Quick Takes: Ravens at Broncos, 2015 Week 1, 19-13 Win

Childhood photo of new Broncos defensive mastermind, Wade Phillips

Well, Kubiak’s first game as a head coach is officially in the books. Personally, I’m just happy football’s back. Remembering years like 2013, it’s amazing that we could even win a game scoring only 19 points. Our defense can win games clearly, they did today.

Keep in mind that these are written in real time, so I may contradict myself at certain points. For instance, if Manning had an excellent first quarter, only to stink the rest of the game, you may see some Manning love early in the Elway column. That’s only an example, that wasn’t the case today.

The Elway:

-Chris Harris might have had problems with Steve Smith in 2006.

-Manning hits a curl to Demaryius Thomas 15,287 times a game on average.

-Manning has shown that he can do his annoying little checks from both the shotgun as well as under center.

-Manning is throwing the ball the best I’ve seen since early 2014.

-If you need a four yard first down Emmanuel Sanders is money.

-Brandon McManus is the Mc-MAN-us. I know I’ve made that pun before, but 57 yards is special.

-So Brandon Marshall can cover, rush the passer, and stop the run. Can he perform neurosurgery too?

-Seems like the days of quarterbacks dancing around for six seconds while we run conservative defenses are over. If you don’t get it off in three seconds you aren’t getting it off against this defense.

-Owen Daniels is nifty for a ninety year old man.

-Well, if nothing else, Manning’s arm’s sharp once again. Good zip.

-Although it was an uncalled horse collar, watching DeMarcus Ware flip Joe Flacco onto his back made me giddy. By the way, screw Joe Flacco.

-Von on Wade Phillips: “He makes you love football.”

-Manning doesn’t need to throw the football if he can keep making the defense jump offsides.

-I love DT’s running style. It’s unique and fun to watch.

-McManus is automatic from 50+. Continues in a long line of good Broncos Brandon’s. Brandon Stokley, Marshall, and Marshall.

-Justin Forsett might be the only running back small enough to get laid out by Danny Trevathan. Good hit.

-Is it 2009? DeMarcus Ware looks like an All Pro again.

-Bruton played nice run defense in the T.J. Ward box safety role.

-Again, our defense is absolutely filthy.

-Who needs preseason when you’re Emmanuel Sanders? He picked up right where he left off.

-C.J. Anderson on the trust Kubiak’s giving him: “It would be disrespectful to be unproductive in this offense.”

-Lot of sacks allowed but a lot of them were coverage sacks. O Line doesn’t deserve all the blame.

-Chris Harris has the Champ Bailey gene; excellent open field tackler.

-I know, trading three and outs again and again is boring. It looks like we can win football games like this though.

-Manning threw a very impressive pass to Norwood on the outside with about a minute left in the half. Great touch.

-Speaking of Norwood, I know he can’t return punts, but he is a solid receiver.

-I love a good defensive showdown, and 9-3 at the half is definitely that.

-At least both quarterbacks are struggling equally, which makes me think these are just two great defenses.

-Vic Lombardi tweeted a gem at halftime

-I rarely saw Chris Harris, with the exception of stops in the running game, which could only mean one thing: solid coverage.

-Bruton played good man coverage on Maxx Williams in the 3rd. I like to see him play solid defense, he’s only been a special teamer to this point.

-Talib does give cushion on deep routes, but you aren’t completing anything underneath to him. He’s too aggressive and lengthy.

-Against a normal sized Quarterback, Von Miller would have had a few sacks today. He was in Flacco’s face regularly, but Flacco’s hard to bring down. Good disruption.

-Great coverage by Talib on the pick six. He jumps passes with the best of them.

-Paradis did a great job in downfield blocking on the 11 yard Hillman run in the fourth.

-Sanders can act the hell out of a defensive holding call.

-I went into mini-cardiac-arrest when DT was holding his leg on the sideline in the 4th quarter. Back in immediately, thank God.

-If only we had Darian Stewart instead of Rahim Moore on that fateful day in the 2012 divisional round.

-If this Defense isn’t elite, then I don’t know what elite is.

-How do you stop the Miller, Smith, Jackson, Ware sub package? Who do you block?

-I’m not gonna dock Bruton for great coverage. I don’t care what the ref says.

-Miller had the most impactful 0 sack game I’ve ever seen. He disrupted 5 sacks worth of plays.

