In the press box….Broncos vs. Tampa Bay

I got to the game early to do some studying for a serious midterm on Monday, and maybe also to get the bad taste of the Colorado vs. Texas game out of my mouth.  The lunch here helped.  It was yummy, and they had chocolate pudding ice cream.  Its so good.  I have to get more right now.

O.K., I’m back.  This should be a good game if, if, the Broncos can play some defense. They should have a better time because they’re not playing against a Tomlinson, Bush, or Johnson.  Also, can Brian Griese come in and be the Q.B, that Broncos fans thought he’d be, or the one they saw when he was a Bronco.  I’m personally hoping for another 30-something to 30-something game because they’re fun to watch and keep my attention.

So stay tuned… back in awhile.

15:00  1st Quarter – Here we go.  The pudding ice cream is awesome!  Buccaneers win the toss and defer.  The Broncos elect to receive.  Hall takes it out for 23 yards. Lets see what the offense does.

14:32  1st Quarter – Two plays in and the Broncos are getting a good push on the line.  That all changes on third down and the Broncos are held to a small gain.  Not sure they got the first down.  They don’t, by inches.  Broncos punt.  That series was definitely offensive.

(just a note:  I’m studying still so there may be moments of silence whilst I hit the books.)

12:49  1st Quarter – Broncos defense came to play…at least for the first series.  A three and out is a good way to start.  Bucs have to punt.  The ball is touched at the 17 yard line where Denver will take over.  I’m sad because my pudding ice cream is gone.

9:50   1st Quarter – The Bucs’ front seven is formidible.  It will be tough running the ball today.  The Broncos will have to rely on the passing game, and so far its been working.  Except when Cutler starts getting too much “Marshall” focus and misses open receivers.  Broncos have to punt.

7:00   1st Quarter – Broncos’ defense is flying around, but they can’t stop the run…at all.  Seriously,  Warrick Dunn?  59 yards in two plays is terrible.  Denver needs to stiffen up here and hold to a field goal or less.

4:54   1st Quarter – Denver does just that.  Nice job….except for the other plays where Dunn looked like Larry Johnson.  Matt Bryan kicks the 33 yard field goal.

3 – 0 Buccaneers

4:21   1st Quarter – Hall receives the kickoff and matriculates the ball to the 24 yard line.  He looks like he is one good block away from breaking these for huge gains.  Cutler needs to start looking for other receivers besides Brandon Marshall if the Broncos are going to be able to move the ball today.

4:10   1st Quarter – Denver will be in lots of trouble if they can’t complete passes.  The front seven of Tampa Bay is too good.  Denver faces a long 3rd Down.  Cutler runs and makes the first down!  Shouldn’t have slowed down and took a big hit, but that could just be the thing to wake up the offense.  Stokley catches a screen for another first and the Broncos are driving.

:30    1st Quarter – Broncos have another key third down and Cutler runs for the first down again.  This time, however, the Broncos held and now Denver is in a third and long situation.  Broncos must have had the right play because Tampa Bay has to call time out.  There are a lot of drops by Denver receivers so far.  Brandon Marshall has been particularly butter fingered.  This is something to watch as the game goes on.

:01   1st Quarter – Michael Pittman makes a catch, but the Broncos will have to try a long field goal.  That was the last play of a quick first quarter.

End of the first quarter.  3 – 0 Tampa Bay over Denver

15:00  2nd Quarter – Matt Prater hits a 55 yard field goal, and it would have been good from 70.  Great effort by Prater, but the Broncos need TDs not field goals.

3 – 3

14:56  2nd Quarter – Prater kicks it off and it goes out the back of the end zone.  The air must be extra light today.  Prater is bombing it.  Griese takes the Bucs offense on to the field.  He looks good, but I have to say, he is doing the same thing he did with Denver.  He goes 3-4 passing for 35 yards and leads his team to a field goal.  Quarterbacks are judged by touchdowns in this league, not by passing percentage.

13:39  2nd Quarter – Griese moves the chains with a pass to Michael Clayton.  On the next play, Denver gets a sack.  Ebenezer Ekuban with the loss.  Nice to see him back after his achilles injury last year.  Now the Denver crowd gets into it and causes a delay of game.  This stadium was made to be loud, but this is the first time in awhile it has sounded this loud.  Broncos hold which is saying something for the defense.  I will say that the defense is showing more effort and effort is everything on defense so that is something to be happy about.

