By J-Dub and Ryan Meehan
Without any further fanfare, let’s just get to the stuff week one of the NFL season showed us.
1) Peyton Manning’s performance hid the fact the Broncos’ defense sucks.
If Thursday night taught us anything, it’s that the Broncos are indeed going to struggle on the defensive side of the ball. By “struggle,” we’re talking something akin to a turtle on its back getting gang-raped by a group of Hell’s Angels all to an all Kenny G soundtrack. If you consider all of the mistakes that Baltimore made offensively, the fact that Denver gave up 27 points is pretty pathetic. Ray Rice is a pretty solid “yards after contact” guy, but against the Ponies defense, he got more second chances than Robert Downey Jr.
Not to mention, we aren’t even counting the mistake made on the interception return that by all that is right in the football universe should have resulted in yet another Broncos’ touchdown. This is where Danny Trevathan had a “Honey Badger meets DeSean Jackson” level brain-fart. After making the pick, and cruising to what should have been the “pick-six” part of this, he inexplicably released the ball before he crossed the goal line in a momentary lapse of judgment reminiscent of a young DeSean Jackson. As you would hope, Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio ripped Trevathan’s ass open like he was Edward Norton in the prison shower scene in American History X, because Denver can’t expect Grandpa Manning to chuck 7 touchdowns every week.
Besides, expecting Fetushead Manning to bail you out on a weekly basis is a reasonably solid plan in the regular season, it’s going to kill Denver in the play-offs. Given the past history, Manning will get you a shit-load of wins between September and December, but in January he becomes as dependable as a nine dollar cell phone. The problem is that after Thursday, Bronco Nation is “all in” on that phone you wouldn’t trust your grandmother’s life with; they now expect that every time the elder Manning brother steps onto the field, he is going to throw more successful scoring passes than a 1970’s Warren Beatty with a sugar bowl full of coke. This will prove to be like expecting Wendy’s employee to give a lecture on nuclear fission in between the time it takes after you’ve consumed an entire a double Baconator combo meal with extra cheese and mayonnaise and when you regain consciousness staring up at the paramedics.
A championship-level NFL defense is supposed to dominate opposing offenses like the Red Army rolled through Prague in 1968. Without Von Miller until week 7, and with no real replacement for Elvis Dumervil, the Bronco idea of defense is a bit like Saddam Hussein promising the “Mother of all Battles” while rolling out to meet the U.S. Marine Corps with a half-dozen Buick LeSabres. To keep the military analogies going, the Ravens played the role of France as they let der grüppenfuhrer Manning goose-step down the Champs-Elyseés while they were busy worrying about how to properly stomp the wine grapes.
But not everybody is going to lay down for the Blitzkrieg like Baltimore did. To win in January, eventually this Bronco defense is going to have to show it can stop somebody.