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Published on 11/07/2011 at Mon Nov 07 11:00.
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There’s nothing quite as sweet as beating the Oakland Raiders by double-digits on their turf. Not only was it an impressive win, it was an impressive team win — a number of Broncos really stepped up and contributed, and it’s our honor to honor them with a bevy of BT Game Balls.

Willis McGahee

Willis McGahee

I hereby irrevocably declare the phrase “Tough as nails” to be dead. It’s played its course. “Tough as Willis McGahee” will be the new standard.

The Broncos’ 30-year-old running back had surgery on his hand less than two weeks before Sunday’s match in Oakland, but that didn’t slow the first-year Bronco down. The fresh-legged McGahee outran Raiders defensive backs in his 60-yard scamper for a touchdown in the third quarter as he totaled 163 rushing yards on the day.

McGahee had help — both of his touchdowns came on well-executed read option plays with Raiders defenders paralyzed by fear of Tim Tebow taking advantage of the edge (more on Tebow in a bit). But stop and consider the Broncos’ production with McGahee compared to their offensive output without him. In Week One against Oakland, Knowshon Moreno got the start, and the Broncos were held to 38 rushing yards. Last week, with McGahee out with his injury, the Broncos struggled mightily on offense, not acquiring a first down for over two quarters. Then, in Week Nine, McGahee starts, and the Broncos find they don’t need to throw the ball at all for the last 22 minutes of the game. Willis McGahee is your 2011 First Half of the Season MVP, folks. – Monty

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow sees daylight... a lot of it. (REUTERS photo/Beck Diefenbach)

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

What Tebow had to do was go out there and win the game. And I have to say, he did that. His pure statistics weren’t that good, and I saw a couple of pretty bad passes early on. But that said, he did the single most important thing he had to do to keep the team alive: He kept the chains moving. The Broncos had very few three and outs. He got them out of 3rd and long situations. It is clear that Fox/McCoy and Tebow are getting a little more comfortable. Keeping the offense on the field meant the defense spent less time on the field. The Broncos won the Time of Possession game at almost 32 minutes to the Raiders’ 28.

But more than that, he threw some pretty sharp passes. A lot of them came on broken Raiders coverage, but some of them were just good NFL passes.

This is exactly the step Tebow needed to make this game. He needs to make a lot more steps like this; but we take them one at a time, and we give credit where credit is due when he makes them. Good job, Tim! – E. Halsey Miles

Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal

After having a miserable game against the Lions Eddie Royal showed some good production against the Raiders. Two catches and 1 for a big time touchdown. If he can put out production consistently it will help this team fill the void of Brandon Lloyd while waiting for Demaryius Thomas to come along. Then the 99 yard punt return for a touchdown. It seems like whenever Royal goes off for scores in the special teams column the team comes away with important victories against our rivals. Chargers anyone? Someone please remind we why we have Cosby returning punts. – Josh Temple

Champ Bailey

Champ Bailey

He had a few occasions where receivers caught passes on him and recorded some YAC, but overall Bailey had a stellar day. I literally laughed at Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer when he tried to throw a fade pass against Bailey — how can a veteran quarterback be that stupid?

Bailey finished the game with two tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. After today’s performance, he certainly deserves a game ball. If he keeps playing at such a high level, I expect he’ll wind up in Hawaii at the end of the season for an NFL-cornerback record eleventh time in his career. – Jon Heath

Von Miller

Von Miller

The stat sheet doesn’t show it with 4 tackles and a 1/2 a sack but Von had a stellar game against Oakland. Multiple pressures on Carson Palmer, was the real cause of Dumervil’s 1.5 sacks but where he really started to shine was the run game. He took a serious step towards being an every down linebacker on Sunday. He’s sniffing the ball out, breaking up blocking schemes and showing that Allen shouldn’t even think about making him a rotational player. – Josh Temple

Honorary mentions:

The offensive line for a great day of blocking. You don’t get to nearly 300 rushing yards as a team without some hugely effective blocking from the guys up front. Ryan Clady could hold a bit less, though. – Monty

Chris Harris. I really wanted to throw another game ball at Chris Harris for his job at not allowing Michael Bush to break past the 2nd level when the linebackers broke down. Look at his total tackles on the stat sheet. I’m really starting to like this kid as a free agent pickup. – Josh Temple

Elvis Dumervil. 1.5 sacks. Good to have you back, NFL Sack King, keep em coming. – Monty

Who gets your game ball? Take the poll and dish it out in the comments.

