value from their Big men, even though you won’t see it on the stat lines.
GAME BALL DEFENSE: Malik Jackson
Matt Prater made al 5 Extra Point attempts and put all 5 Kickoffs into the End Zone for Touchbacks. Britton Colquitt punting 3 times with an average of 43 yards. The first one was downed by the coverage team at the Jaguar 35. Colquitt punted from his own 21. Jacksonville return man Ace Sanders brought back the other 2, one for 5 yards and the other for a -3 yards giving him a 1.0 yard average. Virgil Green and Danny Trevathan each had a Special Teams stop and Kayvon Webster picked up a Missed Tackle. Trindon Holliday had a single opportunity and gained 1 yard on a punt return.
The Special Teams highlight came with less than a minute remaining in the 3rd Quarter. The Broncos lined up in a Punt Formation at their own 48 yard line. Upback David Bruton fielded the snap and took off down the left side for 35 yards to the Jacksonville 17. However, the Broncos didn’t capitalize on the maneuver due to a botched snap at the 4 yard line.
GAME BALL SPECIAL TEAMS: David Bruton
Looking ahead to next week’s clash at Indy, the Broncos will face another Cover 2 Defense and the gameplan will be similar to this week. However, upon watching the Monday Night game between the Chargers and Colts, San Diego showed the way to beat Indy. Run the ball and hog the clock. Like Peyton, Andrew Luck can’t score if he isn’t on the field.
– Kaptain Kirk