This season, each and every week, I will bring you a film review article, exclusively for Mile High Huddle. Every touchdown that the Broncos score will be broken down for you. Here. On Mile High Huddle.
First, an explanation of my film schematics. The red arrows indicate routes or movement, coverage (as best I see it) will be indicated in squares. Blitzers will have green lines. The scorer’s name is underlined in yellow. Personnel are on the side in white. Once the play begins, I’ll circle things in yellow to bring your attention to them and players’ lines of sight will be in pink. The explanation of routes can be found here:
All this terminology and diagramming will be fairly clear when you see a play broken down. I list the TD# in game.
All images from NFL Game Rewind.
TD 1: 1 yard Demaryius Thomas pass
This was an ugly play for Denver all around and the Broncos were lucky to score on a crucial late-second-half third-and-goal. First and foremost, the play design sends receivers into each others’ paths in the end zone. It is ugly traffic and achieving separation is difficult. Secondly, TE Virgil Green whiffs on a block on rookie S Calvin Pryor and allows him a free lane at Manning. In fact, Julius Thomas is wide open but Manning has to move to avoid Pryor, and doesn’t see him.
TD 2: 22 yard Julius Thomas
The Broncos have interesting route concepts here. 22 yards out with 33 seconds in the half against a plain Cover 3 defense from New York.
Arguably the two best deep threats of the WR corps, Emmanuel Sanders runs a bubble/flare route while Demaryius Thomas runs an in route. Only Wes Welker and Julius Thomas run deep routes. This is a gorgeous throw from Manning on a play that didn’t give itself much of a chance to succeed.
TD 3: 4 yard Julius Thomas pass
Julius Thomas runs a simple slant against Calvin Pryor. Pryor struggles in coverage as it is and Thomas is just unfair to match up against as it is. Manning floats a beautiful ball just above the head of David Harris for the score.
Folks, this is indeed “so easy,” as Julius Thomas put it after the play.
TD 4: 22 yard Aqib Talib interception return
As the Jets try to drive down and score to tie the game, the Broncos line up in a 4-1-6 dime defense. T.J. Ward and Rahim Moore are the deep safeties, with Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby, Kayvon Webster and Chris Harris, Jr. all matched up man-to-man. Brandon Marshall is going to sit in a middle zone.
Note TE Jace Amaro, who gets behind Marshall between the hashes. Although S Rahim Moore is going to come down from his Cover 2 weakside position, this was easily Smith’s best option on a play that saw excellent coverage from the Denver defense.