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Published on 12/09/2008 at Tue Dec 09 06:00.
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Dre Bly forces Tyler Thigpen to the ground on a fourth and goal late in the fourth quarter Sunday.

Dre Bly forces Tyler Thigpen to the ground on a fourth and goal late in the fourth quarter Sunday. (A.P. Photo)

Fourth-and-goal with 4:44 left on the clock, from the Denver one-yard line Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Tyler Thigpen launched himself towards the end-zone… He was met with by cornerback Dre Bly with lightening quickness and slammed face-first into the ground. Bly took off towards the sideline leaving a primal scream in his trail.

It conjured a scene from 2000′ film Gladiator,

Are you not entertained? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?

Rod Woodson? Was that not enough for you? Some of you may have heard it, some of you may not have. On the NFL Network’s Total Access and in reference to the announcement that Peyton Hillis had won both the Rookie of the Week and FedEx Ground Player of the Week and Jay Cutler had won the FedEx Air Player of the Week,

Maybe the fans should be drug tested.

The formerly great Woodson mused aloud. Et tu, Brute? Maybe we should take more drugs; the Broncos are a legitimate team, with a legitimate shot at making the playoffs, with a legitimate home game and a legitimate shot at going deeper into the playoffs, with a legitimate three-game lead in our division, with a legitimate offense and a defense that’s looking to return some legitimately great players and a legitimately great coach, that has beaten and will continue to beat some legitimately good teams. And Denver fans have to listen to non-credit giving experts cut us off at our knees and downplay our accomplishments every chance that they get. Sorry the Broncos stopped your chance at making it to the Super Bowl Woody, but it’s ancient history.

Deep breath in…

With that goal-line Champ Bailey Dre Bly tackle, Denver moved onto 8-5. Is it me or is practically every other celebrated team in the NFL either 9-4 or 8-5? The East Coast Media talks about the greatness of the Indianapolis Colts (9-4), how impressive the Baltimore Ravens are playing (9-4) or how great the battle is getting in the AFC East between the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins (all 8-5). Today no one can stop talking about the Dallas Cowboys (8-5), the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, or the Atlanta Falcons (all 11-1, just kidding, 8-5).

Bill Cowher stated during The NFL Today that the Broncos are, “One of the most dangerous teams in the AFC.” He could have said NFL, but I’ll take it.

Just to put it out there, here is a list of teams that I’m looking forward to Denver playing in the playoffs:

  • Tennessee Titans
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • New York Jets
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New York Giants

And just to reiterate teams that I’m not looking forward to Denver playing in the playoffs:

  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Oakland Raiders
  • New England Patriots
  • San Diego Chargers

    Tatum Bell breaks a 22-yard run that setup the Broncos game winning touchdown.

Back to the game, as if the game were ever out of grasp, down one sixth-string running back, Denver simply went back to the future as it were and put Tatum Bell in. He was good for 52-yards and another 16-yards in the air, fans even got a little taste of things to come when he busted a run for 28-yards. The really scary thing was the fact that had Bell gone down, fullback/linebacker/eighth-string running back Spencer Larsen was the only other option. Larsen studied furiously during halftime knowing that he might be called upon. Fate must have known that Hillis was going to go down and Larsen might have been called upon because Larsen was already on the sideline nursing a groin injury- though Mike Shanahan said that he could have returned if needed.

Denver flavor of the week Peyton Hillis has become the sixth Bronco back and the 14th player Denver has placed on injured reserve this season. Denver’s going to have either a lot of trade bait come April or a hell of a time come August’s training camp. The great Denver offensive line has a lot to do with the fact that Shanahan and Alex Gibbs have basically been able to put in just about anyone and have never skipped a beat.

This Sunday against the Carolina Panthers the Broncos defense is the one with the onus- to stop the run. It will be great watching Denver’s offense matching up against one of the best defenses the NFL currently has to offer (especially this close to the playoffs) in a must win game for both teams.

In all, whether credit is to be given or not, Denver, this season, has proven to be modern gladiators. Whether they field their first, second or third-team, the team is ready to play. Rookies, has-beens or players that no other team wanted- all the same, Denver will continue to show and prove; down but never out, every game is a winnable game. We look forward to writing into the playoffs.

In the meantime, Asian Orange (moderator over at Broncos Country Message Board) and I have put together a weekly podcast (which of course is all Denver Broncos) that you can stream just below here. Feel free to leave comments here or over at BCMB as to what you’d like us to cover next. We had a blast doing it and hope that you enjoy listening. Of course, remember to get your Pro Bowl voting in by 10:00 AM MST Tuesday.

  • East

    Rod Woodson also said that the only reason offensive players are doing well this is because of the “poor tackling in the league.” He was inferring that he was one of the best tacklers/defenders of all time. He’s a huge prick only to be matched by his ego.

  • E. Halsey Miles

    watching the Panthers shred the Bucs D last night has me worried

  • precisiontint

    I agree.

