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How I Saw It: Broncos Beat The Saints

September 22, 2008

Jeff and I have figured out our game plan for the rest of the season when it comes to reviews. We think that the best experience for you would be his review and mine. Mine will be on the day of the game and his the next. Hope you enjoy what he thought of the Broncos/Saints game.

This was a scary game to me. I was pretty sure Denver could win at home, but Reggie Bush is the kind of player that destroys the Broncos defense and this is just the kind of game we’ve lost the last couple of years.

Saints go three-and-out

Ekuban got a sack here and I think it’s the last time we pressured Brees all day.

Jay Cutler to Nate Jackson for 1 yard TD     Broncos 7     Saints 0

We came out running a much more conventional offense this week. I actually would have preferred for us to spread the field early like we did last week and become more conventional once we had the big lead.

Martin Gramatica Field Goal     Broncos 7      Saints 3

This drive was a sign of things to come. They ate up 7 minutes of clock and killed us with underneath stuff. That said we were good against the run and came up with a big play on defense when we needed to. That would be a theme for the game.

Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall for 35 Yard TD     Broncos 14     Saints 3

Good spot to go for it here as it was 2nd and 1. Great throw and a very nice catch by Marshall. These two have great chemistry right now.

Nate Webster 35 Yard Fumble Return for a TD     Broncos 21     Saints 3

As good as things are going this year here is the problem. In the old day this game would have been over right here. We would have pounded the rock and controlled the clock. Things did not quite happen that way.

Pierre Thomas 5 Yard TD Run     Broncos 21      Saints 10

Saints showed great character here by bouncing right back. Denver continues to have a lot of problems guarding the edges and covering TE’s. I don’t think Thomas was in the end zone here, but I can’t blame Shanahan for not using his second red flag early, especially considering it would have been second and goal from the inch line.

Jay Cutler is Intercepted by Mike MacKenzie

I love Cutler and think if the season ended today he would be the MVP. Who wouldn’t take 2 picks to 8 TD’s. But the picks come in horrible times. Last week it was in the end zone. This week it was on the first play from scrimmage after an opposing TD. He really tried to force an impossible throw here and it cost the team dearly. Tom Jackson said on ESPN last night that he thinks Cutler will be the best QB in the NFL because he can make throws nobody else can. Somebody has to remind Jay that there are throws even he can’t make.

Reggie Bush 23 Yard TD Run     Broncos 21     Saints 17

Can’t say I’m surprised. I said on Raider Hater during my preview of this game that Bush would have a big game. Luckily, looking at the schedule, we have a bit of a break from super fast RB’s who catch out of the backfield and make guys miss. They hurt us.

Matt Prater Field Goal     Broncos 24     Saints 17

Selvin Young looked really good on this drive and I think we should really let him carry the load next week. A great catch and run by Marshall to help set up the field goal.

Goal Line Stand

When’s the last time we had a goal line stand? The Saints helped here. Brees fumbled on third down. Not only that but they were killing us on the edges and yet on 2nd and 4th down they tried to run it up the middle. Very unoriginal play calling from Payton and a great job by the middle of the Denver defense.

Safety     Broncos 24     Saints 19

Probably would have preferred that they threw it here actually. The O-line has kept Cutler clean all year and Jay never seems to miss that 8 yard slant to Marshall. Defense wouldn’t have been looking for it either.

Halftime

A disturbing trend. Big lead after a quarter. Suddenly a game at halftime.

A Pair of Three and Outs

For the second straight week Denver comes out of the half and looks stale. They have to figure out a way to look as good in the second and third as they do in the first and fourth. At least this week the defense played well on the Saints first drive after the break.

Michael Pittman 2 Yard TD Run     Broncos 31     Saints 19

Nice drive by the Broncos. What’s the sign of a great offense? They didn’t even look that good this week and were still responsible for 27 points. Pittman continues to be productive in the red zone.

Drew Brees to Reggie Bush for a 6 Yard TD     Broncos 31     Saints 26

There was of course the 74 yard completion to Robert Meachem that set this up. This was just a terrible match-up for Denver and they paid for it. Far too easy once again for the Saints to respond.

Matt Prater Field Goal      Broncos 34     Saints 26

Another nice drive for the Broncos to set up the field goal. Very similar to the third quarter drive against San Diego. Eddie Royal had a catch on this drive. I was a little disappointed by how invisible he was on this day.

Pierre Thomas 10 Yard TD Run     Broncos 34     Saints 32

Another punishing and demoralizing drive by the Saints. Brees had all day and couldn’t miss a pass. The ease of the TD run was disappointing as well.

Two Point Conversion Failed

Brees tried to force this one to Bush in the end zone and he was covered by three Broncos defenders. This is what makes Shanahan’s decision last week all the more amazing. Two pointers are really hard to convert.

Tony Scheffler Fumbles

Deja vu. Another potentially game threatening red zone fumble and this one counted. I’m not sure he ever had possession but after last week I guess we owed the football Gods one.

Gramatica Missed Field Goal    Broncos Win 34-32

Great stop by DJ to force a slightly longer field-goal attempt. I gotta admit that part of me was kind of hoping he’d hit it. I still think we would have won the game. I have that kind of trust in Cutler late in the game. I’m also kind of glad they only needed a field goal instead of a TD. It changed the way they played the game. If they needed a TD I think they probably could have gotten it. Instead Payton made the same mistake a lot of coaches do. He only NEEDED a field goal so that’s what he played for. Hence, the attempt to run up the middle on 3rd and 1 instead of something a little more imaginitive.

Final Thoughts

The Broncos are 3-0. A lot of people are calling us lucky this morning, but I think that is ridiculous. It was a shoot out and while our defense didn’t play well they were more capable of coming up with the big play when needed than New Orleans was. The Fumble Return, The Goal Line Stand, The Stop of the 2 Pointer and the stop by Williams on Third and One were all huge reasons why we won this game. If next week is this close something is wrong, but the last two have been good wins over good teams. Are you starting to believe yet?

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