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: 11 yard C.J. Anderson
Nothing complex here. It’s Cover 2, so two safeties high. Six defenders in the box. It’s an easy decision for Peyton Manning to run here. This is a great example of a double-team-and-release run play, with both LG-C and RG-RT getting excellent blocks. TE Virgil Green outside has a subpar block on DE Benson Mayowa, but that’s ultimately a moot point in the play.
This is a possibly defining play for C.J. Anderson, who does several things within this play that should have Broncos fans wildly excited. Firstly, he does a good job pausing to set up his blocks, specifically for RG Manny Ramirez to get off the combo and take LB Ray Ray Armstrong. Anderson sees major space to his left, but two unblocked free defenders in CB Chance Casey and LB Miles Burris. He sticks his left foot decisively in the ground and cuts back hard. Once in the open field, he gives a wiggle to shake S Brandian Ross. He also shows good toughness at the end of the run after taking a pop from CB D.J. Hayden and S Charles Woodson (and Hayden feels it just as badly, see how long he’s down). This is the type of play that has pro talent evaluators salivating over a player.
TD 2: 1 yard C.J. Anderson run
This is a new offensive look for Denver. Although it’s base 11 personnel, they use WR Demaryius Thomas and WR Wes Welker in wingback sets behind the offensive line. This exotic look is still only a simple run for Anderson, the stretch outside right. He finds the edge and scores, even though the Raiders had 12 men on the field.
TD 3: 25 yard C.J. Anderson run
Good play design here. WR Emmanuel Sanders goes in motion and draw S Ross in coverage. He fakes a bubble screen, which pulls Ross with him away from the box.
This is another great run by Anderson, despite shoddy blocking. TE Julius Thomas takes an awful angle on DE Tuck, and manages to get an arm out for a reach block. DE Antonio Smith, a very quietly dominant player, puts in a good snap here. He does a lot of the dirty work on the Raiders defense, and here, he overwhelms a double team from RT Vasquez and RG Ramirez. Ramirez needs to release and take on LB Armstrong, but Smith forces him around backwards and keeps Armstrong free.
Once in the open field, Anderson forces no less than three missed tackles. One from Armstrong in the box, one from strongside contain CB Hayden and one from S Woodson.
TD 4: 20 yard Tony Carter fumble return
For the second week in a row, the Broncos get a defensive score. This time, they’re using scrubs in garbage time. DT Marvin Austin and LB Corey Nelson are actually going to execute a zone blitz that sees Austin drop and Nelson blitz the B gap. It’s a Tampa 2 zone for the Broncos, and the Raiders counter with four vertical routes.
QB Derek Carr’s options are limited here. LB Todd Davis has done a fantastic job turning his hips, getting across the field and taking away TE Mychal Rivera in the deep middle of the field. Kenbrell Thompkins has a hand up at the bottom of the field, but the strongside safety (Rahim Moore) has his hips turned and eyes on Thompkins. The weakside safety (Josh Bush) also has his eyes and angles right on FB Marcel Reece. The only real option is WR Andre Holmes at the top of the screen, but he’s only jogging his route.
On the pass rush, LB Lerentee McCray originally looked to get around the corner. However, he realizes that’s what T Khalif Barnes is playing. So, he stops, chops off the hand, and reloads for a power rush. He has a clear shot at the QB and knocks the ball out of Carr’s hand. Carter comes up from his under zone, recovers the ball, and returns it for the score.
TD 5: 1 yard Virgil Green pass
As with so many times at the goal line, the Broncos run a roll-out pass. Osweiler rolls to his right, where TE Green (in the slot) is running a goal line pattern. WR Andre Caldwell crosses him, and loops around in the back of the end zone. However, the play design is a little lacking. Because of the time it takes the play to develop, and the traffic in the middle of the field, Caldwell couldn’t possibly get across in time to be an option. So, effectively, this play is designed to go to Green. Osweiler makes a good throw on what is actually not an easy pass at all for the touchdown.