I want to say right from the get go, congratulations to all the Bronco fans. You guys look to have a great season and based on what I saw last night, I would readily pick Denver to win the West and return to the playoffs. I will rationalize this in just a bit but first I want to bust on my Steelers while the game is still fresh on my mind.
First to the organization itself. What the hell were you thinking during the off season. You had the black and gold guys play basically with a makeshift offensive line the entire second half of last year. And here with the kickoff of a brand new season you still field a makeshift OL? What gives? You only carry 7 offensive linemen? You do realize that five have to be in the game on every offensive play right? And to have only two deep on the OL is criminal. Your starting left tackle Max Starks is the same guy you cut July 2011 and resigned out of necessity for the last seven games of the the season. In the third quarter of the 1st game of the season, you were one injury away from either Tight End, Paulson or Pope, playing as a down lineman. I understand you can’t predict injuries but you do have to plan for them. I also understand you did not predict your #1 draft pick to get injured in the pre-season game against the Bills. I got all of that. I also understand that you started Mike Adams, another rookie, out of necessity even though he had a poor pre-season. Adams however was one of the few bright spots on the night. Hopefully you get this fixed before next week. The home opener against the Jets will be just as ugly if some of the OL issues are not addressed. Because we all know, Big Ben is going to hold the ball as long as he can.
Now for the defense; on another site I made a quote that last night’s game would prove out one of two things. Would it show whether or not Manning was back to form or would it show that Pittsburgh’s Defense was getting slow. The results were, yes and yes.
Peyton methodically picked the Pittsburgh defense apart. It was like watching a master craftsman at work. I guess realistically, that’s what it was.
If Polamalu moved back to help with the pass defense Peyton checked off to a run. If Troy moved up to help with the running game, Peyton countered with a quick slant or out. I am not saying that Troy is still the key to the Steelers defense; but Peyton did last night. Cortez Allen and Keenan Lewis found out real quick they were no match for Peyton’s passing attack. I am not sure if they do not have the physical strength to battle receivers for the ball or if they don’t have the speed to stay with them, but whatever their problem is Peyton made it look way too easy last night. While I am not missing William Gay, personally because I don’t think the result would have been any different, I do hope that one or the other of those two DBs step up and improve.
If the readers view this as me making excuses for the Steelers and not giving Denver enough credit then I apologize because that is certainly not the case here. In fact, I mentioned earlier that I would rationalize my statement on why Denver would win the west. Well, here it is. It has nothing to do with my opinion that the AFC West is the second weakest division in the American Football Conference. It has more to do with Peyton and Denver’s Defense.
Denver’s defense, which was not bad last year, looked even better and really strong last night. And it just wasn’t the guys up front , even though they did have 5 sacks. Forget that it was against a team that normally gives up three or four sacks a game due to Ben holding onto the ball so long. Forget that their OL is still atrocious. The thing to remember is this, it was the strong physical play of Denver’s secondary that created the biggest head aches for the Steelers.
They were not afraid to challenge off the line. They hit like Mac Trucks. And, probably the best, they stripped ball after ball out of the hands of the Steeler receivers. There were numerous plays last night that the Steelers receivers had the ball in their hands just to see it stripped away with a swipe of a hand. The Bronco’s D played that part of the game about as well as I have seen in a long time. They were not afraid to risk a Pass Interference and stayed aggressive all game long.And the Steeler receivers could not physically play them and hold on.
With the pressure the Broncos can present up front and the physical play making of their secondary, AND now that they have a legitimate Quarterback that reads defenses as well as anyone in the league; I think they just put the entire NFL on notice for the 2012 season; not just the AFC West. Peyton of course has to stay healthy.
This is my opinion, hope you enjoy the read.
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