10:51  2nd Quarter – Eddie Royal goes long and is overthrown.  He wants pass interference, but I don’t think the ball was catchable.  A short gain leaves the Broncos with a third and nine.  Cutler runs it again, but comes up just short.  I’m not sure Cutler should be running it so much, but go with what works.  Broncos apparently are going to challenge the spot.  My angle wasn’t good, but Mike Shanahan seems sure.  We know because as the ref’s mike is turned on we can hear Shanahan screaming.  The crowd seems to like the passion and gives the coach an ovation.

Broncos do not win the challenge and Denver must punt.

7:53   2nd Quarter – The Bucs try to get a drive going, but a possible first down was negated by a hold.  Their long third down try was ended with a sack by Elvis Dumervil.  I think the D-Line has been challenged this week.  Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder are both inactive and the line is playing inspired.  Tampa Bay punts to Eddie Royal who breaks a nice run due to a huge block by, by…well a Bronco to be named later.  It was a nice block.  Broncos take over on their own 36.  This has been a defensive battle which is wierd considering how little defense Denver has played up until now.

6:33   2nd Quarter – Cutler connects with Daniel Graham and gets the first down.  This proves my theory that if Cutler can spread the pass attemps around the Broncos can go to work on Tampa Bay’s defense.  As I say that Brandon Marshall goes up and gets a nice reception.  Andre Hall gets the catch on the next play and Cutler has got the ball to seven different receivers so far.   Andre Hall chop blocks a guy and the Broncos are backed up 15 yards.

3:38   2nd Quarter – Hall is by far the best runner, in spite of his chop blocking prowess.  He has a nice run, but then Hall gets called for a hold.  Not a good drive for Hall.

2:25   2nd Quarter – The Broncos get close to a first down but come up short and Matt Prater hits a much shorter 40 yard field goal.

6 – 3 Broncos lead

This first half is flying by.  This means that the second half will take some five hours to finish.  I think I need a hot dog and maybe more pudding ice cream if there is any left.

2:21  2nd Quarter – Bucs get the ball on their 20 and get an immediate five yard gift from Mr. Ekuban who was offsides.  The Broncos give Tampa Bay another gift by refusing to tackle Warrick Dunn.  The Dunn run…Dunn run, it rhymes…takes us to the two minute warning.  I’m on a hot dog/pudding ice cream run.

1:06  2nd Quarter – The hot dog buns are stiff, unlike the Broncos defense which is letting Tampa Bay and Warrick Dunn, get down the field.  This is the defense Denver fans have gotten to know so well.  A long pass with :23 seconds left will give the Bucs a good chance at scoring somehow.

:03   2nd Quarter – The Bucs are stopped and call their last time out so they can bring out Matt Bryan for a short 31 yard field goal try.  Its good and the score is tied at half time.  I need to go do some more studying, back in 20 minutes.

6 – 6 tied at halftime

By the way, Gary Zimmerman is joining the Ring of Fame.  Congrats Gary.  We could use you now if you feel like playing.

15:00  3rd Quarter – Broncos will kickoff.  Prater kicks a wobbly one that is misplayed by Tampa Bay.  They are forced to kneel and start at the twenty.  Griese has been Griese-esque with a stat line of 10 of 13 for 67 yards and no touchdowns.  Sound familiar?  Cutler isn’t any better.  12 of 17 for 103 and no touchdowns.

12:57  3rd Quarter – The Bucs are driving.  One of the coaches must have reminded them that this was the Denver defense they were playing against.  They’ve moved it forty yards to the Denver 44, looking like all the other offenses that have played the Broncos so far (excluding the Raiders of course).

An interesting note from the Broncos PR team.  The Broncos have not let up a first quarter touchdown this year and are one of only six teams to do that this year.

11:03  3rd Quarter – As I was looking at the notes the Broncos held and the Bucs punted…and downed it at the 4 yard line.  Looks like Cutler and Co will need to do a little something to score on this drive.

10:33  3rd Quarter – Cutler hits his eigth receiver this game, Tony Scheffler, who takes the ball and runs with it…out to the 37 yard line, making a nice move in the process.  The Broncos can’t capitalize and the Broncos need to punt.  I’m not sure Brett Kern, the Broncos punter has had as many attempts all year as he’s had today.  I must check that out.  O.K., Kern had nine punts coming into the game and has four so far.  It just seems like he has more, but the game is still a long way from being over.

