Kickoff is set – grab a cold one – grab some pain reliever and don't forget to wear your seat belt, this could get crazy.
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Here we go Orton, here we go (clap, clap) – there we go Broncos three and out (clap, clap)… Brilliant debut – two running plays and a reverse for a grand total of six-yards from scrimmage – the Brits look impressed. Colquitt sails it a whopping 20-yards on the first punt of the day – needless to say, I'm not impressed
On a side note I'm pretty sure I say Orton snicker during Jeff Beck's rendition of "God Save the Queen" – not sure if that's a good sign or not.
Guess it doesn't matter - Niners pull their own three and out and it looks like we're in for a barnburner - Broncos will field the kick from their own 3-yard line.
Now we're styling – Orton connects with Gaffney for a sweet 18-yards – Moreno keeps it on the gound for another 17 and Brandon Lloyd makes a nice entrance with 17-yards to bring it out just past midfield. From there it's all downhill culminating in a 9-yard sack on third and six. Colquitt's looking to improve on his 20-yard punt from the first drive – this one sails 33... Impression level still below average.
49ers discover the Broncos' weakness (playing defense). Nice mix of the air and ground game – drive started out on the SF 18 and thirteen plays later it's Joe Nedney connecting on a shank from 34-yards out – Niners draw first blood 3-0 and chew up nearly 8:00 in the process.
Broncos close out the quarter with a nice strike to Eddie Royal - which is immediately brought back on an interference call against Brandon Lloyd – Ouch - Welcome to 1st and 20 from your own 11…
Out of the shotgun Orton hits Moreno on a screen – good for 16 – then it's a quick toss to Daniel Grahm to move the chains. Brief excitement is short lived as Moreno drops two on the ground and Orton buckles under the blitz and connects with Royal five-yards short of a first – Colquitt's getting a lot of TV time – this one's makes it to acceptability (48-yards) – after the return SF will take it on their own 21-yard line.
If this was any other team Denver might be in trouble – fortunately it's not and the 49ers hit the wall at their own 38 – Broncos grab a break with a facemask on the kick and the drive will start at the 31 – seriously hoping I can stay awake long enough to see what happens.
Still awake – still disappointed, although watching Orton scramble on 3rd and 8 and seeing him take a dive two-yards short came close to launching diet coke through my nose. Say hello to Mr. Colquitt, AGAIN.
Copy, cut and paste for San Francisco – this thing's got all the excitement of collecting lint. Broncos take the punt and start the next debacle at their own 18-yard line.
Feel like I'm living this in dog years...
Broncos give it their best – unfortunately that's what so disappointing – dink, dunk, toss in a wicked 8-yard sack on Orton and the Broncos can't even squeeze close enough for a field goal. Five possession, five punts and an entire country is wondering "exactly how much did we spend on this?"
Thankfully the first half comes to a close - 49ers on top 3-0.
Wembley Snoozefest Part Two - 49ers field it at their own 22 and Frank Gore continues to chew it up on the ground. SF nears midfield and already the defense looks tired – Singletary calls time and I almost spit up a bit watching Londoners try and stay awake doing the wave.
Can you blame them?
Drive stalls and it's everyone's favorite QB Kyle Orton ready to roll. Here we go Orton, here we go (oh... nevermind.
Will wonders never cease – Broncos break the funk and actually put together the best drive of the game, which really isn't saying much but at least we've witnessed a touchdown… After the typical two-play and we're still getting nowhere drive Orton fakes the pitchout to Moreno and hits Brandon Lloyd for a 71-yard gain down to the one, which naturally brings on Tebow Time… TT on the keeper and Denver knocks the dust off the scoreboard with a 7-3 lead.
Crowd reacts like someone just walked on water.
49ers respond in 49ers fashion… semi-ugly drive but it's enough to put Nedney in range for the field goal. Journeyman bounces it off the right crossbar and you start to get the feeling Denver just might be able to pull this one off if they can put together another decent drive or two… not holding my breath.
Orton and Co. take it on the 42 – nice field position if you've still got the mojo. Unfortunately Orton gets the mojo (and maybe a little more) knocked out of him thanks to Manny Lawson who delivers a tremendous blow running untouched up the middle – walks off under his own power trying to remember his middle name.
Hate to be the guy doing the team laundry after this one...
After a wonderfully executed three and out by San Francisco, Mr. Mojo is back and ready to try this one again – hopefully without getting railed in the process. False start drop it back five. Go back to what works – Orton to Lloyd for a nice 25-yard gain sets it up at the 49ers thirty-eight. Flea flicker to Gaffney fools everybody and their queen – except for the referees. Broncos second touchdown is nullified with a chop block penalty so apparent Stevie Wonder could have made the call.
Sucky way to close out the third.
All is not lost, McD settles for a Prater field goal and Denver extends the lead 10-3, which is a really dangerous score considering how the defense has been playing the last few series.
Like I said, dangerous score. Special teams gives up a huge return on the kick and SF starts at their own 44. Five plays and 56-yards later the're celebrating like they just hit the lotto. Troy Smith on the keeper around right end and we've got a tie. McDaniels certainly does not look happy.
The look extends itself throughout Denver's next drive – Colquitt tops it with a grade school-esque 21-yard punt. How can a guy, whose first name is Britton, play so pathetic when he's actually playing in Britain?
McDaniels' look just might become permanent. Over the course of the next two-minutes Denver's defense gives up a 28-yard touchdown toss from Smith to Crabtree and then follows up with a Kyle Orton fumble deep in Denver territory. Broncos sideline continues to watch the clock tick as Gore busts it up the middle for another score – SF leads 24-10 and you can pretty well kiss 2010 goodbye.
Can the Broncos pull out two quick scores over the next 3:47?
I'm not even sure they can tie their shoes in that length of time. At this stage I'm worried about getting tacos…
Here we go Orton, here we go (clap, clap).
Like I said, I've got all the faith in the world…(ok, maybe I didn't say it – but right now it sounds good). Orton is breaking it loose and the Broncos are one-yard from paydirt. KO to Lloyd straddling the side of the end zone and they've got a shot.
Ok, they had a shot – right up and till Matt Prater shanked the PAT – who would have guessed. 49ers hold and eight point lead 24-14 with just over two-minutes remaining. It's all up to the Broncos D on this series…
Whew, at least we get the tacos.
And maybe more… "D" plays out huge and holds SF on third and four – One final shot for Orton and Co. with a buck fifty-four to play.
Royal for the return – BUSTS IT – down the sideline – 78-yards for the score… Crowd erupts – I can't believe it - oh, wait – is that a flag? Of course it's a flag - Jarvis Moss with an illegal block. Take the points off the board and give ‘em another shot.
Kind of hard to respond after a puch to the package like that – cap it with a Shawntae Smith interception in the closing seconds and this one is in the books.
Not that anyone's counting – but I believe that's four in a row on the wrong side for kids from Mile High - Denver drops to 2-6 heading into the break and 1,503 words later I'm off to continue exercising my kidneys with something cold and soothing… Hoping to reach coma level before the night is through.
Postgame Quotes and Notes to follow
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter - Facebook or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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