    I prefer all of these people who get paid for what they know about football not give the Broncos any credit. I’m used to it.

    The Broncos can take that lack of respect from everyone who ‘knows’ all the way to the championship.

    All Ready!

  • TD30isMVP

    Rod Woodson was fun to watch and a great tackler, and he is right the tackling in the league is atrocious. Dre’ Bly said he hit Thigpen high to stop him from getting into the endzone, last I knew you hit them low and they go down faster.

  • HogBlog

    I watched the game last night. After doing so, I’ve come up with 2 key observations;

    1. That 2 headed monster (Smash & Dash) + Oline obliterated TB’s Def.
    2. I WANT Julius Peppers on this Bronco Team.

    It would be great to dream about a DT acquisition (Bill Williams) talks about NFL insiders that think Haynesworth could sign here or somewhere other than Tenn.. I would love that, but watching Peppers reminds me of the days of Trevor Pryce and how much the pass rush would make this defense credible, and give us our identity again. .

  • adam

    I’m excited to watch Moss, sure seems like he’s doing well considering this is really his “rookie” season. In the end, I’ve had a lot of fun pulling for our draft picks (and undrafted signings)…much more fun than being let down by big name free agent signings.

    I understand the excitement over getting a big name free agent this year, but honestly I hope Denver has stumbled onto something with the influx of brilliant young talent.

  • jchase8410

    I agree with you E. I was watching that dominating performance by the Panthers (which subsequenly lost me the game in my fantasy league) in shock and awe. It was to say the least very impressive. Was it more impressive than the jets trouncing of the Titans? I don’t think so. This was a vendetta game for the Panthers after their 27-3 loss to the Bucs earlier in the season, pair that with the emotion of playing on the national stage of MNF.
    Another thing that makes me hopeful of this game is that everyone last night kept talking about the Giants game, as if Carolina didn’t play anyone else before they face the Giants. Hopefully the media can get them looking past Denver, because let’s face it, Denver only has the same record as every other team that gets credit because there were 8 teams that played horribly against the Broncos. They were not so much wins by denver, but losses by the other team…right Panthers…don’t even worry about this team.

  • Ian Henson

    I was really hoping that Carolina would beat Tampa for that very reason. They will not be able to give Denver the attention they deserve. Similar to the game against the Jets a team coming off a big win almost always messes up the following week.

  • Andpark

    I totally agree with both of you guys. That Carolina win just means they will think they can just roll over our beat up team. Let’s steal the win we need so we go into SD with everything all wrapped up. Let’s just let our play do the talking and sneak quietly into the playoffs and surprise some people!

  • adam

    It is interesting that the fact that the Broncos will be going for a clean sweep of the NFC South next week was left completely unmentioned lastnight (at least to my knowledge). I also like that Carolina will be playing for a perfect 8-0 at home. Plus, for whatever reason, Cutler plays well in the eastern time zone.

  • T-Money

    I worried. If we can’t get a running games going and we cant control the time of possession then we are in for a long day. I didn’t see much of Carolinas run defense but I think Tatum can break a few to the outside. Jay has to protect the ball. And we need champ bailey or steve smith will rip us apart. That will only open up their running game which is pretty good to say the least. Don’t get me wrong though. I agree with you guys. Let’s just go do what we do and that is win on the road against teams that are “better” then us.

  • SivNiz

    I think Stan and Kyle (South Park) said it best “Go America, Go Broncos”, “Yeah, go Broncos”

  • merc22


  • MikeY55

    TD30isMVP if u tackle him low chances are he falls forward over top of you being as it was so close to the endzone is why he hit him high so he would fall backwards

  • jchase8410

    I understand your point there MikeY, but if you noticed, Dre hit him high, and pretty much got ran over by a quarterback. Thigpen fell forward over him, and if he had the presence of mind, could have stretched the ball out and got the touchdown…

  • Broncoholic

    jchase: I agree. Contact was made around the 4 (not at the 1 as implied in the opener) and Bly took the worst of it. It wasn’t a pretty tackle as the article suggests but it got the job done and I give Bly props for getting him down before the goal line on a huge 4th&Goal play.

  • MikeY55

    haha yeah i understand what you guys are saying too i actually never got to see the game my sunday ticket ran out the one week i didn’t get denver on my cable.. LAME.. but i was just stating what dre was probably thinking because thigpen is a pretty tall and long QB if he hit him at his feet he could flown over him but in the end he got him down outta the endzone so hoorayyy

  • MikeY55

    and next year it looks like KC could be a team to watch out for in this division… three offence is starting to click a bit and they have been relatively competitive in there past few games besides that buffalo lose… i would rather see KC vs Den for the lead then Den vs SD.. i loved watching the dante hall, trent green, priest holmes vs the broncos games.. now i just wanna turn my tv off everytime i see phillip rivers face