Broncos 38 - Raiders 24: Who gets your Game Ball?!

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  • areferee

    Dead or Alive?


         *Nightmares over Josh McDaniels
         *The Lockout
         *Orton malaise
         *Moreno as a starter
         *Defensive “suck-dom”
         *Total Embarrassment?


         *McGahee’s running game
         *McCoys Game Plan?
         *Quarterback Controversy?
         *AFC West Leadership
         *A Pass Rush

    Agree?  Click “Like”

    Disagree?  Post more vitriol!

    Question Marks?  Share your thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Did anyone else catch this quote from Champ?

    “It worked out today, didn’t it?” said Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. “I’m a believer. Until we get on a crazy losing streak, I’m a believer.”

    Bailey’s been on a losing club for an awful long time and I have never heard him vocally support any other QB. I’m not sold on Tebow but if he’s made Bailey a believer until we get on a “crazy losing streak” then he is good enough for me.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure total embarrassment is completely gone yet but I hope it is. I will say that Tebow was pretty darn impressive in the win. He makes me want to rip my hair out with some of his throws but when he got in the groove in the second half, he strung some really good looking passes together (not just the oddball good pass here or there) which is certainly an improvement (albeit a small one).

    If we can just see another small improvement against KC and every game going forward, we might have a feasible starter by the end of the year. It’s a long shot but possible.

    It sure would be great to not have to draft a QB so we can pick up Trent Richardson (McGahee is 30 afterall) and then focus on defense the rest of the draft.

  • Anonymous

    Von Miller’s performance was a breakout one in a huge way no less! He had every Bronco fan beaming like a proud parent yesterday. The future is bright for us with this young man!

  • Anonymous

    Who gets my game balls?
    ~Tebow – Showed great improvements, and without the threat of him running, McGahee has a lot less yards and probably no TDs. He also hit the recievers in stride, put the ball on the money, and although still only 47% completion percentage, didn’t have but 1 or 2 “you need to complete that pass” moments. He seemed a lot more relaxed and comfortable, which he said later comes with experience (what any rational human should understand as we have the growing pains with him as a starter). He also had a 98 QB rating, which is really really good. He was money when he had to be, and I honestly believe that for the 1st time in a long time, our QB elevated everyone around him and might be putting the “draft a QB next year” talk to rest (contingent on his continuous improvement).

    ~McGahee – He was beastly! While I have to give the OLine credit, and Tebow credit for freezing the defense cause of his running ability, McGahee didn’t fumble a single time with that broken hand, opened things up for Tebow to run the way he did, and believe it or not, out ran the entire Raider’s defense. Him and Tebow fed off of each other. If either doesn’t “bring it”, neither of them are as effective on the ground as they were.

    ~OLine – These guys were money all day with the exception of Clady, who had his drive killing moments. They opened up some great running lanes, didn’t seem as confused with blitz pickups, and more importantly, they kept their cool when things got heated. As the game started slipping away from the Raiders, the Raiders started getting chippy and losing their cool. I think they were losing their cool because they wanted a fight, and we wouldn’t give it to them. After a while, all that pent up aggravation on the Raider’s line gave way to penalty after penalty. I haven’t seen a meltdown like that since Shannon Sharpe use to get in defender’s heads. Great job OLine. Great job of blocking, and an even better job at keeping your cool and not getting us stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the 2nd half when the Raiders were doing everything they could to bait you into it.

