In the Pressbox….Broncos v. Bills

It’s the last game of the season…at home…for the Broncos and it’s a cold one.  Thank goodness I’m in the warm confines of the press box.  I’ve already had some ice cream, so I inderstand how all those folk outside feel.

As for the game, the Broncos have to win this, seeing as how San Diego has beaten Tampa Bay.  I don’t think Denver wins if they go to the Chargers tied.

We’ll know a lot about the Broncos chances today after their first couple of drives.  If they come out looking to spread the ball around and try to mix in the run, they should be o.k..  If they come out passing every play, and looking for Brandon Marshall only, well, it could be a long day for Denver.

Also, if the Broncos lose they’ll have a losing record at home.  Yikes!!!  Oh well, time for some more ice cream.

15:00 first quarter – Broncos receive and start at the 20.

14:23 first quarter – P.J. Polk is the starter today.  So far he’s got 9 yards on 2 carries, and on his third carry he gets another 20.  Wow!  Another good looking running back.  Not bad for a sixth stringer.

12:20 first quarter – Polk is giving the Broncos offense lots of options.  After 5 straight runs, Darrell Jackson is wide open for a big gain.  Broncos take it quickly into the red zone.  Cutler gets next run, but I think you keep giving it to Polk rather than have Cutler running.

10:32 first quarter – looking Elway-esque, Jay Cutler takes the naked bootleg into the endzone for the touchdown.  A great drive, for which Polk gets the lion’s share of the credit.  Did I say Polk was the sixth stringer?  I meant seventh.  I forgot about Tatum Bell.  Daniel Graham was injured on the play.  I didn’t see it so I don’t know how bad it is.

7 – 0 Broncos lead

Polk had 42 yards on 5 carries on the first drive of the game.  Now the defense needs to string a good series together and get a three and out.

By the way, gametime temp is 17 fahrenheit.  Did I mention the press box is warmer.

10:25 first quarter – Bills get a great return from Leodis McKelvin.  Only thing stopping McKelvin from a touchdown was a nice tackle by kicker Matt Prater.

9:27 first quarter – Did I mention Champ Bailey is back.  He is, and makes his presence felt with a huge sack.  Trent Edwards fumbled, but Marshawn Lynch grabbed the fumble.  Three and out was what the defense was looking for and they got it.  Good start.

8:42 first quarter – A penalty on Denver puts the ball on their own 6 to start their second drive.  I’ve said all year that the Broncos need to do a better job of stringing good offensive and defensive series together.  They can do it here with a long drive for points.

6:42 first quarter – Cutler scrambles for the 1st down but he needs to secure that ball better.  Next play is a reverse to Eddie Royal for 71 yards.  The Bills are overpersuing the play, leaving the backside wide open.  Royal exploited it on the last play, and if the Bills don’t correct that, it will be a long day for them.

5:07 first quarter – Cutler tries two passes inside the ten and I’m not sure why.  Denver has over 100 yards rushing so far.  Third down is another incomplete pass and the Broncos have to kick a field goal.  A short message to Shanahan, run the ball.  Prater connects and the Broncos increase their lead.

10 – 0 Broncos lead

4:47 first quarter – Another shot for the defense to get another 3rd and out, and they start off well with an Edwards incomplete pass.  He did have a lot of time so that could be a problem.  A penalty and another incomplete pass, called for intentional grounding, and the Bills are backed up looking at a long 3rd and 15….er 3rd and 25.

The Bill are racking up the negative yards.  -25 yards so far.

4:43 first quarter – The Broncos stop the Bills again, and another punt.  Broncos will take over at their own 35.

1:17 first quarter – The curse of the Broncos runningbacks  continues as P.J. Polk strains his hamstring.  His return is questionable.  It doesn’t seem to stop Cutler as he goes to the air with completions to Marshall and Royal.  A Selvin Young rush ends the first quarter with the Broncos at the Buffalo 22 yard line.

End of the first quarter: 10 – 0 Broncos lead

15:00 second quarter –  Selvin Young starts the second quarter the same way he finished the first, with a strong run.   Young’s run gives the Broncos a first down.  They need to finish this drive off with a touchdown.

13:43 second quarter – The Broncos really have trouble inside the 20.  Two short plays and an incomplete pass and the Broncos have to kick the field goal once again.  Even if they make the playoffs, this lack of touchdowns inside the red zone will come back to haunt them.  Prater adds the field goal and the Broncos extend their lead.