-Roby was able to either disrupt the pass or distract Smith enough to cause an incompletion. Great coverage.

-Wow. That Darian Stewart pick was excellent. How’d he hold onto that?


The Neckbeard:

-Why can’t we give Curtis Marsh’s roster spot to a return specialist so we don’t have to risk injury with Sanders back there? I get it, he’s a good return man, but he’s also a good wide receiver.

-Everyone is talking about how Manning’s arm is shot, but I’m not seeing it. It almost looks more like his decision making and accuracy are off sometimes.

-7:52 in the First: Good thing the pass was tipped at the line, Manning was throwing it dangerously into coverage.

-Can CBS stop exposing me to toxic levels of Phil Simms?

-Just because you’re our best lineman doesn’t mean stupid false starts are ok. Talking to you Louis Vasquez.

-Peyton is still trying in vain to regain his deep accuracy. Good at other levels, but he consistently overthrows that.

-Speaking of Manning, his arm’s clearly back but his ball placement was questionable at times.

-I get it, the NFL has a love affair with C.J. Mosley but you can’t drape yourself over Anderson like that. Interference is interference.

-The pass blocking of the line needs to improve. Manning can’t take those hits.

-Offensive Line was not opening holes for C.J.

-Sure, he took a paycut, but is a punter who consistently fires 37 yarders really worth his roster spot?

-Again, way too many free runners on Manning.

-Never seen a false start on a quarterback before.

-Lot of bad second quarter calls, between the Manning false start and the clear offsides on the drive killing C.J. Mosley sack.

-Did the refs completely ignore the defenseless receiver rule on Webb’s hit on Norwood near the half? Terribly reffed game.

-C.J. Anderson really did not play well. I’m a big fan, but he badly needs to pick it up. We can’t be a ball control defensive team and not control the the clock.

-Manning can’t throw that pass into coverage on the Jimmy Smith pick 6. Again, that wasn’t an arm strength issue. His decision making was off, and if he’s going to throw that pass it needs to be considerably lower.

-Hillman was ok, but only in comparison to C.J.’s poor game. Bad game from the running game, I blame a strong Baltimore front 7.

-For all this talk of the “Kubiak Offense” we still throw five yard screens on 3rd and long. Where’s that vertical attack he’s famous for? I guess we’ll move back to that once Osweiler gets his shot. Manning’s the far better quarterback but he really can’t run that scheme.

-Aqib Talib gives up a little too much cushion for my liking in man to man coverage.

-In the second half, corners starting pressing Demaryius, taking away his underneath game. Says a lot about Manning’s deep passing ability that he couldn’t take advantage of that.

-Von Miller had a very quiet game, although we didn’t really need him to be honest.

-I love Shaq Barrett, but you can’t give up stupid special teams penalties. C’mon man.

-Cody Latimer did his best invisible man impression, but hopefully he can turn it around next week. His preseason was too strong for him to vanish now.

-Manning threw one pick that wasn’t 100% his faults, but there were a number of passes that should have been picked off. He looked even worse than the stat line shows.

You’re down by 4 with 3 minutes left in the 3rd. No Phil Simms, you don’t throw it underneath there.

-We need to establish a red zone offense.

-The Leprechaun is a sorry replacement for Barrel Man.

-Ray and Barrett were quiet, but also really not needed.

The Tebow:

-First off, shout out to LH Almeida for covering for me for most of the preseason. He’s a very talented writer who did a great job in my stead, and I encourage him to continue writing for Thin Air. If I could read Portuguese I would definitely frequent Mile High Brazil, so any bilingual Thin Air readers should keep that in mind. Thanks again.

-Joe Flacco looks like a 6’5 version of Bert from Sesame Street.

-Non Sequitur: Marc Trestman will be a good coach in this league for awhile. Bad situation in Chicago got him fired.

-If I were named “Javorius” I’d probably go by “Buck” too.

-The Glove has returned.

-Is Ronnie Hillman only good now because he’s part vampire? Seriously, what’s up with his mouthpiece?

-Wow, I forgot what an I-Formation even looked like. Weird to see us use a fullback.

-Hope Eugene Monroe is ok. Competition aside, he’s a consistent performer who’s struggled with injuries his whole career.

-First time I’ve ever seen a ref getting injured and helped by trainers on the sideline. Is there an official’s IR? Concussion protocols? That’s rare.

