Broncos win big against Chargers.
While the Broncos did not win overwhelmingly, they got back on track against a good San Diego Chargers team. The Broncos overcame an injured starting running back and a running game that had problems establishing the running game and for a time they faced adversity going to a third string running back. They also suffered an injury in the coaching staff, and had a back up defensive coordinator calling plays. They overcame a late comeback attempt by the Chargers.
Last week, despite running for over 100 yards after the injury occurred, CJ Anderson was placed on Injured Reserve after a knee injury. Thus, the Broncos put Devontae Booker in the starting position. Booker went out early in the game for a few plays and the Broncos had third string running back Kapri Bibbs in the starting role. Bibbs struggled and Booker was luckily able to come back into the game. Booker had 19 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown in the game and also had 5 receptions for 30 yards as a safety blanket for Trevor Siemian. While Booker did not look overly impressive, he did enough to keep the Chargers honest with the running game. Bibbs, caused me to pose the question, What did the Broncos see in this guy to pick him over Hillman? I have not seen enough out of Bibbs to think he was better than Hillman or even at the same level. If Bibbs is our starter it appears we have some concern, though he only rushed the ball twice for 4 yards early in the game, and we know that the Broncos running game typically comes on late as they wear the defense out. Bibbs didn’t show much to me.
The Broncos again made Joey Bosa look like an all-star or rookie of the year candidate. Though the Broncos did not allow a sack, and the numbers don’t look pretty for Bosa, it was visually see how dominate he looked again. He caused a huge holding penalty on arguably the best offensive lineman on the team in Russell Okung. The Chargers did enough to keep themselves in the game with two turnovers on defense despite the three interceptions by Phillip Rivers. The Broncos scratched and clawed and fought for this win. Much like my prediction in last weeks column. This was a hard fought match up between two good teams, each team threw a haymaker and neither team fell down, both kept getting up until the very end when the Chargers could not convert a 4th and long to secure the win.
With approximately 9 minutes to go in the first half, Melvin Gordon ran into Wade Phillips and knocked him down. This occurred on the same play that Bradley Roby (more on him later) secured a great pick six. Phillips was taken out by cart and was able to move all of his extremities. The Broncos have had some bad luck when it comes to losing coaches this year. I think a lot of fans hearts dropped when they saw Phillips was being carted out. Obviously whenever somebody does not get up on their own and is taken to a hospital by a cart, it’s never a good sign, so as i’m sure we are all well aware of now, he is just fine and really wanted out of the hospital yesterday. I’m sure Wade was happy to see the team win. On behalf of Broncos County, we are glad you are okay coach!
The Passing game
Trevor Siemian looked better than he has the last few weeks since the shoulder injury. While Siemian did have a few balls that looked like they could have been interceptions, Broncos fans are likely just pleased that he took some deep shots that appear to have paid off. Though Emmanuel Sanders was lucky to have that diving catch as the Safety pulled back instead of laying a hit on Sanders to avoid himself a flag/fine. I for one am happy that while we saw some check downs by Siemian we were not limited to the check downs. Even the fourth down pass at the end of the first half was good enough for me even though the Broncos didn’t convert it, it was a shot that really had no negative effects on the game and it was worth the gamble.
Lorenzo Doss, what a game. Doss looked outstanding in the preseason and training game, and then kinda disappeared. Doss looked like he came in ready to play. Props to Doss for coming in and picking up where he left off in preseason. Roby, was outstanding with the pick six, showed great awareness for the ball and great ability to avoid defenders and time out his run to score the touchdown. I mentioned last week, that we should be worried if Talib is suspended because Roby had disappeared, well Roby showed a great ability to step up and rise to the occasion. Roby should be next on the list of Broncos being awarded new contracts.
While I really want to give Phillip Rivers a game ball for feeding the defense three interceptions, I really want to give it to Melvin Gordon as well because of how dominant the Broncos were with the absence of Wade Phillips, I think that sparked the team a lot as well. I think the real game balls should be:
Offense: Virgil Green
Some will be surprised, but Green showed up yesterday. The Tight End gives the Broncos an element to the offense that they did not have most of the season. Remember when the Broncos had Shannon Sharpe? A dominant TE which Green can be (granted not as good as Sharpe), will really help this team spread the ball out and find an open man. The way Green was used yesterday was exactly the way Kubiak’s offense is supposed to work. Green likely felt pressure due to the arrival of and trade for new Broncos TE AJ Derby from the Patriots.
Defense: Reggie Herring
For those of you who go, WHO?! Herring is the Broncos Linebackers coach who called a great game in relief of Wade Phillips due to the collision with Melvin Gordon. The 2nd place in my decision was Jared Crick who seemed like he was all over the field. Roby, Miller, Davis, Ward were other honorable mentions.
Next Week, Oakland on Sunday Night Football.
The Broncos and the Raiders fight for the division lead. The Raiders look like a team who is poised to finally make the playoffs after 14 years of competing for the top pick in the draft. Finally, Sunday Night Football has games that are really worth watching, I highly enjoyed the Eagles, Cowboys last night. The Broncos are going to have their hands full. Hopefully Stephenson and Okung and company can handle Khalil Mack this time (looking at you Michael Schofield). The Raiders are better on defense then the stats indicate, but I think the passing game is where the Broncos will find good success. This will be a good game and the Broncos surely know how serious of a match up they are in for.