The Steel Curtain, the Purple People Eaters, the Orange Crush, these were just a few of the most dominant defenses to exist in the NFL. Today, if you want a defense that can fly to the ball, hit the man carrying the ball, and sack the quarterback, all you have to do is look towards the orange sky over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
That's right boys and girls, there might be a new sheriff in the AFC, and the sheriff's name is the Denver Bronco's Defense. The Wild West just got wilder. Ask the San Francisco 49ers starting offense. After the first quarter of the Bronco's second preseason game; where an already stagnant offense lay in ruin, Denver's "D" had totally dominated the starting unit of the 49ers.
The boys from the Bay Area had no answer for Al Wilson, Trevor Pryce, John Lynch and company. The offensive stats for the first quarter read, Total net yards, 11. Total first downs, 2. Net rushing yards, 10. Net passing yards (hold on to your seat for this stat), -2. That's right, -2 net passing yards. Truly offensive!
A commanding presence on the field that hadn't been there in almost a year, was Trevor Pryce. He had two sacks in the first quarter. Al Wilson was asked if he was happy that Pryce was back and he said, "I'm happy for Trevor. (He) had a rough year last year."
Now I know what you're thinking, "My two year-old can count higher than the number of games the 49ers won last year." That's true, but this is still the NFL. These are some of the best athletes in the world, and like coach Mike Shanahan said, "I'm not going to make excuses for playing well on defense." And he shouldn't. The Broncos walked all over San Fran's offense with what was a very vanilla defensive scheme.
Coming out very physical from the coin toss, big "D" bullied the 49ers around. Their play was personified in a play John Lynch made on tight end Billy Bajema towards the end of the first quarter. Alex Smith, the QB for the 49ers, dropped back to pass, and unloaded in the direction of his tight end. The throw ended up going slightly astray, but that didn't stop Lynch from laying out a hit that put Bejema on the side lines. He was promptly examined buy San Fran's medical staff. Prognosis, yellow stars, and little birdies.
Now you can't put a lot of stock in pre season games, but remember these games are to knock the rust off before the season begins. Just imagine, if this is knocking the rust off, by time the season starts, it will be knocking helmets and cleats off.
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