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Facing a collapse of epic proportions, Broncos go silent

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    Jay Cutler. Mum.

    Brandon Marshall. Mum.

    Champ Bailey. Mum.

    For reasons they'll keep to themselves – but are pretty obvious to everyone else – the Denver Broncos have switched to silent running. If there's one thing that has marked the AFC West relationship between the Broncos and Chargers the past couple years, it's the amount of yapping that's gone on between them. But something about the events of last Sunday have brought a hush from Denver.

    In the aftermath of that “sickening” meltdown against the Buffalo Bills, followed this week by the predictable questions about how the Broncos will handle the pressure of Sunday's all-or-nothing game at Qualcomm Stadium, not to mention the teams' oft-stated dislike for each other, all three of the Broncos'biggest stars have made themselves unavailable to San Diego media.

    Realistically, aside from the fact they are one loss from choking away a three-game lead over the Chargers in three weeks time and becoming the first team with that large a lead this late in the season to miss the playoffs, the Broncos have no reason to hide. That they're still over .500, still just as well-positioned for a division title and postseason berth as the infinitely more talented Chargers, is rather impressive.

    Perhaps no team in the NFL, including the Tom Brady-less bunch in New England, has battled the injury bug like the Broncos. They've been hit hardest where they live, too.

    In the 14 years that Mike Shanahan has been their head coach, even those Super Bowl-winning seasons with John Elway at quarterback, the Broncos used the running game as the rock-solid foundation of their offense. Now they're barely left with a healthy leg to stand, let alone run, on.

    The Broncos are down to their eighth running back, Tatum Bell, a guy who was selling cell phones in a Denver-area mall when this season began, yet they're rated 12th in average yards rushing per game. By comparison, while the Chargers haven't gone a game without LaDainian Tomlinson in the starting lineup, they rank 28th.

    Denver also has lost two of its best defensive players – both named Bailey, as in Champ and Boss – to injury for extended periods. Boss is on injured reserve, but Champ returned to the secondary last week.

    Moreover, as San Diego will recall all too well, the Broncos have played with rare courage. Throwing out the human-error factor – no, Ed Hochuli will not be assigned to Sunday's game – the only reason the Broncos are 8-7 and the Chargers 7-8 is that gutsy two-point conversion pass Sept. 14. Not only was the pass ordered by Shanahan, but it was thrown by Cutler to a rookie, Eddie Royal.

    Ah, Cutler. Now there's where this game really gets its extra juice.

    Regardless of the teams, the NFL and NBC most likely would have exerted the “flex-schedule” rules to a final-Sunday showdown for all the division marbles, changing kickoff time from 1:15 p.m. PST to 5:15. But don't think the personality clashes involved didn't qualify Broncos-Chargers as must-see TV.

    It's one thing when a star wide receiver and opposing cornerback get to trash-talking each other in the course of a game or even the week before a game. Standard stuff, really. But when those two players are both quarterbacks, well, stop the presses and roll cameras.

    Which certainly makes it understandable why Cutler – who routinely has waved off Rivers questions since they yelled and gestured derisively to each other in last year's game at Qualcomm – declined to be interviewed.

    Cutler's play has done plenty of talking, although as much as he has carried the lame-legged, defenseless Broncos to where they are now, it's still questionable how he came to be selected over Rivers for the Pro Bowl. Rivers'numbers in nearly every category – he has led the NFL in passer rating virtually all season – are superior to Cutler's.

    The latter's best game of the season, however, was the the Chargers' Week Two visit to Invesco Field. Cutler scorched San Diego for 36 completions – half of them to Marshall – worth 350 yards and four touchdowns. Wonder if you will how Cutler may deal with the pressure of the situation at hand – especially with the Chargers playing so much better defense – but know that he's already beaten the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets on the road.

    On the other other hand, the Broncos also lost to Kansas City and Oakland. Their late-season free-fall started with a three-TD defeat by the Raiders in Denver, a result almost as preposterous as the loss to Buffalo.

    Whatever friction exists between Rivers and Cutler, too, understand that there's also respect between the two teams in the trenches. For years, veteran Broncos center Tom Nalen said any conversation about his toughest foe began and ended with Jamal Williams, the Chargers nose tackle.

    Last offseason, the Broncos signed center Casey Wiegmann because they needed a backup for Nalen, but also because the smaller Wiegmann had played well against Williams in his years with the Kansas City Chiefs. When several Chargers recently were asked to name an opposing player they'd vote into the Pro Bowl, knowing almost nobody else would, Williams said Wiegmann would be the name on his ballot.

    Nalen's on injured reserve. Wiegmann's starting. The difference between the matchup of Wiegmann versus Williams and Cutler vs. Rivers, of course, is that the two linemen will actually be banging into each other.

    The general sense in Denver and San Diego is that what's happened since their last matchup, how they got to this peculiar point, is far less important than what they do against each other in Week 17. Maybe you have to live in the AFC West to really get it.

    “They've been up and down all season, but we know they're going to bring it for us,” Bailey told Denver reporters. “They always do.”

  2. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard FORMER Charger fan at 7000'

    Jul 12, 2007
    Could we PLEASE stop with the "gutsy call" bullshit on that two-point conversion. Shanahan knew his defense wasn't going to stop SD if we won the toss, and he knew he was playing with house money at that point.
  3. SD Native WY

    SD Native WY Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2008
    We need to shut up and win the game.........Talk is cheap....JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    It's amusing to hear them so quiet, usually they felt cocky enough to just flap their gums constantly. This time, they're keeping dead silent
  5. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    From now on we see a Donk Helmet, we kill the man wearin' it. So run you Donk!. And tell the other Donks the law is coming. You tell 'em We're coming! And Hell's coming with us you hear! Hell's coming with us!!!!

    • Like Like x 1

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

    Oct 13, 2006
    There's NO reason we should pound the Donks to a horrible season ending.

    They had the opportunity two times to slam the door and clinch the division. They were unable!!!
  7. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    The Broncos aren't that good you guys. If they want to play the nut-up silent **** that's fine because enough has already been said by them in the past.

    We all know how much the media and NFL seem to love licking donkey balls so screw it.

    Go Chargers!! :bolt:
  8. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

    Apr 27, 2006


    Silence is Golden!
  9. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    not always, seems yellow to me in this case
  10. ChargerPessimist

    ChargerPessimist Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2008
    i think they are tryin to avoid a karma kick.


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