13 – 0 Broncos lead

12:30 second quarter – The Broncos defense finally lets up a first down with a 9 yard Bills reception.  Denver needs to stop the Buffalo offense from getting going, seeing as though their only up 13 points.  We’ve seen that before.  Another Marshawn Lynch rush and the Bill have another first down.

9:42 second quarter – Broncos get a third down, but give up the first down and the get a roughing the passer penalty, putting the Bills on the Denver 17 yard line.  Broncos fans have seen this horror movie before.

8:03 second quarter – The Broncos step up after the big gain/penalty and hold the Bills to a field goal try.  Ryan Rian Lindell splits the uprights and the Bills are on the board.

13 – 3 Broncos lead

6:38 second quarter – Broncos get the ball back.  Let’s see if they can score 7 instead of 3 this time.  Running game has stalled, but Cutler still finds Royal to convert the first down.  Cutler scampers for another four.  It’s bad when he’s the most effective runner left.

Broncos saftey Marquand Manuel injured.  He has….something…we weren’t listening.  Sorry.

5:01 second quarter – Eddie Royal is quickly becoming the 3rd down guy for Denver.  He has been clutch when they’ve needed him.  His new nickname should be “drive extender” or “weneedafirstdownbadsothrowittoEddie Royal”, or something a lot better.  But he needs a nickname.

3:10 second quarter – Of course, all of Eddie’s good work goes for not after a holding penalty and a terrible Cutler rush and then another penalty.  Did we mock the Bills for going backwards earlier?  Well now the Broncos are doing the same thing.  It’s 2nd and 31…oops, now it’s 3rd and 31.  You don’t have many plays for this situation.

2:00 second quarter – A vigorous debate here in the press box about the merits of trying a 54 yard field goal.  It’s a theoretical debate because we’re talking about how cold it feels outside.  We all agree it feels like 72 in the press box.  The Broncos go with the field goal option, but Prater comes up short and the Bills have the ball at their own 44 yard line.  A dominant start by the Broncos could be erased by the half.

1:20 second quarter – The Denver defense doesn’t have the same fire it did early.  The Bills are breaking off big gains and have a great opportunity to cut the lead to 3 by the half.

:19 second quarter – Bills have it on the one yard line.  They give it to Marshawn Lynch who scores the touchdown.  The Broncos will never be a good team until they learn to step on people when their down.  They don’t do that now and it is hurting them.

13 – 10 Broncos lead

Let’s see what Denver can do in the last :15 seconds.  Probably kneel down and run out the clock.  I take it back, they’ll end up taking two knees.  Terrible.   I need a hot dog.

End of the first half:  13 – 10 Broncos lead

Back from eating.

The Bills will get the ball first.  If they score a touchdown, this game is over, the playoff hopes are over, and the season will be over.  Think I’m being too pessamistic?  Maybe, but then again I had to sit through Jacksonville, Oakland, and many other games that looked and felt just like this.

15:00 third quarter – The Broncos kick it on the ground giving the Bills the ball at their own 44.  Not a good way to start the second half for Denver.

12:45 third quarter – The Bills convert on their first 3rd down of the second half.  Now Lynch is looking unstoppable.  He isn’t going down until the second, or third hit.  Broncos are in trouble.

10:47 third quarter – Another third down.  Can the Broncos stop them?  That answer is yes.  A critical stop by Elvis Dumervil.  Rian Lindell will attempt the 47 yard field goal.  He gets it and we are tied.

13 – 13 tie game

9:46 third quarter – Denver will start at their own 29.  They need points, plain and simple.

9:09 third quarter – Denver comes out with a run for no gain and an incomplete pass, and now a timeout.  The fans sense the same thing I do and are booing loudly.

9:00 third quarter – A long completion to Brandon Marshall..is fumbled.  The Bills get the ball back at their own 42.  You can feel the season slipping away.

8:52 third quarter – The Broncos get pressure but a pass interference penalty on Dre Bly gives the Bills a first down t the Broncos 32.  A 22 yard penalty.

8:04 third quarter – Trent Edwards gets the first down this time with a nice bootleg.   Another bootleg on the next play and the Bills are at the Denver 11.

5:41 third quarter – The Broncos manage to hold and the Bills will kick a short field goal.  Rian Lindell with the 28 yarder and the Bills take the lead.