    ~Champ – He’s Champ…. Why would Palmer, who is a vet, keep throwing at him? I know I didn’t expect much out of Palmer, but I expected him to leave Champ alone unless it was a blown coverage. He showed he can still win the battle for the ball with a receiver, and as always, his coverage is second to none.

    ~Miller – Dumervil’s sacks were kinda taken away from Miller. Miller was there and initiating the contact, only to have Doom cover up and finish the tackle. I know he only had 1/2 sack, but he should have had 2-3. He was also fantastic in run defense.

    ~Defense as a whole – I know I’m not the only one who can say that it’s been far too long since we dominated a team. The 1st half wasn’t the best, but man of man did the D step it up in the 2nd half. We got rolling and completely dominated the Raiders. They were incapable of doing anything in the 2nd half after their opening drive. I saw them try to run, to which for the first time in forever, I could stand up and yell “you can’t run on us!!!” When they tried to pass, they would get picked off, or sacked, or just flat out stopped. It was so great to know without a shadow of a doubt that our D wouldn’t just “hang on”, but establish dominance against a team and win the game for us every bit as much as the offense did.

    ~Royal – He returned a punt for a TD, which always ignites a team. That score put us up for good. He also caught a TD, which before, he always seemed to drop. Good to see signs of life from him.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to give a game ball to the OAK front office for wasting 3 high picks on Carson Palmer.  That should pay us dividends for years to come.  

  • Anonymous

    Harris?  Harris plays like Fox did, give them too big of a cushion and then get the tackle, he was late to the ball all day, I like him but not one of his better games, at least he made the tackle.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention his bone-headed move of downing the punt after he went out of bounds.  There were 4 other Broncos standing around and he decides to be the one to pick it up.  That play could have really turned the tide in the game since it came at a crucial stage.  

  • Anonymous


    *Peyton Hillis talk

    After the way he has conducted himself this year I want no part of having him back on the Broncos.  We still got the short end of that trade but it doesn’t sting as badly now.  

  • King

    I disagree.  Palmer did pretty well in Cincy with what he had.  When he gets acclimated to his new offense, he will settle down. 

    As much as I hate to say it, Palmer will be good if you’re a Raiders fan. 

  • anthony33

    One thing to note about Tebow.  While he did put up a few ducks I know that at least on a couple of occasions he just launched it under duress.  The difference is last week those would have been sacks.

    Tiny steps of progress in the passing game.  It’s going to take until the middle or end of next season before he is comfortable,

    I remember hearing some QB/NFL expert say when Elway struggled early on that most QB’s need 20-25 games to adjust to the speed and nuances of the NFL.  My guess is that probably has not changed much.  My next guess is TT will need the full 25.

  • Joshua D. Manning


    **Injury to players


    **Good punting

  • Mike Birtwistle

    And don’t forget giving a game ball to the Raiders for cheating so much and giving us all those penalties!

    I love the Curry hit on Tebow out of bounds, especially cos TT just got back up and was met by a bunch of celebrating Broncos.  “Yay, we knew he was dumb enough to do that”

  • virginiabronco

    I am reserving comment until I see an apology from Monty who called many of us Tebow supporters who complained about the game plan in the two previous plans a “subset group of fans”.  Now that even the coach and mainstream media have confirmend that coach Fox has implemented a more Tebow Friendly offense, can a Monty apology be far behind?

  • virginiabronco

    another great post Pete. Spot on!

  • E. Halsey Miles

    I don’t understand? We’ve been saying for weeks that Fox has been attempting to retool the game plan to Tebow? And that blaming the game plan wasn’t the right thing to do? Tebow supporters have been saying he *hasn’t* changed the gameplan for Tebow. Did this suddenly change?

  • Anonymous

    Please, it is three hours of Monty ripping Tebow, as long as you can realize and deal with that then it was fun to go in and join the fun.