Posted Tue Dec 9th by Ian Henson
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
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.