16 – 13 Bills lead

4:45 third quarter – Back on offense, Cutler finds Daniel Graham for a large gain.  A real confidence booster, but they need to keep it up.  Marshall’s drop on the next play doesn’t help.  Neither does missing a wide, I mean wide, open Eddie Royal.  3rd and 10 for the Broncos, who get called for delay of game.  It’s the second one of the half.  So what will happen on 3rd and 15?  A first down conversion to Daniel Graham, who was triple covered.  Incredible.  Keeping the drive alive.

3:10 third quarter – Now Tony Scheffler gets into the act with another first down catch.  Seems like the tightends are open.

2:15 third quarter – First down for the Broncos at the Bills 22 and Cutler…gets sacked.  Ain’t that the story of the Broncos this year.  Second down for Denver and Cutler hits Marshall for 9.  Third down introduces Brandon Stokley to the game with a 12 yard reception and a first and goal…the dreaded first and goal.

:38 third quarter – Cutler does what he did in the first quarter and scores the touchdown on a bootleg.  Not the prettiest drive I’ve seen, but there’s no “pretty” in football.  It’s time for the defense to rise up.

20 – 16 Broncos lead

A note that Jay Cutler passed for his 4,000th yard at some point during that drive.  It makes my arm sore just thinking about it.

:33 third quarter – Broncos kick it deep and the ball is returned to the 24.  Good job by special teams.  Hard running by Fred Jackson gets a hard 4 to end the third quarter.

By the way, the running back curse hits yet again.  Selvin Young with a pinched nerve.  At this point no one’s gonna even want to play for the Broncos.  Time for the spread.

End of the third quarter: 20 – 16 Broncos lead

15:00 fourth quarter – I go to the bathroom and miss the 60-some yard pass play by the Bills, but manage to see Edwards hit Steve Johnson for the touchdown.  Bills back in front.

23 – 20 Bills lead

While in the bathroom, I heard that the 60-some yard play was the 39th against the Broncos over 20 yards.  At least I think that’s what it was.  Either way that’s terrible.

12:40 fourth quarter – Broncos go on offense again at their own 26.  No running backs because they don’t have any more.  Cutler doesn’t seem to mind, finding Tony Scheffler for 36 yards.  Another empty backfield play, another pass, another completion, and another first down.

Cutler’s pass to Scheffler gave him the Broncos record for pass yards for a season.

11:13 fourth quarter – Selvin Young back in the game and gets the handoff.  He only gets one yard and the Broncos have a 3rd and nine.  Cutler overthrows Royal and Prater has a field goal attempt.  It has to be noted, Prater is terrible from the forty yard range.  He makes this one and the game is tied once again.

23 – 23 tie game

10:54 fourth quarter – Denver kicks off and Buffalo returns it to the Denver 45.  This puts the pressure right back on the Denver defense, who hasn’t been very good.

Biggest cheer of the game goes to the girl in the bikini that they showed on the big screen.

10:42 fourth quarter – The Bills didn’t notice and complete two passes in a row and are quickly down to the Bronco 29.

9:10 fourth quarter – Bills rush it twice and get into the endzone and take the lead once again.  I know there is no “hot butter” at the moment, but the Bills ran through the Denver “D” like they were.  Fred Jackson gets the score.

30 – 23 Bills lead

8:48 fourth quarter – Selvin Young takes the kickoff out to the 24 where the Denver offense will try to tie this game up again.  Almost intercepted on first down.  Second down is intercepted, but a defensive holding gives it back to the Broncos.  That penalty gives the Broncos a first down.

8:31 fourth quarter – Brandon Marshall makes a circus catch on the next play and Denver is on the move.

7:49 fourth quarter – a key third and seven for Denver and Cutler finds Royal for the first.  I tell ya, he needs a nickname.

7:11 fourth quarter – Brandon Marshall catches the next pass for a gain of 8.  Broncos at the Bills 26.  Another pass, another Brandon Marshall catch and a first down.  Down to the 15.  Red zone offense has to convert.

5:47 fourth quarter – I have to head down, but I must wait until the resolution of this drive.  Cutler has two incompletes and needs another key third down conversion.  Eddie Royal anyone?   It’s intercepted and the Bills take over at the one yard line.  Down to the locker room I go.

Bad game, bad game, bad game.  I hate to say I told you, but I did.  Next week the Broncos need a Christmas miracle.

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