It appears that the Denver Broncos will face some adversity this season. After beating up the Steelers on Sunday Night last week, it appeared that Manning was going to transform the Broncos into the Colts circa 2009 and start the season 12-0. Well that is definitely not the case. Peyton threw interceptions on three consecutive drives to start the game, spotting Atlanta a 10-0 start. Had Denver’s defense not played so well it could have been worse.
Those three interceptions by Manning were some of the ugliest throws of his illustrious career. All three of them looked like wounded ducks flying through the air and they were all thrown into double, and triple coverage. It seemed that either his receivers were not on the same page with him or Manning was trying to force some balls to receivers. His second interception to DeCoud looked like he was fooled on the coverage, because if he had just thrown the ball further down the field he had an opportunity to hit Tamme in the endzone.
Denver was able to make the game interesting late, but the offense took way too long to get going. It appeared to me that the offense did not run the ball enough last night. McGahee ended up playing an excellent game finishing with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. When you hear 22 carries, you figure that they ran the ball quite a bit, but the way that Denver was picking up yards with regularity in the run game, it was just not enough in my opinion.
One person for the Denver offense that was extremely impressive last night, was right tackle Orlando Franklin. He was dominating the line of scrimmage on running plays, and sealed off linebackers on several key runs. As a whole though the Broncos offensive line was not that great in pass protection. They ended the game giving up three sacks, but one of them appeared to be Manning’s fault when he stepped up in the pocket when he really could have sat a bit longer before delivering a throw. I believe that the troubles have more to do with the new assignments the lineman are receiving up front and their lack of experience in a no huddle offense. With time I expect the offensive line to become more cohesive with their pass blocking.
Denver’s defense did a great job stopping Michael Turner and the rest of the running game, but unfortunately they lacked a consistent pass rush. Matt Ryan was able to stand tall in the pocket all night and was hardly ever forced to move around. The best aspect of the defense last night was that they only gave up 10 points on those three interceptions in the first quarter and were able to get consecutive stops late in the fourth quarter, giving Denver hope for a comeback. However, they could not get that last crucial stop, allowing the Falcons to run out the clock.
The Broncos now travel back home to take on the Houston Texans, who as of right now look like the class of the AFC. From week to week in the NFL, you just never know though.