8:39   3rd Quarter – Griese is hit on 2nd down as he throws and the call is incomplete.  Griese is hurt and Jeff Gracia comes into the game.  This may seem like a positive for Bronco fans, but I sense an ominous forboding.  Garcia completes his first pass but the Bucs must punt.

7:01   3rd Quarter – The Broncos have two forgettable plays then give it to Michael Pittman who looks like the Hulk and runs like it, getting the first down after running over several Bucs.  Pittman is the guy who can give Denver its mean identity.  Two passes later and the Broncos are in the endzone.  Stokley gets the score.  He’s the perfect third receiver because you forget about him and then he kills you.  The difference between Cutler and Griese is highlighted.  Cutler gets you touchdowns, Griese got you field goals and beaten.  Just sayin’.

13 – 6 Broncos lead

5:30   3rd Quarter – One thing I’m noticing as the Bucs take over on offense, and struggle is that the Broncos are a lot more sure with their tackling.  This, along with their passion and effort increase is helping them turn in a solid defensive effort so far.  So far.

4:35   3rd Quarter – Garcia is having problems with the offense and is not being helped by penalties.  The Bucs can’t get a first down and must punt again.  I’m out of Coke so I need to go get some.  Back in a minute.

1:58   3rd Quarter – I’m back, and I have a Coke and a smile.  The Broncos continue to make plays in the passing game.  He gets a first down with a pass to Stokley and nearly has another big gain to Marshall, but Marshall slipped.  Martinez is the receiver on the next play, the ninth receiver for Cutler, annd gets a first down.  Nice job.

The rain that has been predicted all day is finally here and folks are scrambling for rain wear.  Sunny and rain is my favorite type of weather, but I’m glad I’m in the press box and not outside.

Two passes to Stokley end the third quarter, a good one for the Broncos.

At the end of the third quarter 13 – 6 Broncos lead

13:05  4th Quarter – The Broncos are threatening, but because of the rain they have decided to try and keep it on the ground.  A terrible third down Cutler attempt shows why.  If the pass had been close it would have been interference.  Instead it hit a lady in the tenth row and the Broncos have to settle for another Matt Prater 33 yard field goal.  Still the Broncos extend their lead.

16 – 6 Broncos

12:20  4th Quarter – Broncos special teams steps up and stops the kickoff return at the 13 yard line.  A few notes.  Eddie Royal has a sprained ankle and is questionable.  Brian Griese has a shoulder injury and his status is unknown cause the Bucs won’t tell us anything.  Now is the time for the Denver defense to get a quick stop, turn it over to the offense for a quick score and put this thing away.  That’s something Denver hasn’t done in a long time, but would show how good this team can be.

10:50  4th Quarter – The Defense gets its turnover with a Marcus Thomas interception, but a Marcus Thomas fumble gives the ball back to Tampa Bay.   Poor Marcus Thomas.  Defense has still been a major highlight today.

5:54   4th Quarter – The Bucs are trying to mount a drive, but are having some issues.  That may change, but I can’t talk about it until later cause I have to go down and interview some folk.  Back in awhile.

9:24   4th Quarter – The defense stops after the turnover/turnover and gets its quick stop…again.  Martinez gets the punt and is crushed by his own player.  It doesn’t matter because the Broncos are penalized.  It puts the ball back to the twenty yard line.  The Broncos offense, instead of a quick strike, needs a 15 play touchdown drive that takes up eight minutes.  That would end this game.

7:37   4th Quarter – Unfortunately, a three and out keeps the Bucs in this game.  The Broncos have had trouble this year stringing good offensive and good defensive series together.  Today is no different.  At least special teams had been good.  The Bucs get the ball at their own 10 yard line after a long punt.

Final 16 – 13 Broncos win

Postgame:  Well I’m back up in the press box after the Broncos tried, once again, to lose a game at the end.  And, once again, they did just enough to pull it out, but you gotta give a lot of credit to the defense.  They came to play.  If they can play like that the rest of the year, well, there just might be some happy Broncos fans in january.  That’s a looonnnggg way away though, so just enjoy this one.

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