-Why can’t they give me a 70 million dollar deal to catch four yard slants all day.

-Peyton just appeared in two separate, unrelated ads, back to back. This is the apocalypse.

-Yeah Chris Simms, we get it, that sack was dirty, not get off DeMarcus jock.

-I want to hate Dumervil, but I can’t. If it were his choice he’d be wearing orange right now.

-4th and 3 has become an easy decision. Coaches finally realize that analytics can help them win football games. John Fox looked like Riverboat Ron in the earlier game at times. Oh wait, nevermind, they just wanted us to burn a timeout. Tucker’s automatic from 52.

-Is this 1952? It was 6-3 with 6:00 left in the first quarter. Real defensive showdown from two generally offensive minded teams.

-I may have to make myself deaf if I hear the “John Elway hired his backup” narrative again.

-Justin Tucker, a kicker with a legit leg in any circumstances, can boot it straight to the south stands in Mile High.

-I know you all love “Tebowing” but I have a new social media craze for you: “Colquitting”. How do I Colquitt you ask? First you get a football. Then you half heartedly shank it 15 yards. Then you look up and point thanking God that you somehow still have a job.

-I really do not like Thursday night games. I hope we can get rested up by then.

-Terrell Suggs injury is devastating. Tough to see a superstar like that be dealt that blow. I bet Matt Schaub  is the only one who won’t miss him.

-If Under Armour wants to completely lose their Denver market share, then they should keep playing that Tom Brady commercial during Broncos games. Doesn’t seem smart.

-Peyton’s just making stuff up now. “Sally! Sally Sally!”

-In case you wondered if these are two good defensive teams, there were two red zone snaps in the entire game.

-If Joe Flacco makes Crockett Gillmore look like Dennis Pitta, and Pitta look like Shannon Sharpe, is it possible that Flacco’s just really, really good?

Half Time Ramblings:

-I’m going to my mom’s birthday dinner (happy birthday Mrs. Duke) so sorry about the delayed publishing time. I’m watching the second half on recording.

-I hate the Raiders, but Pacman Jones is a classless POS

-Maybe the good guy can win sometimes. Mariota thoroughly outplayed Jameis. Four TDs in a half is undeniably special.

-The Verizon Luke McCown commercial is actually hilarious.

-Tyrod Taylor’s postgame fashion choice was, um, interesting. Good QB though.

-Red is not Andy Reid’s color. I think I’m gonna be sick.

-Between the Bills and the Rams, this was upset week.

The “Hoody McDaniels” Game Ball: Peyton Manning

The Real Game Ball: Brandon Marshall

Play of the Game: Darian Stewart game clinching interception

Stock Report:

Peyton Manning: Down

C.J. Anderson: Down

Demaryius Thomas: Push

Emmanuel Sanders: Up

Offensive Line: Down

Defense: Up

Key Stats:

Peyton Manning: 24/40, 175 Yds, 1 pick six

C.J. Anderson: 12 carries for 29 yards, 2.4 YPC

Ronnie Hillman: 12 carries for 41 yards, 3.4 YPC

Brandon McManus: 4/4 on field goals

37:17 time of possession, to only 22:43 opposing time of possession

Final Thoughts: I realize that my colleague Bob Morris pointed out that Stewart’s play didn’t clinch the game, and he’s right. Still, that was such an electric play, and seeing as he was up against his old team, I decided to give the new safety the honor.

All in all, I’d say it was a solid opener. I’m always worried about starting a season too hot, but we showed a core group which, with a little more pep, could go far. Our defense is malicious. I really have no concerns with that unit. When Aqib Talib, a player who would be a star on many teams, is arguably the weak link, that’s a solid unit. I gave the game ball to Brandon Marshall (6 tackles and a sack) but he’s really just representative of the whole unit. This new Wade Phillips unit could go be tops in the league. We didn’t allow a single offensive touchdown. Let that sink in.

Granted, we also didn’t score a single offensive touchdown. Manning looked flustered. The running game stunk. On that side of the ball, we really have a lot of work to do. Still, it’s easier to get an offense in sync as a season progresses, and it’s good to know that our defense can win games. All in all, I’d say this game went well, albeit not perfectly.

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Leo Duke

My twitter's @Leo_Elway. 17 year old Broncos fan, representing in PA. Email me at leoelway@gmail.com, or shoot me a tweet if you have any football questions.