Posted Mon Dec 22nd by Mr.East
Remember 2006? Denver had a bearded lumberjack named Jake Plummer slinging around the football until a young Jay Cutler replaced him. There were two Bells running around in the backfield, Champ Bailey had 10 interceptions on the year, and Denver actually had a defensive line. If your memory serves you right then you would remember that the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl that year. If your memory is even better than you’ll remember that the Colts finished dead last in run defense on the season. Thats right… dead last. There wasn’t a single game that the Colts held an opponent to under 100 yards not even Denver who rushed for 227 yards in a loss against them. It’s hard to believe that a team with such a porous run defense could go all the way. That’s where Peyton Manning and the offense came through. Manning lead his team to win after win going 9-0 but only to finish 12-4. Great offense… terrible defense… if you’re a Denver fan all of this should start sounding familiar. Scan through all the statistics and you’ll find yourself thinking… Are the 2008 Broncos the 2006 Colts?
Statistics and breakdowns after the jump
Offensively speaking the 2006 Colts are so statistically similar to the 2008 Broncos it’s down right scary. Just take a look at the table below.
|06′ Colts||08′ Broncos|
|Quarterback||1st in AFC||1st in AFC|
|Passing||1st in AFC||1st in AFC|
|Running||21st in NFL||16th in NFL|
|Total||1st in AFC||1st in AFC|
As you can see Jay Cutler and Peyton Manning both lead the AFC that year in passing, both teams lead the AFC in passing, and total offense as well. Statistically Denver has a better running game (if they can find a running back).
Defensively these two teams have a lot in common as in they cant stop the ball from running past them.
|06′ Colts||08′ Broncos|
|Passing||2nd in NFL||27th in NFL|
|Running||32nd in NFL||26th in NFL|
|Total||21st in NFL||28th in NFL|
The obvious main difference is in the passing game. However, no Champ Bailey will hurt your defensive statistics. Denver fans need to be knowledgeable about this one stat.
Take out injured players such as Bailey(s), Webster, McCree, and Young the average age of the Denver Bronco player is 24.4 years old.
The Denver Broncos are boasting a team full of guys fresh out of college with a few veterans sprinkled in. There has been a massive roster change from last year and new coaching staff. All of those variables sound like a recipe for a reconstruction year yet Denver still owns a record of 8-7.
End of the Year Stretch
Denver has been labeled a couple of things this year such as:
“…the most dangerous team in the AFC.”
– Bill Cowher
What matters is how the Broncos gain consistency at the end of the year. Like I said before the Colts started off 9-0 and then went 3-4 to finish 12-4 on the season. They lost all of their division rivals who all of them finished 8-8 on the season. In Week 14 the Jaguars won with 375 total yards rushing, Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor both went over 100 yards rushing each. In Week 16 the Texans pulled an upset with Ron Dayne’s help of 153 rushing yards. A high powered offense malfunctioning in an upset during Week 16… hmm that sounds vaguely familiar.
The Colts then went into the playoffs defeating the Chiefs and holding Larry Johnson to 32 yards on his 1,789 yard season. The defense then continued to bail out Peyton Manning through the playoffs, he ended up throwing 7 interceptions and posting a passer rating of 63.5 before the Super Bowl. The Broncos need to mimic this Colts playoff defense in order to win.
Does all of this sound familiar to you? Can the Bronco defense do the same? Can the young team step up when it finally counts and carry themselves with pride into the playoffs? Does it smell like upset season in Mile High? The real question still remains… Are the 2008 Broncos the 2006 Colts?
Authors Note: I am speaking only on the behalf of potential. Everyone forgets though how horrid the Colts run defense was. Everyone forgets how people said things like “Peyton Manning will never get it done with a defense like that.” I am merely only drawing parallels don’t take this article to be prophecy.
The media has said things in the past that have gone completely the other way. A few years ago Mike Ditka was asked if he thought Eli Manning was a franchise quarterback and he responded…
The only way Eli Manning will be a franchise quarterback is if he buys his own franchise.
Do I believe it can be done? Not likely. However, the statistics are there and Denver fans need hope right about now. It’s not over so be a real fan and stop acting like its.