By Leora Ruzin // @LeoraKitty78
Raiders 19-20 Broncos
After coming from behind in the 4th quarter to beat the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos remain undefeated.
It is way too early in the season to celebrate though, especially when you play in the same division as the scary-looking Kansas City Chiefs. This should give any Denver fan a reason to be cautiously optimistic.
The Broncos continue to struggle on offense, as quarterback Case Keenum works through the playbook learning curve. Keenum finished the night 19/35, with 222 yards, and one interception. These are stats that would make anyone itchy to hit that ejection seat.
His regression from Week 1 should not be an immediate cause for alarm, however. Halftime adjustments, particularly on the offense, helped the team finally find the end zone in the 2nd half. Keenum was calmer in the pocket during the 2nd half. He even scored a touchdown on a QB keeper early in the 4th quarter.
Running back Phillip Lindsey sure is something special. The Colorado hometown back became the first undrafted rookie RB in the history of the NFL to break over 100 yards rushing in his first two games. He has the speed and agility that the Broncos have not had in their offensive arsenal since the last time #30 (Lindsey’s number) was worn in Denver.
It is no surprise that Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis told Lindsey that he would be honored for Lindsey to wear his old jersey number. If you didn’t know it was 2018, you would think you were watching Davis on the field. And it really is a ton of fun to watch.
Phillip Lindsey the new TD. Undrafted. #30. Vision off the charts. Balance of a ballerina. Strong base.
— Zane (@ThomasP_20) September 16, 2018
Fan favorite wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders continues to have a resurgence this season. While he did not find the end zone in Week 2, he still averaged 24 yards a catch for a total of 96 yards. He helped keep a key drive going in the 4th quarter that set up the game-winning field goal. His energy and positive attitude continue to reap rewards for the team, and it is clear that he still loves playing football, even after nine seasons.
While it’s not time to hit the panic button yet, the defense had another week of not being able to contain the middle of the field. The secondary was repeatedly burned by Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, who booked 116 yards on ten carries.
The Raiders did only make it into the end zone twice, and the defense was able to hold future Hall of Fame RB Marshawn Lynch to 46 yards rushing. So, it was not a total breakdown in performance. The slip has not gone unnoticed by Broncos fans, however. Many took to social media during and after the game, asking if there was any way the team could bring back defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and cornerback Aqib “the Breaker of Chains” Talib.
Vance Joseph said the Broncos weren’t aggressive enough on defense to start. Felt they were “too soft” at corner.
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 17, 2018
What’s the deal with WR Demaryius Thomas? He continues to drop passes during critical plays, and the once-great wide receiver has had issues with consistency year after year. Ever since he got his monster payout three years ago, he has not performed at the same level as he did in 2015.
While hardcore Denver fans lose their minds any time the words “bench” and “Thomas” are uttered in the same sentence, it is clear that he has lost his mojo. Whether it is all in his head, or he is physically unable to perform at the level expected of him, one thing is for sure; his future is uncertain in Denver.
Next up, the Broncos head on out to the East Coast to take on the Baltimore Ravens. While this is not a divisional game, the Broncos still have a bad taste in their mouth after the double-overtime playoff loss to the Ravens in the 2012 season. The Ravens are coming off a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and are looking to right the ship.
Talk Broncos with Leora on Twitter @LeoraKitty78